Welfare Initiatives- A Year of Transformations

NDA 2.0 came to power for the second time with a massive mandate and the Cabinet meeting was held in less than 24 hours of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers being sworn-in by the President. Thereafter, the Modi government endeavoured towards executing a range of decisions crucial for the transformation of Indian Democracy.

The first decision taken by the new Cabinet were pro-poor, pro-farmer, pro-unorganised labor and for welfare of families of soldiers killed in terror and Naxal attacks. This was followed by landmark decisions such as new law on Triple Talaq and Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A. To revoke Article 370 and 35A within 10 weeks of the formation of the new Government was a significant step towards fulfilling the dream of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel. The abrogation of Article 370 and 35A was passed in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha by two-thirds majority. The task that was not done in the last 70 years was accomplished within 70 days.

Even before the abrogation of Article 370, the government had taken credible steps to address years of injustice meted out to Kashmiri Pandits. Government has created 3,000 additional State Government jobs for the Kashmiri migrants and construction of 6,000 Transit Accommodations in the Kashmir Valley to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits. Due to onset of militancy in the State of Jammu and Kashmir during early 1990S, most of the Kashmiri Pandit families along with some other families migrated from Kashmir valley to Jammu, Delhi and other parts of the country and hundreds lost their lives in the violence. This was one of the largest migrations since India's independence from Britain in 1947. The issue of resettlement of and according justice to Kashmiri pandits was always on the agenda government and targeted steps have been taken even in the previous term.

The government enacted law against Triple Talaq to protect the rights of our Muslim women. Muslim women had succumbed to the lure of vote bank politics. This time when the Supreme Court struck the practice of Triple Talaq as unconstitutional the Narendra Modi led government seized the opportunity to pass legislation and criminalize the gross injustice meted out to women until now. Our Prime Minister while addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 73rd Independence Day had aptly put forth that if we can abolish Sati system, make stringent laws against female foeticide and take action against child marriage and dowry, we can also raise our voice against Triple Talaq.

As a visionary, Shri Narendra Modi gave priority to 'Made in India' product and while addressing the nation on 73rd Independence day advocated that for a better tomorrow, India can think of consuming local products and also help improve rural economy and the MSME sector. He had time and again laid emphasis on digital payments as our digital payment platforms were evolving strong.  This acted as a ‘Kavach’ (Armor) for disbursement of financial aid to the most affected and vulnerable section during the uncalled for pandemic situation in India and world over.

Government of India (Finance minister) announced on 24 March 2020 certain relief measures in view of COVID-19 outbreak. 1.7 trillion (~USD 22 billion) relief package was announced. Further about two-thirds of population was envisioned to be covered under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (Food scheme). 80 crore poor people projected to get 5 kg wheat or rice and 1 kg of preferred pulses for free every month for the next three months.

20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders to got Rs 500 per month for next three months. The government further increased MNREGA wages to Rs 202 a day from Rs 182 to benefit 13.62 crore families. An ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 to 3 crore poor senior citizen, poor widows and poor disabled was announced.

The Government also took measures to front-load Rs 2,000 paid to farmers in first week of April under existing PM Kisan Yojana benefiting 8.7 crore farmers. For initiating inter-state cooperation the Central Government had given orders to State Governments to use Building and Construction Workers Welfare Fund to provide relief to Construction Workers.

Similarly, as a support to the SHGs in times of the pandemic, the collateral free loans given to Self Help Group Women dealing with National Rural Livelihood Mission- Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana) were doubled, expecting to benefit 63 lakh SHGs which impact 7 crore households. The ‘Kavach’ (Armor) was strengthened with the welfare initiatives by the government for the frontline workers. The Modi government announced medical insurance cover of Rs 5 million per healthcare worker, benefitting about 2 million health services and ancillary workers from such insurance scheme.

The government apart from timely decisions- suspension of international flights, implementation of nationwide lockdown and the implementation of testing and quarantining protocol- that became landmark in preventing an exponential growth of coronavirus as seen in the west, unhesitatingly moved towards the measures for the welfare of the people at large. The NDA 2.0 can be credited for overhauling century-old discriminatory laws as well as speedy implementation of welfare measures at the time of need.


© Copyright 2015 PPRC