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Sunday, May 19, 2024

BJP Delivers: A look at the fulfilment of promises from the 2019 Manifesto – Part 1

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made several promises in its 2019 Lok Sabha Election manifesto. In this two-part series, we examine how the party fulfilled these promises.

These achievements underscore the BJP’s commitment to fulfilling its manifesto promises and building a stronger and more prosperous Bharat. As the nation gears up for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, these accomplishments testify to the BJP’s vision and efforts towards transformative governance.

Nation First

Zero-tolerance approach to terrorism

The BJP government has taken a strong stance against terrorism, with a focus on national security and combating infiltration. Measures such as the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir have been implemented to strengthen national security. The government’s proactive stance is evident in the decrease in terrorist incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, which dropped from 614 in 2018 to 244 in 2021, showcasing a 60% reduction.

Welfare of soldiers

The government has prioritized the welfare of soldiers, ensuring their well-being and supporting their families. Implementing the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme has benefited over 20 lakh ex-servicemen, ensuring their financial security.

Coastal safety

The BJP government has undertaken several measures to enhance coastal safety in Bharat. One significant initiative is the launch of the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the East Asia Summit in Bangkok.

The IPOI aims to ensure the maritime domain’s safety, security, and stability. Seven pillars guide its implementation. These pillars include maritime security, maritime ecology, maritime resources, capacity building and resource sharing, disaster risk reduction and management, science, technology and academic cooperation, and trade connectivity and maritime transport.

To further promote coastal safety, Bharat established the SAGAR vision in 2015 and set up an Indo-Pacific wing in the Ministry of External Affairs in April 2019, integrating the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region under the Indo-Pacific umbrella. Additionally, Bharat has broadened its regional canvas to include the Western Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea in its Indo-Pacific policy, recognizing the strategic importance of the Western Indian Ocean region.

Furthermore, the BJP government has emphasized the importance of sustainable connectivity initiatives that promote mutual benefit and the maintenance of security through dialogue, a common rules-based order, freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce, and dispute settlement in accordance with international law.

Combating Left-Wing Extremism

The government has effectively addressed left-wing extremism, promoting peace and stability in affected regions. The government has also amended existing laws to enhance its counter-terrorism capabilities. In August 2019, the 1967 Unlawful Activities Prevention Act was amended to allow for the designation of individuals as terrorists. Additionally, amendments to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act of 2008 were passed to allow the NIA to investigate terrorism cases overseas, thus improving bilateral law enforcement cooperation.

National Security

After 2019, the BJP government has undertaken several initiatives to fulfil its promise for national security, as outlined in the 2019 Manifesto. One notable example is the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the creation of a Department of Military Affairs (DMA) as a separate vertical within the Ministry of Defence.

This historic step in defence reforms, announced by the Prime Minister in his Independence Day address in 2019, signified a tectonic shift in civil-military relations and moved the Bharatiya Armed Forces well on the path of becoming a 21st-century modern force.

The subsequent appointment of General Bipin Rawat as the first incumbent CDS and the creation of Integrated Theatre Commands further demonstrated the government’s commitment to strengthening national security.

Implementing Citizenship Amendment Bill

The government has announced the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was passed in 2019. This act provides a fast track to naturalization for Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Christians who fled to Bharat from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan before 31 December 31, 2014.

The government has also announced the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) nationwide, a measure aimed at identifying and weeding out people who have come to Bharat illegally. The NRC has only been implemented in the northeastern state of Assam, where about 1.9 million people failed the nationality test in 2019.

Jammu & Kashmir – Article 370

Since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, the BJP government has undertaken several initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched multiple development projects for Jammu and Kashmir, including the ‘Viksit Bharat Viksit Jammu Kashmir’ program at Srinagar’s Bakshi Stadium.

Under the ‘Swadesh Darshan’ and ‘PRASHAD’ schemes, projects worth more than Rs 1,400 crore were launched, including the integrated development of the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar. The government also announced 42 tourist destinations selected under the Challenge Based Destination Development (CBDD) Scheme.

The government has also distributed appointment letters to nearly 1,000 newly recruited government employees in Jammu and Kashmir and interacted with beneficiaries of various central schemes, including women achievers, farmers, and entrepreneurs.

These initiatives indicate the government’s commitment to the development and welfare of Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370.

Doubling Farmers Income

Welfare Policies for Farmers

The BJP government has worked towards doubling farmers’ income by 2022, as promised in their 2019 manifesto. Initiatives such as the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana and the creation of new Farmer Producer Organizations have been instrumental in this endeavour. The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme has provided direct income support to over 11 crore farmer families, with total disbursements exceeding ₹1.75 lakh crore.

India as the World’s 3rd Largest Economy

Roadmap for a 5 trillion-dollar economy

The government has laid out a comprehensive roadmap for achieving a 5 trillion-dollar economy. The government has been working toward creating an investment-friendly ecosystem to boost the economy, including corporate tax cuts and privatization of PSUs. Modi has emphasized the need for greater ease of investing in Bharat and urged the implementation of the PM-Gati Shakti initiative to attract investment in the country.

