As the world and India continue its fight against the China originated global CoVid19 pandemic, we also mark the completion of the 1st year of the second term of Narendra Modi government.
May 30, 2019 Narendra Modi was sworn in for his second term as Prime Minister. He had won a tremendous unprecedented mandate, the most decisive one by any leader in recent history, an absolute majority for a leader and political party after almost 3 decades. This popular vote after 61crore peoples cast their vote, was a vindication of his first 5 years of determined hardworking leadership and was even more satisfying for his supporters because his record popularity was achieved despite a vicious campaign of lies and calumny launched against him by a motley crew of Delhi Elite and various opposition parties.
The people of Karnataka responded massively with the BJP sweeping 25 seats out of 28. Similar stories were played out in most states as people voted strongly for our PM and massively rejected the politics of divisiveness and lies that Congress and its allies represented.
He started his second term with clear purpose –In that first session, President outlining the goals of the Government said
“This New India’s vision is motivated by the noble thoughts of Shri Narayana Guru Kerala’s great spiritual figure, social reformer and poet:
That is, an ideal place is one where people live like brothers free from the discrimination of caste and religion.
- On this path of a New India, the rural India will be strong and urban India will also be empowered;
- On this path of a New India, the entrepreneurial India will attain new heights and the dreams of young India will also be fulfilled;
- On this path of a New India, all systems will be transparent and the prestige of honest countrymen will increase further;
- On this path of a New India, infrastructure for the 21st century will be built and all resources for creation of a powerful India will be mobilised.”
However, the Global Coronavirus pandemic emerging in the first year of this new decade has taken center stage for his leadership. It continues to be an unprecedented challenge for Government and the people. The unforeseen and unprecedented Pandemic has put paid at least temporarily to the Economic progress that was made for the last 5 and half years. The shock on the people and Economy has been severe.
But throughout this crisis, the Narendra Modi leadership and governance was on full display. He has rallied every citizen to make this the country’s collective resolve to fight and overcome the virus – leading all 1.4 billion Indians through this difficult lockdown period with calm. The lockdown was painful yet necessary as it bought the country and states precious time – time required to build up the patchy healthcare capacity in many states and create the awareness amongst our people about the Covid virus and build a national resolve to fight it. The personal effort put in by PM Narendra Modi leading up to the lockdown and during the lockdown was super-human and would tire out any normal person many times over. His unrelenting and intense daily schedule of meeting healthcare experts, bureaucrats, ministers talking to CMs, world leaders, mobilizing the people and media and at same time dealing with all the other issues of country was awe-inspiring even to a sworn workaholic like me and has garnered admiration and praise all over the world.
It is during this fight against Virus and Lockdown that many of the decisions of Narendra Modi in his first term has helped country. The poor and vulnerable who were the most impacted by the shock were provided the quick financial relief through the decision of Narendra Modi to create Bank accounts for every Indian through the JDY scheme. JDY, PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, PDS and PM Kisan have ensured that rural, farmers and poor are backstopped financially by the Government directly without any leakages. Digital India helped crores of people to connect to Information and for businesses to continue to remotely work. Swachha Bharat movement he had initiated had already created awareness of health and hygiene. Schemes like Ujala for Cooking cylinders, Jan Aushadhi Yojana and PM Ayushman all came in as great support to the common people during this Pandemic. Reforming and transforming the Railway operations has made it possible for millions of scared guest workers/Shramiks to be ferried back to their homestates – an unthinkable proposition for the railways of previous years. The Vande Bharat mission through the air and sea of several hundreds of thousands of Indians abroad demonstrated a capability and resolve that has become signature strength associated only with Narendra Modi. Very importantly the financial sector and Banks that he had cleaned up in the last 5 years and was strong today, was one of the reasons that small businesses and others could withstand the deep shock to our Economy.
While all this has helped India handle the shocks and keep deaths to much lower than most other even more developed nations, two things stand out in the way Narendra Modi has led India’s fightback against CoronaVirus. Firstly, his commitment to the Federal structure and consulting with states meant that more and more it was State Governments inputs that were driving the National Policy – a true partnership between PM and CMs to combat the worst crisis facing India. A partnership was successful in planning and building healthcare capabilities rapidly and keeping people safe. The other was the co-option of citizens and making this about their behavior and approach rather than enforcing laws and rules only. For a large democracy like ours, only a leader like Narendra Modi had the personal credibility and popularity to do this. There are many challenges that remain including that of Economy, Business, Jobs and Livelihoods. Even here the PM and his Government has been responsive and empathetic. The 20 lakh crore package that has at its core, small business, poor and farmers has given people the confidence that Narendra Modi will stay the course with them through the recovery process that will extend for some time.
As if these challenges weren’t enough, the recent attempts by Pakistan and China to together use this Pandemic opportunity to destabilize India. But under Narendra Modi's government, they have been given clear and fitting responses despite the pre-occupation with our Economic and Healthcare shocks.
The effects of this Pandemic will stay with us for a while and this uncertainty is the new norm. But as this year has shown, at this time of crisis, India needed strong leadership capable of navigating India through this choppy waters and it is fortunate that we have his leadership rather than the weak, indecisive leadership we have seen before and see even today in some states. PM Narendra Modi has outlined his vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat – showing the country he is thinking beyond this crisis – of leading the nation into a new prosperous future of opportunities as the world order changes. The implication of his words is clear – Just as India led the world in Pandemic Management, India shall also lead the world in post-Covid Economic recovery.
All this in one year under Narendra Modi's second term – Stay tuned and supportive of his efforts and work for the next 4 years as India moves closer to its true tryst with economic prosperity for all Indians – Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas Sabka Vishwas.