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Thursday, May 23, 2024

BJP Delivers: A look at the fulfilment of promises from the 2019 Manifesto – Part 2

This article explores the promises the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) fulfilled from its 2019 election manifesto (read Part 1 here).

Education for All

Primary and Secondary Education

The BJP government has undertaken several measures for primary and secondary education post-2019. One such scheme is the merging of education schemes. The government merged the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan with Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, along with the central scheme for teacher education, to form the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan.

Higher Education

The BJP government has made significant strides in fulfilling promises related to higher education. In the 2019 budget, a substantial Rs 94,853.64 crore was earmarked for the education sector, focusing on fostering new-age skills, particularly in fields like artificial intelligence and robotics. This allocation accounted for three per cent of the central government’s estimated expenditure for the financial year.

Establishing new universities and colleges, including those in the northeast and Ladakh, has expanded access to higher education, fulfilling the promise of enhancing higher education opportunities. Introducing the ‘Study in India’ programme to attract foreign students showcases the government’s commitment to internationalizing higher education. The launch of the Diksha programme for teacher training emphasizes the importance of quality faculty development in higher education.

Skill Development

Since 2019, the BJP government has prioritised skill development in Bharat. One notable example is the government’s focus on enhancing apprenticeship opportunities in the country. This initiative aims to provide post-education job training to graduates and diploma holders in engineering, thus contributing to developing a skilled workforce.

Additionally, in January 2021, the Union Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Bharat and Japan on the basic framework for a partnership for properly operating the system involving a ‘Specified Skilled Worker’ (SSW). This MoU is geared towards encouraging the movement of skilled workforce from Bharat to Japan, particularly in 14 distinct sectors, provided they have the requisite abilities, including proficiency in the Japanese language.

Furthermore, in the Union Budget 2021-22, the government allocated Rs. 2,785.23 crore (US$379.06 million) to the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, demonstrating its continued commitment to skill development in the country.

Women Empowerment

Women-Led Development

The BJP government has prioritized women’s empowerment and the creation of opportunities for women-led development, as reflected in its manifesto.

Between 2016 and 2020, 40 per cent of the 73 lakh candidates trained under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana were women, promoting their self-employment and employability. The BJP government has implemented schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) to provide direct benefit transfers for pregnant women and lactating mothers, reaching out to one crore beneficiaries in FY 2019-20.

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020, now allows women to work at night, subject to their consent and with safety and other conditions. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana has provided over 18 crore women access to formal banking and various financial services, ensuring their financial inclusion. Schemes like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Andolan, and Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana have been instrumental in promoting the education of girl children and empowering women through education. The government’s focus on promoting skill development, education, and institutional credit has been pivotal in realizing the vision of women-led development.

Reservation for Women

BJP has taken significant steps to fulfil the promise of reservation for women, as mentioned in its 2019 manifesto. One example of this is the establishment of the Women’s Security Division in the Home Ministry, along with the strict provisions for transferring laws to combat crimes against women, ensuring time-bound investigations and fast-track trials for rape cases. Additionally, the BJP reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring 33% reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies through a Constitutional amendment, as stated in its Lok Sabha election manifesto.

Inclusive Development

Ensuring the Welfare of the Poor

The government has launched and implemented various welfare schemes to empower Bhartiyas, such as MUDRA, Stand Up India, and PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. Since the onset of the pandemic, approximately 80 crore people have been receiving free food grains under the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.

Caring for the Elderly

Measures have been implemented to support and care for the elderly, reflecting the BJP’s commitment to inclusive development. The NITI Aayog has proposed a range of policy and regulatory reforms for elderly care in Bharat, including a reverse mortgage mechanism to increase liquidity for seniors, tax and goods and services tax (GST) reforms on senior care products, and reskilling the elderly population. The government provides healthcare facilities to the elderly under the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE) run by the Health Ministry.

Ensuring Justice for All

The BJP government has made significant efforts to address the promise of ensuring justice for all, as stated in its 2019 manifesto. One notable example is the enactment of a law against triple talaq to ensure justice for Muslim women.

Furthermore, the government has taken action to address discrimination and violence against minority communities by passing legislation and implementing policies aimed at safeguarding their rights and ensuring justice for all.

Responsive to the needs of Aspirational Middle Class

In the 2020 budget, the BJP government slashed personal income tax rates to boost consumption, a move lauded as a budget for the middle class by several analysts. Unprecedented focus on infrastructure development, including expanding metro rail networks, reducing interest rates on home loans, providing affordable air travel through UDAAN, improving cheaper internet, and initiating e-governance facilities.

