BJP govt has lot of ground to cover in delivering promises made in 2014
With a year to go for the 2019 general elections,HT takes a look at the BJP’s promises in its 2014 poll manifesto for some of the key sectors and what has been implemented.Updated: Jan 25, 2018 13:30 IST
During a cabinet meeting last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked his ministerial colleagues to “keep in touch with the party’s 2014 manifesto” and ensure that their ministries implement what was promised.
Modi’s reminder comes about 16 months before the parliamentary elections in 2019. Many of the ministries have since started preparing a report card of what was said in the manifesto concerning their sector and what has been done till now.
HT takes a look at what was promised in the BJP manifesto in some of the key sectors and what has been implemented.
Promise: Price stabilisation fund to help regulate price volatility of important agri-horticultural commodities such as onion, potatoes and pulses.
Status: Set up in 2014-15 but ineffective.
Promise: National Agriculture Market for electronic trading and connecting the existing Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees and other market yards to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
Status: Set up in 2016 but largely non-functional
Promise: 50% profits for farmers over cost of production
Status: Govt says not possible
Promise: Soil health cards
Status: Implemented, 100 million cards distributed.
Promise: Unbundle Food Corporation of India (FCI) operations into procurement, storage and distribution for greater efficiency.
Status: Not much headway. A high-level committee headed by former food minister and senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar, formed to look into the issue, had junked the idea in its report in 2015.
Corruption and black money
Promise: Establish a system, which eliminates the scope for corruption. This includes creating public awareness, introducing technology enabled e-governance, rationalisation and simplification of the tax regime. Process of tracking down and bringing back black money stashed in foreign banks and offshore accounts will be initiated.
Status: Led by demonetisation, the government has undertaken reforms and administrative measures to weed out black money. The government has started a crackdown on shell companies by deregistering them and by confiscating over 900 benami properties. This has led to the unprecedented buoyancy in direct tax collections for 2017-18. The systematic crackdown on shell companies is perhaps one of the most tangible outcomes of demonetisation.
Promise: Content and process of school education shall be thoroughly reviewed to make it dynamic, stress-free, attractive and responsive to the emerging national needs.
Status: The govrenment is in the process of finalising a new education policy, which is likely to be announced by March. A 43-page interim document prepared by the ministry talks of a common curriculum for science, mathematics and English and creation of educational tribunals among others. On January 23, HRD ministry released model curriculum for undergraduate, post graduate and management courses. To make education interactive a number of apps have been launched.
Promise: UGC will be restructured and it will be transformed into a Higher Education Commission rather than just being a grant distribution agency.
Status: Restructuring work of UGC is underway. At the same time institutions are being given greater autonomy to keep the role of UGC limited
Promise: Launch a national campaign for saving the girl child and educating her - Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao (BBBP).
Status: PM launched it in January 2015. In July 2017, the Union women and child development ministry, which is piloting the program, said that out of the 161 districts where BBBP has been implemented, 104 districts have shown an increasing trend in sex ratio at birth.
Promise: Rurban mission aimed at developing a given area by creating clusters of villages with a population count of 25,000-60,000 and minimising rural migration to cities through skill development programmes.
Status: Launched in 2016
Promise: Develop 100 new cities enabled with the latest in technology and infrastructure.
Status: Instead of developing new cities, the government came up with the smart city project for 100 existing cities. All 100 cities have been selected. As on January, 189 projects worth Rs 2237 crore have been completed while another 2,948 projects worth Rs 1.38 lakh crore are in various stages of implementation.
Promise: Wi-fi facilities will be made available in public places and commercial centres.
Status: So far, only a handful of cities including Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Bihar have wi-fi facilities in select public spaces.
Emerging middle class
Promise: Low cost housing program to provide every family with a pucca house of its own by 2022.
Status: Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) launched and under implementation. Last year, in urban areas the government expanded the program to include the middle class under its ambit. A total of 37,42,667 houses are being funded under PMAY(urban).
Promise: Medical insurance and quality healthcare services. Efficient public transport systems
Status: Not much has happened.
Promise: Rationalisation, simplification and non-adversarial tax regime, roll out GST
Status: While the Direct Tax Code is still in the pipeline, the government has implemented the long-pending GST on July 1 to unify India into a common market. Simplification of tax return forms has also been undertaken to unify India into a common market. The government has other pending reform measures on its agenda.
Promise: Strictly implement fiscal discipline, without compromising on funds availability for development work and asset creation
Status: The government had at the very outset spelt out the glide path for bringing down fiscal deficit to 3% of GDP by 2019-20. All eyes on the government to see if they manage to rein the fiscal deficit at 3.2% in 2017-18.
Promise: Re-visit the policy framework for investments both foreign and domestic to make them more conducive.
Status: India’s upward movement in the global Ease of Doing Business rankings show the government’s focus on its electoral promise.
Promise: Undertake banking reforms to enhance ease and access, as well as accountability.
Status: The major reform of the BJP government has been the implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, aimed at ridding state-run banks of chronic bad debts.
Promise: Accord high priority to the growth of manufacturing, so that enough job is created in the country.
Status: The PM launched the ‘Make in India’ programme inviting countries to come and manufacture in India. Three years down the line manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP is only 16%. Also, not many jobs have been created. Between 2014 and December 2016, only 641,000 jobs were created.
Promise: Remote states like those in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir will be connected with the rest of India through world class highways and rail lines. National highway construction projects will be expedited, especially border and coastal highways.
