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Narendra Modi's First (1st) Month in Office Analysis

Narendra Modi's First (1st) Month in Office Analysis

Narendra Modi completed his first 30 days as Prime Minister on June 24, 2014. But this initial achievement was marred by early morning Railway accident of Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express where four passengers were killed and twenty three got injured. The celebration of Modi Sarkaar’s first one month also got subdued by the controversy surrounding selection of Gopal Subramanium, former Solicitor General, as a Supreme Court judge.

Equity market of India (especially benchmark Sensex) however, gave a roaring welcome to Narendra Modi’s first one month by touching new highs, even breaking the 25,000- level psychological barrier. Foreign funds also gushed in and helped Indian currency get stronger.

The first one month of this new government is characterised by dynamism, notwithstanding controversies. It does not suffer from policy paralysis like the last government.

It seems the Narendra Modi government s caught between its catchy slogan of “Achche Din” and “Bitter Pill”. Though NaMo sought 60 months to show results, common people are already becoming restless. Some of the biggest challenges before the new government include stagnating economy coupled by uncontrolled inflation, lack of job opportunities for Indian youths, lack of investment in infrastructure as well as social sectors, red-tapism, corruption, and many more. The Prime Minister cautioned the citizens of India about the necessity of bitter pill for reviving the ‘stagflating’ economy, but its recent decision of hiking railway fares and freight rates, by avoiding the Parliament, didn’t go well with ‘aam aadmi’ (common man) too.

Now, let us have a look at the achievements as well as controversies that Narendra Modi government faced in the last 30 days.

Achievments of Modi Government in its first month of Governance

  1. Planned Approach and Clear Vision - On June 8, 2014, Modi laid down his plan rough the President’s Speech to revive the economy and make India one of the most important layers in the international community. The main points touched upon are international diplomacy, inclusion of minorities, poverty elimination, stress on labour-intensive manufacturing industry, foreign direct investment, containing inflation and rationalisation of tax structure, etc.
  2. Diplomacy with China - Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s visit to India has been turned out to be a positive diplomatic start for betterment of relations between the two countries. The Indian cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding with China for setting up Industrial Parks so that Chinese investors can invest in these low-tax SEZs as well as manufacturing hubs so that India can lessen Chinese imports on one hand, and increase growth of manufacturing sector, on the other. It is expected that proper implementation of this process will lead to marked decrease in India’s $40 billion trade deficit with China. This move by Indian cabinet is a strong signal to China to forge closer economic ties for mutual benefit.
  3. Hope for rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits -  Kashmiri Pandits, who were during 1990s driven out of Kashmir, hope to go back to their original land after the issue of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits came up in the President’s Speech before the Parliament.
  4. Steps Taken to Check Price Rise - After wholesale price index touched 6.01 per cent limit, the government took certain steps on June 17, 2014 to contain it. It restricted export of essential articles to do away with supply side bottlenecks. The government also cracked down on the hoarders to control rising food prices.
  5. Diplomacy with ‘Reliable Friend’ Russia - Cordial relation with Russia got a shot in the arm when Deputy Prime Minister of Russia met our PM as well as External Affairs Minister. Some of the notable developments during this bilateral meet included the deal signed between India and Russia on two nuclear reactors (third and fourth) at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, discussion on energy security, and upcoming NaMo-Putin meeting during the annual Summit which is expected to give a new high to the relation between the two countries.
  6. Efforts to Unearth Black Money - The Narendra Modi government had appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Justice M B Shah for unearthing black money. With further progress in that investigation, Reserve Bank of India has directed Indian lenders to help this government-appointed SIT with all available information.
  7. Natural Gas Price Rise put on Hold for Three Months - The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) decided in a meeting that hike in natural gas price is a sensitive issue and it needs further discussion to address many important aspects before making the final call. Therefore, the decision of hiking price is kept on hold for coming three months so that all the stakeholders can be consulted on various related matters.
  8. Austerity Measures for Ministers - The Modi government has asked his ministers not to buy any new car. In fact, he has also asked them to get approval from PMO for any expenditure above Rs 1 Lakh.
  9. Review of Below Average Monsoon - The government has reviewed the situation of monsoon as most of the Indian agriculture is still dependent upon rainfall. Any shortage of foodgrain supply will then put upward pressure on food prices, further accentuating the already high inflation in India. India Meteorological Department has already said that this time there will be deficient rainfall. However, the Met the situation will improve in the coming months – July and August. The PM has asked the bureaucracy to implement advanced action plan, stressing upon coordinated efforts as well as pro-activeness.
  10. Bhutan Visit - Modi selected Bhutan as his first international destination after becoming the PM. The strategic location of this tiny Buddhist country was the main reason. Bhutan assured India of its assistance in setting hydropower generation plants and assistance was offered from India to Bhutan in various areas of education.
  11. Meeting with SAARC Leaders and International Diplomacy - After swearing in as PM, Narendra Modi met all the SAARC dignitaries on May 26, 2014. He also met Pakistan PM and discussed on fast tracking trade between the two countries and also Pakistan’s stand on terror. Modi gave a ‘shawl’ to Nawaz Sharif and in return the Pak PM sent a saari to Indian PM’s mother after reaching home, showcasing a sense of bonhomie between the two countries.