Strengthening ‘Sabka Vikas’

The government has continued to focus on improving rural connectivity through the PMGSY (Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana), aiming to provide all-weather road connectivity to unconnected rural habitations. Bharatmala Pariyojana aims to improve road connectivity across the country, focusing on economic corridors, border and coastal roads, and expressways.

The government has expanded the reach of the Jan Dhan Yojana, which aims to provide access to financial services to the unbanked population. As of 2021, over 42 crore Jan Dhan accounts had been opened, promoting financial inclusion.

Commitment to Geographical Equity

Since 2019, the BJP government has taken several steps to fulfil its commitment to geographical equity, as outlined in its manifesto. One notable example is the construction of houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).

According to data from the Ministry of Housing & Urban Development, as of January 2024, 1.35 million houses have been completed, with 3.7 million under construction and funds sanctioned for another 6.8 million houses under the PMAY initiative.

Development with Dignity for the Minorities

The government has implemented various social welfare schemes like the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Ayushman Bharat, and Ujjwala Yojana, which have significantly improved the living standards of the minorities.

Ensuring the welfare of the labour force

The government has made efforts to simplify the goods and services tax (GST) to lessen the burden on businesses, which directly impacts the welfare of the labour force by improving economic growth and business operations.

Pension Scheme for all Small Shopkeepers

The BJP government, in alignment with its manifesto promise made in 2019, has taken significant steps to fulfil the commitment of providing social security to small shopkeepers and traders through the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan (PM-SYM) scheme. The scheme aims to provide a pension to small and marginal traders and self-employed persons after attaining the age of 60 years.

The government has made efforts to expand the coverage of the PM-SYM scheme to include all small shopkeepers and other unorganized labourers to ensure comprehensive social security coverage for this workforce segment. This initiative aligns with the BJP’s commitment to inclusive development and ensuring social security for all.

Ensuring the Welfare of Artisans

The BJP government launched the Vishwakarma Scheme to appeal to Hindu artisans and craftsmen involved in various professions such as blacksmithing, pottery, tailoring, and more. This scheme provides economic support to skilled artisans and craftsmen. The government has issued PM Vishwakarma certificates and identity cards to officially recognize these workers as Vishwakarma Sathi, irrespective of their caste and religion.

Empowering Transgenders

The Union Cabinet of PM Modi-led BJP Government passed Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act to mitigate discrimination and abuse against the trans community. It includes provisions for non-discrimination in educational institutions, employment, and healthcare services, as well as recognition of transgender persons’ identity and their right to identity.

The government modified examination rules and application forms for central ministries to include transgender people as a separate category. The Ministry of Railways also introduced a third gender column in its reservation form and included transgender as an option in railway ticket forms. The National Council for Transgender was established in 2020 to discuss new policies concerning trans people and address their grievances.

Cultural Heritage

Ram Mandir

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ‘s long-standing promise to build a temple dedicated to Bhagwan Ram in Ayodhya has finally been fulfilled with the successful construction of the Ram Mandir. The temple’s consecration ceremony, which took place on 22 January 2024, was overseen by Bharatiya Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, marking a historic moment in Bharat’s political and religious landscape.

Conserving Bharatiya Faith and Culture

The BJP government, in its efforts to conserve Bharatiya faith and culture, has undertaken several measures following its 2019 manifesto promise. One notable example is the passing of laws to prohibit forced conversions. Additionally, Hindu nationalist organizations have been placed in key leadership positions in relevant institutions, significantly curbing dissent.

Conserving Bharatiya Linguistic Culture

The government’s Bhasha Sangam initiative has celebrated linguistic diversity by featuring over 100 tribal languages on digital platforms, fostering greater recognition and appreciation of tribal linguistic heritage. The government has launched the ‘Tribes India E-Marketplace,’ facilitating the online promotion and sale of tribal literature, art, and crafts, including works reflecting the linguistic nuances of tribal communities.

The Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages of India Scheme was Initiated in December 2021. This scheme, in collaboration with the Central Institute of Indian Languages, aims to protect, preserve, and document all Bhartiya languages, including endangered ones.

Promoting Yoga Globally

Prime Minister Modi established the AYUSH Ministry (Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy), providing a significant boost to the entire industry. Prime Minister Modi proposed to celebrate Yoga at the UN General Assembly in 2014, leading to the approval of 21 June as the International Yoga Day since 2015.

