Dilution of Article 370 and CAA showed the government's resolve to correct historical mistakes
A mandate of 303 Lok Sabha seats has strengthened the government's resolve to convert the crisis into an opportunity
As we complete one year of Modi 2.0, it is important to reflect on what has been achieved over the last one year even as the country deals with a global pandemic. The year that has gone by has had its own fair share of challenges for the government as it attempted to use the political mandate to find solutions to some of the unresolved challenges.
The decision to dilute Article 370 was indeed one of the critical junctures that will forever change the fate of people of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh. The reorganization of state acknowledges the aspirations of Ladakhis while also ensuring that the union territories become an attractive destination for investments, eventually leading to rapid job creation across the region. The aspirations of the youth of the erstwhile state of J&K was crushed under the political aspirations of local politicians and consequently, successive governments failed to find a long-standing solution to the issue.
Another such issue is of the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA) which acknowledged the commitment given to the minorities in our neighbouring states by the entire political leadership of independent India after partition. Dr B. R. Ambedkar and Pandit Nehru had both expressed a concern regarding the safety of minorities in the newly created Pakistan. For many years, many refuges from Pakistan were denied citizenship, living in camps. To ease their pain and acknowledge their rights, the government brought in the CAA which aims to only relax the procedure for graniting citizenship to religious minorities of our neighbouring country. This commitment was a humanitarian one which was also reiterated by none other than India’s former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. However, it took Prime Minister Modi to finally deliver on the same.
While on one hand, the Modi administration has resolved long-stranding issues that successive governments ignored, it faces an unprecedented challenge in the form of a global pandemic as the first year of its second tenure draws to a close. Droughts, famines and disease outbreaks have been a regular feature in India’s history and successive governments have dealt with them in various ways. The regular perception has however been that cost of life in India is cheap compared to what it is in some of the advanced countries such as the US, UK or any other European country. With limited public healthcare capacity across the country, the government faced a challenge which could have claimed countless lives if not handled properly.
The biggest achievement of the government lies in the fact that for the first time, India has shown that cost of life is far more in India than most advanced economies. Recognizing the challenge early, PM announced a Janta Curfew which was followed by a lockdown. To keep a country of 1.3 billion in a lockdown to save lives is a herculean task, especially to ensure that essential services in the form of food, medicines etc can continue to be delivered. The central government has successfully managed and coordinated the same between different agencies and state governments.
Moreover, it has used this opportunity to make long-term investments on India’s public healthcare capacity which will go a long way in improving socio-economic outcomes, especially health outcomes over the coming years. The focus, while dealing with the pandemic, has been to leverage technology and ensure that we save as many lives as possible. Of course, the lockdown has meant hardships for a lot of people. Be that as it may, the government has not been modest while announcing its Rs20 trillion stimulus package along with a series of reforms that were unimaginable until a few months ago.
The government has also ensured that it saves lives, not just in India, but across the world by supplying hydroxychloroquine to the bulk of our allies. The manner in which the Modi administration has handled the covid-19 pandemic has impressed many across the world and even as some mistakes might have been made in the process, there’s no denying that countless lives have been saved by the proactive approach of the government.
Even as we combat this pandemic, we must acknowledge that the government over the last one year has displayed the tactful use of a mandate of 303 by taking historic decisions capable of changing the trajectory of the country. It is also important to draw parallels with the experience of Gujarat after the Bhuj earthquake and how the then Chief Minister Modi managed to rebuild the state over the next couple of years.
The covid-19 disruption was indeed a big challenge that perhaps, any other government would have failed to handle. The present government has used it as an opportunity to do a systemic reset. This comes with the backdrop of a relentless pursuit of finding solutions to some of the long-pending issues in front of the Indian administration. The systemic reset along with the recent reforms done will only further accelerate the process of building a New India by 2022. Perhaps, the biggest power 303 lent was that of strengthening the resolve of the government to convert the crisis into an opportunity.
© Copyright 2015 PPRC