Controversies surrounding Modi's Governments and his Cabinet in the first month

Railway Fare Hike by avoiding Parliament followed by Partial Rollback - Passenger railway fare and freight rate both were hiked steeply by 14.2 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively. This was done by-passing the Parliament. Though this hike is supposed to bring in Rs 8000 crore for the Indian Railways, meeting some of its Rs 24,600 crore loss incurred during last fiscal, common people got hard hit by this decision. Amid widespread protest the government was forced to rollback suburban passenger fare hike partially. 

  1. Modi Government gives Greater Access to Nuclear Watchdog – IAEA - On June 23, 2014, the Indian government gave greater access to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in monitoring civilian atomic programme of India. After the initial Indo-US Nuclear deal during the erstwhile UPA regime, the international Nuclear watchdog, already keeps watch on some of the important nuclear projects in India such as reactors at Tarapur, Kudankulam (largest nuclear reactors of India), and Rajasthan, along with nuclear fuel complex in Hyderabad. Ministry of external affairs spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin, has confirmed that India is “ratifying the Additional Protocol to the IAEA Safeguards Agreement”. With this nod from the Modi government, IAEA from now will be watching our nuclear exports too. With this move, the Modi Sarkaar has hinted its willingness to implement the India-U.S. Nuclear Deal to the USA, before visiting the country during September 2014.
  2. Food Security Plan delayed by 3 Months - Implementation of Food Security Act has been delayed by Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan by three months as some of the states have not being able to implement it yet. This important Act was earlier scheduled to be implemented by July 5, 2014. Once Food Security Act is implemented, 2 out of 3 people in total Indian population of around 120 crores will get rice and wheat at subsidised rate. This important plan will cost the government Rs 1.2 lakh crore or around $20 billion. It is reported that BJP called this welfare scheme inadequate for tackling widespread malnutrition of India.
  3. 100 Per Cent FDI in Railways - On June 19, 2014 the Railway Minister announced 100 per cent FDI in Indian Railways for modernising railway sector, on one hand, and meeting resource crunch, on the other. FDI is expected to create high-end infrastructure to make high-speed trains in India a reality. But some experts point out that India does not need such high speed trains, for which the entire nation has to suffer on account of increased inflation. Many opine that a country where 70 per cent of its populace spend their daily lives within a mere $2, there’s no rationale of opening up the third largest Railway of the world to foreign finance, whose burden has to be borne by the middle class along with the entire society.
  4. Announcement of Policy Overhaul in Petroleum Sector - During World Petroleum Congress in Moscow on June 17, 2014. India’s Petroleum Minister announced that Indian government is planning a policy overhaul in petroleum sector for providing transparent, fair, and predictable environment for investors. This is a direct signal for the foreign investors to invest in Oil and Gas sector of India. Many critiques point out that this will lead to compromise in national energy policy. However, government points out that foreign investment is required for exploring expanded acreage to the extent of 1,48,000 square kilometres.
  5. Serving Quit Notice to Governors of Seven States - Governors of seven states (Kerala, Gujarat, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tripura, and Uttar Pradesh) were asked to quit. According to a Supreme Court judgement a governor cannot be changed merely because of the change in government at the centre. Many governors didn’t resign, which led to a constitutional crisis. Congress called this move of the centre as dictatorial and politically motivated. JD (U) asked for debate in the Parliament on the issue of the need of governor itself in Indian democracy.
  6. Article 370 Controversy - Jitendra Singh, minister of state in PMO, stated that the time has come to repeal Article 370, scraping the special status given to J&K. To this Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and other political parties fought back insisting upon the need for this special status, keeping in mind the special background to the state along with international situation surrounding it.
  7. Controversy over Government’s Insistence on Use of Hindi in Social Media - Ministries, PSUs, and banks were given circular insisting upon the use of Hindi over English. However this circular met with steep resistance from various sectors and political parties like DMK, AIADMK, almost leading to a situation faced during 1970s in Tamil Nadu. The circular was withdrawn later.
  8. Muslim Reservation - Dr. Najma Heptulla said Muslims are not minorities, rendering any kind of reservation for Muslim community, especially in the name of religion, as ‘unconstitutional’. However, many disagreed with her citing the real backwardness of many sections of the poor Muslims.
  9. Sexual Exploitation Charges against a Minister - FIR was lodged against Nihal Chand Meghwal, Union minister of state for the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers, on the charges of sexual exploitation by a 24-year-old married woman from Rajasthan. But the government chose not to take any action against the concerned minister.
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Last Updated on June 28, 2014, 10:26 am