Modi's I-Day promises: One year on, a mix of hits and misses

  • Moushumi Das Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 16, 2015 07:58 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspects an honour guard of troops after delivering his speech. In his speech, Modi insisted that he would eradicate corruption in India but warned the problem started at the top and was eating away at the country "like a termite". (AFP Photo)

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on Saturday, he will not only make new promises to the people but is also expected to present a report card on old ones.

In his maiden Independence Day speech last August, Modi unveiled his government’s road map, focusing on nine core initiatives that assured a manufacturing push, financial inclusion, cleanliness, more toilets, digital governance, skill training and a paradigm shift from mere planning to executing policies.

But the year has been a story of hits and misses.

One area where the government has delivered creditably is building toilets in schools, meeting 98% of the target by August 15.

The Jan Dhan Yojana, which laid out an ambitious target of providing universal access to banking services to every household in the country by August 14, 2015, the Niti Aayog replacing the Planning Commission and bringing about a change in the work culture of government offices are areas where at least some ground has been covered.

But the Modi government still has a long way to go when it comes to delivering on some of the other key initiatives such as the Clean India (Swachh Bharat) Mission, Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, the flagship Make-in-India manufacturing push, Digital India and Skill India. The last two programmes were launched only about a month ago.

A secretary in a central ministry, who did not wish to be named, summed up the government’s performance. “There is a wide gap between what was announced and what has been achieved in reality. To put it euphemistically, all these are work in progress.”

The much-hyped Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, a key initiative pushed by the Prime Minister, has failed to inspire some of his parliamentary colleagues. Under the programme launched in October last year, all MPs were to adopt one village in their constituency and ensure its all-round development by 2016.

Till the first week of this month, of the 545 Lok Sabha MPs, 50 were yet to identify a gram panchayat to be adopted while 56 of the Rajya Sabha’s 244 lawmakers had failed to respond.

The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is another initiative that seems to be floundering. Aimed at making India open-defecation free by 2019, under the urban leg of the programme 436,000 toilets had been completed till June 31 against the target of 2.5 million till March 2016.

Also, of the 100,000 community and public toilet seats that are to be built by March 2016, just about 18 % had been completed till July 31.

The rural leg of the SBM has fared better with nearly 6.9 million toilets built since October. In the backwoods, the programme is but an extension of the decades-old Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan where individual household toilets are to be provided.

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