By Deepali Jain:
The incumbent Lok Sabha completes its term next year and this has made all the parties and candidates gear up with their election campaigns and manifestos, while the citizens are trying to weigh all the statistics to reach a rational decision. The public now has access to a large chunk of information, owing to certain laws and the fiercely expanding web of the Indian media. This article is just another effort to tell the readers about few major achievements of the Congress, a political party that has existed since the pre-independence period and also BJP, the leader of the first and the only non-Congress alliance (NDA) that has completed a full term at the Centre.
The much experienced Congress has been in power since 2005 as the UPA leader and many important decisions have been taken under its aegis. The Right to Information Act has made the public authorities accountable to people across diverse villages, towns and cities, increasing transparency and responsiveness manifold. It has worked towards reducing regional imbalance in infrastructure and amenities. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (previously just NREGA) aims at enhancing the livelihood of people in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work while the Nation Rural Health Mission focuses towards ensuring quality healthcare facilities (including nutrition, hygiene, drinking water) are available in rural areas. Under the Backward Regions Grant Front, financial and professional resources have been provided to hundreds of less developed districts throughout India so as to strengthen the local, grass root level government. To cater to the needs of the urban areas for a good quality life, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission has been implemented, with a purpose of economic and social gradation and providing aid to the urban poor.
On the other hand, BJP as the leader of the NDA has completed only a single tenure as the Union Government (1999-2004) and has successfully defined itself in the history of Indian politics. The National Highways Development Project implemented to upgrade major highways in India includes the Golden Quadrilateral, connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, North-South and East-West corridors comprising national highways, connecting four extreme points of the country etc. In 2000, legislation was passed by the Parliament, creating three new states, Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal, and Jharkhand, from the existing Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, respectively. After emerging as separate states, these areas have witnessed unprecedented growth in terms of industries, literacy and health. Recognizing that long-term development of the Indian economy depends critically on the development of villages, the Ministry of Agro and Rural Industries was set up with the objectives of improving supply chain management, enhancing skills, upgrading technology, expanding markets and capacity of the small scale industries. Antyodaya Anna Yojana was launched by NDA government in 2000 to provide rice and wheat at extremely low prices to poorest of the poor citizens. The Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan was launched to open new schools in those regions with scarce schooling facilities and to strengthen existing school infrastructure through provision of additional classrooms, toilets, drinking water and maintenance grants.
Though this writing highlights the accomplishments of two major political parties, precisely their alliances, one must not forget that a wave is always a combination of crests and troughs. As a citizen, it is our duty to analyze the current political circumstances of the country and make the correct choice. As the famous saying goes “See not what the country can do for you, look for what you can do for your country” – and we must not forget that voting for a competent leader is something we can do for India, and hope for a better future.