The government has continued to promote Yoga and its benefits globally, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing its importance for overall well-being. The global Yoga market is expected to reach $66.2 billion by 2027, with a projected CAGR of 9.6%, largely attributed to the government’s efforts in promoting Yoga.

Foreign Policy

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

The BJP government has taken several initiatives after 2019 to uphold the promise of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam made in its 2019 Manifesto. One notable example is the government’s efforts towards global healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite its own constraints, Bharat assisted nearly 150 countries with medicines and vaccines, a significant number of which belong to the Global South. This exemplifies the government’s commitment to the inclusivity and well-being of all nations, aligning with the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.’

Continuous Dialogue with Bharatiyas Living Abroad

The BJP government has actively pursued continuous dialogue with Bharatiyas living abroad, as promised in its 2019 Manifesto. The government’s engagement with the Bhartiya diaspora has been a key aspect of its foreign policy strategy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling party have capitalized on the diaspora’s potential as bridges between Bharat and their countries of residence.

One notable example of the government’s efforts is hosting mega-events for the Bharatiya diaspora at prominent international venues such as Wembley Stadium in London and Madison Square Garden in New York City. These events, along with relentless publicity campaigns promoting diplomatic meetings and methodical social media outreach, demonstrate the government’s commitment to engaging with and mobilizing support from Bharatiyas living abroad.

Deeper Multilateral Cooperation

The BJP-led government, post-2019, has taken significant steps to fulfil its promise of deeper multilateral cooperation, exemplifying Bharat’s influential role on the global stage.

One notable instance is Bharat’s increased participation in multilateral forums and partnerships such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (with Australia, Japan, and the United States), I2U2 (with Israel, the UAE, and the United States), and the G-20. Moreover, Bharat’s efforts to be at the centre of global conversations on crucial issues like technology, climate change, and collective security demonstrate its commitment to deeper multilateral cooperation.

Additionally, Bharat has prioritized engagements with the West, the Gulf, and the global south, signifying its proactive approach towards fostering multilateral relations. Furthermore, Bharat has maintained ties with Russia and the West, showcasing its balanced approach amidst global conflicts, such as the war in Ukraine and the situation in Gaza, reinforcing its commitment to multilateralism. Bharat’s Foreign Minister, Jaishankar, emphasized Bharat’s proactive role in shaping global narratives and influencing the international agenda, reflecting the government’s dedication to deeper multilateral cooperation.

Bharat’s proactive stance on issues like technology, climate change, and collective security, as well as its active participation in various multilateral partnerships, underscores the BJP government’s efforts to fulfil its promise of deeper multilateral cooperation, as stated in its 2019 manifesto.

Global Coordination on Knowledge and Technology

In the recent interim Budget, Rs 1 lakh crore has been allocated to research and develop Bharat’s emerging technologies. Additionally, the introduction of the National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill in 2023 outlines a dedicated outlay of 50,000 Crores over the next five years.

The government has consistently supported science institutions and specifically provided research funds in private educational institutions like Chandigarh University. Under the BJP government, Punjab boasts 1339 tech startups recognized by the Government of Bharat, including 30% women-led startups.

Bharat retained its 40th position on the annual Global Innovation Index (GII) in 2023, compared to the 80th position in 2015. This demonstrates the nation’s advancement in science and technology during the last 10 years under PM Modi’s leadership.

Combating Terrorism through Global Forums

After 2019, the BJP government has made significant strides in fulfilling its promise to combat terrorism through global forums, as outlined in its manifesto. One notable example is the government’s commitment to work with the United States to counter global terrorism and condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

President Biden and Prime Minister Modi reiterated the call for concerted action against all UN-listed terrorist groups, including Al-Qa’ida, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizb-ul-Mujhahideen.

Furthermore, the leaders strongly condemned cross-border terrorism and the use of terrorist proxies. They called on Pakistan to take immediate action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for launching terrorist attacks. They also emphasized the importance of working together to combat the increasing global use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), drones, and information and communication technologies for terrorist purposes.

BJP has shown unwavering dedication to national development, fulfilling its promises through various initiatives and policies. The party has worked tirelessly to uplift the nation, from infrastructure development to economic reforms. With a focus on inclusive growth and progress, the BJP’s commitment to fulfilling its promises has been a cornerstone of its governance, driving Bharat towards a brighter future.

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