Three years of Modi govt: A list of broken, failed promises
The Modi government seems to have bitten off more than it could chew, as it struggles to keep some of its prominent poll promises it had made in the lead up to the 2014 national elections
A Facebook post by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday morning listed the achievements of his government since it came to power three years ago on the same day.
However, a closer look, at what the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had set out to do in the lead up to the 2014 elections, reveals that there are certain areas where the Centre just tanked as it struggled to keep its poll promises.
As the Modi government kicks off its three years' countrywide celebrations on Friday, it is apt to take stock of its failures:
Failure to create one crore jobs an year
According to the 2011 Census, half of India's 1.25 billion-strong population was below 25 years of age and 65% was under the age of 35. The importance of creating employment opportunities in India cannot be overstated. While Modi himself had promised the country one crore jobs a year (at an election rally), the BJP-led government has failed miserably in keeping this promise.
Worse, the Modi government has even failed to match the job creation rate seen in 2013-14, the last year of United Progressive Alliance (UPA). According to a Labour Ministry report, only 6.41 lakh new jobs were created in eight major sectors (manufacturing, trade, construction, education, health, information technology, transport, and accommodation and restaurant) of the Indian economy between July 2014 and December 2016, as compared to 12.8 lakh new jobs created in the same sectors between July 2011 and December 2013.
Dipping spend on education despite tall promises
Education and skill development for youth featured prominently in the BJP's manifesto in the lead up to the 2014 general elections. The Modi government has also been trumpeting about its flagship schemes, such as Skill India, in helping job-seekers attain skills for a 21st century job market.
However, the expenditure on education had been declining steadily since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power, until this year's Union Budget, which noted that the Government plans on spending 3.71% of its total expenditure on education in 2017-18. The expenditure on education in the last year of UPA during 2013-14 was higher at 4.57%.
Number of toilets built
Another flagship scheme of the Modi government, Swachh Bharat, has failed to live up to its hype. According to an India Spend report in 2015, over a crore toilets were built during the per year in the period 2008-11, compared to just 80 lakh toilets built across the country in 2015-16.
A survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in 2015-16 also highlighted that six out of every ten toilets built under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan had no water supply.
Textile industry hits a low point
Another key highlight of the BJP's election manifesto was its emphasis on the textile sector, a labour-intensive industry that employs around 100 million workers, directly and indirectly, and contributed $40 billion in exports to the economy in 2015-16, according to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), a body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
However, the Indian textile industry suffered a big jolt, reported by Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani this week, as it missed its revenue target for 2016-17 by a huge margin. While the government had set itself a target of $45 billion for 2016-17, it could just manage to earn $38.6 billion.
The demonetisation exercise is believed to have broken the back of India's textile industry, which has been struggling with falling exports, low productivity and rising prices.
No Lokpal yet
“Setting up an effective Lokpal” was one of the promises made by the BJP. Three years after, the Modi government is yet to enforce the law, that was passed in December 2013.
The Supreme Court in April pulled up the government for dragging its feet on the matter, saying that there was “no justification” to not to implement the act, after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi argued, on behalf of Centre, that amendments regarding the Leader of Opposition were still pending before the law.
Social activist Anna Hazare has warned the Centre of a nationwide agitation if the Lokpal Act isn't implemented soon.
‘Ensure a peaceful and secure environment’
The BJP manifesto promised to “ensure a peaceful and secure environment, where there is no place for either the perpetrators or exploiters of fear.” However, it has been anything but that from love jihad to gau goons to lynching to anti-Romeo squads—the list goes on.
Human rights group Amnesty International flagged attacks by cow vigilantes, communal and, caste-based violence against Dalits under the Modi government as a major concern, in its 2016-17 Annual Report.
According to official statistics released in August, more than 45,000 crimes against members of Scheduled Castes and almost 11,000 crimes against Scheduled Tribes were reported in 2015, the report also highlighted.
The ₹15-lakh promise
One of the most publicised promises made by Modi during the Lok Sabha elections’ campaign was that the NDA government would credit ₹15 lakh in every citizen’s bank account, after it had brought back the black money stashed overseas.
From 2014 till now, the Prime Minister has been asked on several occasions over the status of his promise. At least on two occasions, private citizens filed an RTI application with the Prime Minister’s Office asking when they would get their promised ₹15 lakh.
BJP’s ally Shiv Sena also took potshots at the PM over the promise in June 2016.
“Before (Lok Sabha) polls, Modi had said black money worth around ₹2 lakh crore is stashed in foreign banks and had promised ₹15 lakh in the bank account of each citizen. Two years in power, how much of it has been brought back?” Shiv Sena asked through an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana.