Many people in India, like me, are fed up with the barrage of media coverage in 2015 on the “intolerance” perceived by some. I can write reams about this subject but now it has become old and stale. Suffice it to say that those who didn’t protest for worse tragedies in the past ( read: Sikhs massacre of ’84, many communal riots under the Congress Govt, the forced exodus of Kashmiri Pandits etc) thought it fit to return their awards and generally paint a terrible picture of India, which the country didn’t deserve. I believe much of the flak that followed was based on perceptions not backed by concrete data.
As an aside, many have commented rather cynically that all talk of intolerance ended abruptly when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) got a severe drubbing in the Bihar elections. I wish to draw the attention of my countrymen that the NDA Government which governs India has done much more than just be “Intolerant.”
Since much of the hype on “intolerant’ had religious connotations, it is pertinent to note that Minister for Minority Affairs, Muktar Abbas Naqvi gave data to indicate that complaints to the National Commission for Minorities actually came down as compared to the last year.
When 2015 came around, Narendra Modi’s National Democratic Alliance Government (in which his BJP party was by far the major player) had been in office for seven months. The initial period was seen to be the traditional honeymoon period. The Prime Minister made many foreign visits, which were to become a hallmark of the year under review, while the economy rolled on. He had decided that his top priority would be to get international businesses to invest in India. His Foreign Policy also indicated a strong emphasis on Government to Government co-operation and partnership, while having the fight against global terror as a continuing theme. He emphasized this wherever he went, whether he was in the United States or in Russia.
The much awaited passage of the Goods and Services Tax Bill (GST) didn’t happen when the Congress and a few other Opposition parties stalled Parliament repeatedly on one pretext or the other.
However, a fair amount of progress has been made in other fields. A slew of schemes were launched by the Government during 2015. This article in DNA speaks of the Top 10 Schemes launched by Prime Minister. Many will have long-standing effect on the economy.
Significant progress has been achieved in the Energy/Power sector as can be seen from this report. Many rural villages, including one just 25 kms from the UP State capital of Lucknow have been electrified after having been without electricity for 60 years or more!! The target set by the Government was to electrify 1900 villages in the first 100 days but they achieved 3000.
The Indian Railways has also made a lot of progress during the time of the NDA Government. Minister Suresh Prabhu has taken to Twitter and got all his senior officers to follow suit. We frequently hear of incidents when the Railways have taken speedy steps to help passengers in distress due to this transformation. This was unthinkable even a few years ago.
So folks, things aren’t all that bad in our country. Ernst and Young recently declared India to be the top pick among FDI destinations when 32 % of 500 global leaders voted India to be the best destination.
We do start 2016 with a lot of rightly placed optimism.