Make in India

The BJP government has continued to advance the Make in India initiative since 2019. One notable example is the significant improvement in Bharat’s Ease of Doing Business ranking. Bharat has jumped to 63rd place out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s 2019 Ease of Doing Business Index from 130th in 2016. This improvement signifies the government’s efforts to create a more business-friendly environment, fostering growth and investment in the country.

The initiative has led to a significant increase in the number of mobile phone and component manufacturing units in Bharat, from just 2 in 2014 to more than 260 in 2021. Furthermore, the manufacturing growth rate averaged 6.9% per annum between 2014–15 and 2019–20 and showed high growth in 2022, with 11.4%. This indicates the positive impact of the Make in India initiative on the manufacturing sector, reflecting the government’s commitment to bolstering domestic production and industry.

Goods and Service Tax

The BJP government has strived to ensure a stable taxation regime, aiming to incentivize law compliance and ease of doing business. It has also aimed to reduce tax rates, improve tax collection, and ensure greater compliance.

Entrepreneurship & Start-Ups

After 2019, the BJP government has continued to focus on promoting entrepreneurship and fostering the start-up culture through various initiatives. One notable example is the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), which offers credit facilities to micro and small enterprises engaged in income generation. This scheme has benefited traders and small enterprises as it offers collateral-free loans with no processing charges, significantly boosting entrepreneurship in the country.

PM Modi-led BJP government’s commitment to promoting entrepreneurship is further exemplified by its phenomenal focus on boosting the start-up ecosystem during its tenure. Initiatives such as Startup India have led to the establishment of more than one lakh start-ups and over 100 unicorns in the country.

International Trade

BJP government set up Custom Clearance Facilitation Centres (CCFCs) at major Bharatiya seaports and airports to ensure faster clearances, resulting in easier movement of goods in and out of the country. The government’s reforms have reduced red tape in construction, customs, taxation, and trade, leading to Bharat’s improved ranking in the Ease of Doing Business report.

Infrastructure – Foundation of New Bharat

Ensuring Urban Development

The government has focused on infrastructure development, with a 500% increase in road transport and highway budget allocation since 2014. The metro network has expanded from 5 cities in 2014 to 20 in 2023, indicating substantial progress in urban public transportation.

Swachh Bharat Mission

The government quickly executed its ambitious target of providing toilet access to all households by 2019, constructing over 9 crore toilets in less than five years, three years ahead of the initial timeline.

The success of the Swachh Bharat Mission has been attributed to enthusiastic mass participation, as schemes that lack public receptivity often fail. Positive public action, such as registration and demanding accountability, has generated momentum and created constructive pressure on bureaucrats for delivery.

Jal Shakti

After the 2019 elections, the BJP government has taken several initiatives to fulfil its promise for water management and conservation, particularly through implementing the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain-2024‘ campaign and establishing the Ministry of Jal Shakti. The campaign aims to cover water conservation, rainwater harvesting, geo-tagging of water bodies, the establishment of Jal Shakti Kendras, intensive afforestation, and awareness generation.

Since its inception in 2019, the Jal Shakti Abhiyan has witnessed significant participation, covering 1,592 blocks in 256 water-stressed districts. This campaign has undertaken approximately 1.29 crore water-related works across the country.

Road Connectivity

Since 2019, the BJP government has made significant strides in road connectivity, fulfilling its promise in the manifesto. Since April 2019, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has constructed more than 30,000 km of highways across the country, including major expressways like the ones connecting Delhi with Meerut and Lucknow with Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh.

Bharat’s national highway network has grown to 1,45,240 km from 91,287 km in 2013-14, making it the second largest in the world after the US. The construction of highways has reached a noteworthy 30 km per day, and efforts are underway to increase the construction per day basis.

Railways

Since the 2019 manifesto, the BJP government has undertaken several initiatives for the railways. The BJP government has made significant progress in electrifying railway tracks, aiming to achieve full electrification by 2024. This initiative is crucial for a more efficient and sustainable railway network.

Establishment of New Airports

After 2019, the BJP government has taken significant steps to fulfil its promise in the 2019 Manifesto to establish new airports nationwide. One noteworthy example is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent inauguration and foundation stone laying of 16 airport projects on a single day, including new terminals at Delhi, Lucknow, and Pune airports. This initiative signifies the government’s commitment to enhancing the country’s aviation infrastructure.

The government’s investment of more than $11 billion in airports over the past decade, along with the promise of an additional $15 billion, highlights its substantial financial commitment to developing aviation infrastructure in the country. These efforts not only fulfil the 2019 Manifesto promise but also demonstrate the government’s focus on enhancing air connectivity and infrastructure to meet the growing demands of Bharat’s middle class.

Digital Connectivity

The BJP government has taken several significant initiatives to fulfil its promise of digital connectivity after 2019. One notable example is the substantial reduction in the cost of internet data by 97%. Additionally, the Digital India initiative, launched by the Modi government, aims to ensure digital connectivity to all citizens and improve online infrastructure across the country.

Healthy Bharat – Determined Bharat

Making Healthcare Accessible

The government has made concerted efforts to make healthcare accessible to all, focusing on strengthening health infrastructure, immunization, nutrition, and eliminating tuberculosis. The BJP government has taken significant steps to enhance healthcare accessibility in Bharat, particularly through the ambitious Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) initiative.

This initiative, also known as Modicare, was approved in March 2018 and aims to provide publicly funded health insurance coverage of up to 500,000 rupees per family per year to about 100 million families, encompassing 40% of Bharat’s population.

Strengthening Health Infrastructure

The BJP government has taken significant steps towards strengthening the health infrastructure in Bharat post-2019. One notable example is the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat—Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM). This initiative is aimed at bolstering the country’s health infrastructure, disease surveillance, and health research. The PM-ABHIM scheme is the biggest infrastructure scheme launched by the Government of Bharat, reflecting its commitment to enhancing the country’s healthcare system.

Furthermore, the Fifteenth Finance Commission (FC-XV) recommended grants amounting to Rs. 70,051 crores to strengthen the existing infrastructural system at the grassroots level, depicting the government’s focus on improving healthcare infrastructure at the ground level.

Immunization and Nutrition

The BJP government has made significant strides in fulfilling its promise of immunization and nutrition, as promised in the 2019 manifesto.

The government has achieved impressive progress in immunization coverage. For instance, as of 2022, DPT-3 coverage soared to 93%, surpassing the pre-pandemic peak of 91% recorded in 2019. The coverage levels for various vaccines,, such as BCG, DPT-1, OPV-3, IPV-1, MCV-2, RCV-1, and others,, have shown improvement, with some surpassing the pre-pandemic levels.

Eliminating Tuberculosis

Since its 2019 promise to eliminate tuberculosis, the BJP government has undertaken several measures to fulfil this commitment.

Efforts to engage with private healthcare providers have yielded substantial gains by employing a blended approach of collaborative and regulatory measures. The gazette notification strengthened the ‘mandatory TB notification’ implementation in the country. An innovative approach to measuring the coverage of TB services through monitoring anti-TB drug sales data has shown equal proportions of TB patients seeking care from the private sector.

Good Governance

Simultaneous Elections

The BJP government has taken significant steps towards fulfilling the promise of simultaneous elections in its 2019 manifesto. One notable example is the submission of a memorandum to the High-Level Committee on One Nation, One Election, in which the BJP advocated for simultaneous elections first to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies and subsequently to local bodies as well.

The committee, headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind, was set up in September 2023 to consider the proposal of holding simultaneous elections and a single voters’ list. In March, it submitted its 18626-page report to President Droupadi Murmu, which indicated the BJP’s proactive approach to realizing the concept of simultaneous elections.

Corruption-free Bharat

The BJP government has taken several measures to address corruption in Bharat. The formation of an anti-corruption body called Lokpal was implemented. The Central Vigilance Commission and the Central Bureau of Investigation were created to address government corruption.

Judicial Reforms

The government has been committed to judicial reforms, aiming to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the judicial system. The passage of three new criminal laws in Parliament in 2023 constitutes the most significant reform in 160 years. These laws aim to ensure speedy justice delivery and shed the vestiges of the colonial past. They prioritize offences against women and children, criminal assault, slavery, and forced labour, reflecting a citizen-centric approach to justice.

The new criminal laws have incorporated timelines at various stages of police investigation, prosecution, and judiciary, ensuring accountability and expediting the judicial process. These timelines cover important stages such as investigation, arrest, chargesheet, trial, bail, judgment, and punishment, among others.

Implementing Cooperative Federalism Effectively

The BJP government has taken several steps to implement cooperative federalism effectively after 2019. One such initiative is an increase in the cumulative number of testing centres approved by the ICMR in every state, both public and private. The ICMR also approved antigen testing.

Development of Northeastern States

The government has focused on seamless connectivity and brisk infrastructure development in the Northeastern states. Notably, Manipur has been connected to the railway network, ensuring that all northeastern states now have access to basic rail connectivity.

The Railways has allocated over Rs 95,261 crore to execute 21 projects, including connecting the state capitals of Manipur, Mizoram, and Meghalaya by the end of 2023 and Nagaland’s capital by 2026. The government has succeeded in significantly reducing insurgency incidents in the region, with a decline of 80%. Notably, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has been withdrawn from several areas, promoting peace and stability.

Yuva Bharat – Tomorrow’s India

Sports

The government has shown support for sports and the development of sporting infrastructure, promoting a sports culture in the country. The Khelo India Programme was launched to identify and nurture sporting talent in Bharat.

The scheme includes support for infrastructure development, equipment, coaching, and scholarships to athletes. Currently, 31 Khelo India State Centres of Excellence and 960 Khelo India Centres are being supported under the scheme. 267 academies have been accredited under the scheme. Around 9.5 crore rupees have been released under the Sports for Women component of the Khelo India Scheme to increase women’s participation in sports since 2020.

In the concluding part, we shall see other promises in its 2019 Manifesto and their fulfilment by the BJP.

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