Status: In October 2017, the Union cabinet approved the Rs 5.35 lakh crore Bharatmala program to build 83,677 km of highways through economic corridors centred around manufacturing hubs, inter-corridors and feeder routes, border, coastal and port connectivity roads.
Promise: Launch the ‘Pradhan Mantri Gram Sinchayee Yojana’ with a motto of ‘har khet ko paani’.
Status: Krishi Sinchayee Yojana with an outlay of Rs 50,000 crores for a period of 5 years (2015-16 to 2019-20) launched. Out of 99 priority irrigation projects, 21 projects, with a total irrigation potential of 5.22 lakh hectares completed by June 2017.
Poor and marginalised -- bridge the gap
Promise: Identify 100 most backward districts of the country to bring them at par with other districts
Status: The government started work on the project in December 2017 and roped in 12 ministries to “rapidly develop” them. The districts will compete among themselves from April 2018 to March 2019 to achieve improvement of socio economic indices across 48 parameters.
Promise: The BJP will seek, through consultation with other parties, to evolve a method of holding assembly and Lok Sabha elections simultaneously.
Status: Not much headway.
Promise: Look at revising expenditure limits realistically.
Status: In February 2014, the Cabinet approved amendment of the Conduct of the Election Rules, 1961 and revised the limit of election expenditure incurred by a candidate for Parliamentary constituencies to Rs 70 lakh in most of the state. In case of assembly constituencies, the maximum limit has been increased to Rs 28 lakh in most states those in the NorthEast, Goa and Puducherry.
Uniform Civil Code
Promise: Article 44 of the Constitution of India lists Uniform Civil Code as one of the Directive Principles of state policy. BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a Uniform Civil Code, which protects the rights of all women, and the BJP reiterates its stand to draft a Uniform Civil Code, drawing upon the best traditions and harmonising them with the modern times
Status: In June 2016, the then law minister DV Sadananda Gowda sent a reference to the Law Commission of India asking it to examine if the time has come for a UCC in the country. The Commission is yet to submit its report.
Promise: To ensure all round development of Northeast by setting up the Ministry of North- Eastern Region. The ministry will be empowered with a broader charter and non-lapsable funds for the rapid development of the region.
Status: The focus on the development of the North East region has increased manifold. Following the PM’s direction, all cabinet ministers have been mandated to visit one state in the region, once every fortnight to review progress of developmental work.
Promise: Accord high priority to judicial reforms to address the issue of appointment of judges, filling the vacancies, opening new courts, setting up a mechanism for speedy clearance of the backlog of cases at various levels in the judiciary.
Status: Appointment of judges – the memorandum of procedure is yet to be finalised between the government and the SC CJI due to lack of consensus. Work on the new MOP started in January 2016. Filling up of vacancies – nearly four of every 10 judges positions in the HCs are pending. The SC is functioning with 25 judges against a sanctioned strength of 31.
Promise: Initiate a mission mode project for filling the vacancies in the judiciary and for doubling the number of courts and judges in the subordinate judiciary.
Status: The government has repeatedly taken the plea that the subordinate judiciary is under the respective high courts and creating/filing vacancies there is not the Centre’s job.
Promise: Set up a National Judicial Commission for the appointment of judges in higher judiciary.
Status: The NJAC Act was passed by Parliament in the first year of the Modi government creating the commission and notified as law on December 31, 2014. A constitution bench headed by Justice JS Khehar struck it down as “unconstitutional and void”.
Hygiene and sanitation
Promise: Ensure a ‘Swachh Bharat’ by Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019.
Status: PM launched the program in 2014. The government has earmarked Rs 1.96 lakh crore to build 13.04 crore individual household toilets, over five lakh community and public toilet seats and provide solid waste management facilities across urban and rural areas. While out of 12 crore, so far 5.9 crore toilet has been built in rural areas so far, in urban areas 29.19 lakh of the 1.04 crore toilets have been built so far.
Promise: Take up skill development on a mission mode, at an unprecedented scale. Launch a ‘national multi-skill mission’.
Status: National Skill Development Mission launched. However, the govt. has a long way to go before it achieves the goal of training 500 million people in new skills by 2022 under the mission.
Team India: Centre-state relations
Promise: Moribund forums like ‘National Development Council’ and ‘Inter-State Council’ will be revived and made into active bodies.
Status: It’s a bottom up approach. NDC has been disbanded. A governing council of CMs and administrators of UT has been set up to create a better synergy between Centre and states.
Promise: BJP reiterates its stand to explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution to facilitate the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
Status: Not much headway. On February 8, the Supreme Court will hear the civil appeals filed by various parties challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute.
Promise: Ram Setu is a part of our cultural heritage and also of strategic importance due to its vast thorium deposits. These facts will be taken into consideration while taking any decision on ‘Sethu- Samudram Channel’ project.
Status: The government is yet to clear an alternative route that avoids dredging through the Ram Setu. The shipping ministry has proposed a new alignment, which will not damage the Ram Setu structure.
Promise: To ensure the cleanliness, purity and uninterrupted flow of the Ganga on priority.
Status: Namami Gange Programme, an integrated conservation mission, was approved in June 2014 with budget outlay of Rs 20,000 crore. In December, the Comptroller and Auditor General has indicted the National Mission for Clean Ganga for delay in executing the Ganga cleaning projects, non-utilisation of fund meant for river cleaning and lapses in monitoring.
(With inputs from Suchetana Ray, Jatin Gandhi, Zia Haq and Neelam Pandey)
First Published: Jan 25, 2018 10:30 IST