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Swachh Bharat not a big hit, thumbs-up to international diplomacy: Survey

india Updated: Jun 06, 2016 17:18 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times
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Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel take part in a clealiness drive under the Swachh Bharat Mission in Bhopal.(PTI file photo)

The Narendra Modi government appears to be doing better on international diplomacy and modernising the railways than on flagship programmes such as Swachh Bharat and Digital India, feedback from people asked to vote in an online survey shows.

As he completed two years in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited people in May to rate his government’s various initiatives on the government portal mygov.in . Respondents have to evaluate 15 government programmes, with five stars being the highest rating.

Modi’s ambitious Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, or Clean India campaign, aimed at modernising sanitation got the top rating from only 33% of the respondents.

Read: Two cheers for two years of Modi government

Public support is crucial for Swachh Bharat that aims to make India free of open defecation by October 2, 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, by building toilets in rural areas and schools.

The drive to unearth black money, too, hasn’t really impressed. In fact, it scored the lowest among the initiatives put to survey in a first of its kind move by a government to gauge public perception.

“The government’s efforts in tackling black money, both at home and abroad” got five stars from only 29.18% respondents. Though it has taken a string of measures to check the widespread menace of undisclosed wealth, the government has come under attack from the opposition for not doing enough.

By Monday afternoon, more than 20,000 people had voted in the survey expected to run for at least a couple of weeks if not more.

“Jan bhagidari (people’s participation) is a cornerstone of the government’s governance efforts. In keeping with this spirit, here is an opportunity to give your feedback on these initiatives. Your responses will help the government in further improving these programs, serving you better and making India great,” says a message posted on the website from Modi.

Read: Two years of Modi rule have changed parameters of politics, governance

(* Not all the schemes included in the survey are mentioned in this chart)

His political rivals may mock him for his frequent foreign tours, but the initiative has scored big, with 66% of the respondents giving the thumbs up to “the government’s efforts in creating a new world order through a proactive foreign policy”.

The government also looks to be on the right path as far as infrastructure is concerned. Its efforts to turn around the railways has scored the best -- 71% respondents have given it five stars. Expansion of road and highway networks comes a close second.

Inadequate infrastructure is seen as one of the biggest reasons for India failing to achieve its economic potential.

But, the Digital India programme has a long way to go. The plan to usher in a digital revolution by moving everything online -- from education to public services to bureaucracy – was given the top rating by only 35.1% respondents.

Read: Cong releases booklet on Modi govt’s failures to mark two-year anniversary