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Is India Still Riding On The Modi Wave That Took The Country By Storm In 2014?

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Four years ago, the Modi wave took the nation by storm and gave every Indian a shared dream of achieving digital India. On May 26, 2014, BJP came to power with a promise of ‘Ache Din’. The slew of promises included a corruption-free regime, ten million new jobs, doubling farm income by 2022, among many others. Now, Modi’s term is almost over, and the country is gearing for another Lok Sabha election. And, once again, India is in dilemma to choose the best man for the nation.

According to the Times opinion poll, BJP is expected to win around 227 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. A loss of 55 seats, compared to 2014 tally, is in itself a matter of concern for the ruling party. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is confident BJP will return with the thumping majority in 2019 elections. However, the recent developments raise a question: Is India still moving with the Modi Wave?

Modi government’s term is about to conclude. The past four years of the BJP government has been a mixed bag of successes and failures. The government has both staunch critics and dedicated followers. At this juncture, it is important for us to evaluate Modi government’s accomplishments, failures, and opportunities that can be still achieved(if given another chance).

Major Accomplishments:

• Strong Global Position: Under Modi’s regime, India has undoubtedly acquired a strong global position. In the past four years, PM has made around 35 trips and visited approximately 53 countries. Moving head to head with nearly all the top leaders around the globe have successfully left a strong and powerful impression on the countries, which were earlier at loggerheads with India. Now, India is in a diplomatic channel of communication with the different countries, has empowered the old ties and has also built several new and strong relationships. During a book release event, a US diplomat said, “more than at any time over the past quarter century, the country is well on its way to global power.” These words are enough to support the argument of India being a global power.

Demonetisation and GST: On the midnight of November 8, 2016, the country abruptly demonetised Rs 500 and rs 1,000 currency notes. This has been proclaimed as the smartest move taken by Indian Government till date. The immediate implementation was done to confiscate the tons of black money kept by politicians, bureaucrats, businesspeople, and frauds disguised as the icons of India. In addition to demonetisation, GST was introduced to put a stop to the plethora of indirect taxes. Under GST, the efficacy of input tax credit has increased and added transparency between the taxpayer and the entire system. The country should take pride in the implementation of GST in the country as rolling out an action on such a large scale is a daunting task and requires a lot of proficiency.
Answering the question, ‘How demonetisation and GST will bring the black money?’, Venkaiah Naidu said: “Any tough reform will face teething problems in the initial stages and the same was the case with both demonetisation and GST. However, the long-term advantages will definitely outweigh the short-term hiccups, which caused a bit of economic slowdown. The period is over now, and the economy is on track to achieve a higher growth”.

• Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code: The BJP government should definitely pat their back for implementing the masterstroke of Insolvency and Bankruptcy code in India. The act was implemented in 2016 and has helped India in achieving the historic 30-spot jump in the ease of doing business rankings.

• The Surgical Strike: After the eleven days of Uri attack, PM Modi planned and executed another counterattack on Pakistan. The master plan and excellent execution of surgical strike under the Modi government gives a plus point to their tenure. The success of surgical strike was a significant failure for the Pakistan armed forces. During the surgical strike, seven terror launch pads were destroyed, 38 terrorists and two Pakistani soldiers were killed. There wasn’t any casualty on the Indian side, which makes the operation even more applaudable.

Major Failures:

Make in India: No country can become rich without having a robust manufacturing industry. To increase the country’s manufacturing capacities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched ‘Make in India’ with a big fanfare. To make India a startup capital just like Israel, the government provided vocational programs and launched a ‘Startup India’ programme to make India. But all these initiatives didn’t reap desired results. According to a report by Startup India, only 74 startups have been identified to receive tax benefits as of January first week. In the 2014 election campaigns, ‘Make in India’ was the most hyped scheme. When BJP came into action, every Indian eye was on ‘Make in India’. But the ‘Make in India’ scheme didn’t go far and turned out to be a flop show.

• Agriculture: In India, a large section of the country depends upon agriculture. The promise of Modi government of doubling the farm income by 2022 also failed to produce any result on the ground. The reports of National Crime Records Bureau shows the farmer suicides have grown 41.7% since the formation of the Modi government. What PM Modi has to say on this record? The long list of devastated families of farmers and their increasing rate of suicides are very heartbreaking. The present government is facing severe criticism on increasing farmers suicides, and the PM has to come up with an answer to maintain the dignity of the position that he holds.

• Failed to Tackle Pakistan: Despite the strong statements of PM Modi against Pakistan, India has failed to tackle the Pakistan challenge. There hasn’t been any significant drop in the terror attacks, and we continue to lose our soilders. In fact, intrusions have increased in the past couple of years. Before the 2014 elections, it was propagated that Modi is the only leader who can tackle Pakistan with an iron fist. However, nothing has happened in the past four years. Still, we are facing bloodsheds on the borders.

Opportunities:

PM Modi and his team are looking forward to bring Direct Tax code to simplify the direct tax laws in India. If implemented successfully, then it will be another major tax reform by Modi Government.

In September 2017, PM Modi laid the foundation of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project with Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. The deadline for the project is 2022. Modi government has been strongly criticised for funding Rs 1.1 trillion for the Bullet train project and prioritising it over other development projects. The accomplishment of the Bullet train will uplift the infrastructure and will change the face of India over the world.
The promise of introducing ten million jobs has completely failed.

However, by introducing the National employment policy, the government hopes to accomplish this target. The government is focusing on employment-intensive sectors, especially in the small and medium enterprises.

India is a country where emotions overpower minds. Maybe in future, another ‘chai wala’ come or another leader rises with different sets of heart-winning manifestoes. India should vote for the person who sticks to his words. The BJP government is at the last year of its tenure if they succeed in playing their opportunity cards well then they might sweep the Lok Sabha Election 2019. But, if these opportunities remain only on papers, then nobody will feel shame in saying that the past years of Modi government were not at all progressive for India!

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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