“Don’t find fault, find a remedy”, said Henry Ford famously. This quote exemplifies the visionary, problem-solving leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who chose to bring in the biggest indirect tax reform in post-independent India by implementing the GST.
The Manmohan Singh government sat lazily on the Kelkar committee recommendations for almost 10 years. The obnoxious attempt by Modi baiters to compare GST execution in India, with say, Singapore, is futile.
Within a year of implementing GST, Singapore witnessed skyrocketing inflation at 8.4 per cent, whereas the average retail inflation in India has consistently been below 4 per cent in the post-GST era.
Post the path-breaking GST, 1,186 goods comprising 97.69 per cent of the 1,214 goods that are widely used and were earlier taxed at almost 28-31 per cent, are now taxed at just 18 per cent or even lower.
In the last 100 days of Modi’s second term, landmark steps were taken that showcased Modinomics at its best. The decision to cut Employees’ State Insurance Act (ESIC) contribution from 6.5 per cent to 4 per cent, which will benefit 3.6 crore employees and 12.85 lakh employers, the step to develop 17 iconic tourist sites as world-famous tourist spots were among them.
Also, the decision to set up 75 new government medical colleges by 2021 to boost medical education, aim to give scholarships in next five years to 5 crore underprivileged students of which 50 per cent are girls, under the “Go Tribal” scheme, removing “angel tax” to boost start-ups, Rs 6,000 per annum income support, which will benefit over 5 crore small and marginal farmers under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana having been the turning points.
Other schemes include a monthly pension of Rs 3,000 to small traders and shopkeepers in the unorganised sector after they attain 60 years of age under the PM Shram Yogi MandhanYojana, reducing corporate tax rate to 25 per cent for MSMEs with a turnover up to Rs 400 crore, bill to repeal 58 archaic laws including outdated labour laws and more importantly, passing the Code on Wages Bill 2019, which will benefit over 500 million workers across the country.
Manmohanomics had abdicated all responsibilities to more than 70 GOMs and EGOMs that ruled by proxy as part of Sonia Gandhi’s kitchen cabinet between 2004-2014, compromising both the legitimacy and the credibility of the Prime Minister’s office.
In sharp contrast, good governance under Narendra Modi has taken a whole new dimension with 30 new bills being cleared in the just-concluded monsoon session of the Parliament.
India moving up by a good 65 places at rank 77 in the World Bank’s global Ease of Doing Business (EODB) rankings in the first four years of Modi’s first term is a case in point.
Apart from this, be it launching Rupay cards in Abu Dhabi and Bhutan or powering the India story at G20, G7, SCO, BRICS or more recently at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Modinomics has mastered the subtle art of marrying international diplomacy, soft power and economic linkages. Besides the world’s biggest healthcare scheme like Ayushman Bharat covering over 17,000 hospitals — which have till date benef Undoubtedly, if there is one scheme that has revolutionalised the lives of millions of women, it is the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) with the number of beneficiaries touching the 8-crore mark recently.
The gas sector is an excellent example of Modi government’s governance motto of “Reform, Perform, Transform”. What a pity that despite ruling India for the better part of the last 70 plus years, neither the Congress, nor its family retainers did anything to strengthen the gas ecosystem or to reduce India’s dependence on traditional fuel sources. Realising the vulnerabilities of India’s fuel economy, the Modi government put in place various initiatives to empower India’s gas based-economy, including plans to set up 5,000 compressed bio-gas plants by 2022-23, to convert agri-waste into bio-CNG.
All these efforts will help fulfil India’s global commitment of reducing emission intensity by 33-35 per cent and producing minimum 40 per cent electricity from non-conventional sources by 2030.
By early 2019, the Modi government had achieved all of these — electrification of over 2.5 crore households under the Saubhagya Yojana; over 1.9 lakh km of roads built under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, vaccination of well over 3.28 crore people under the Indradhanush scheme, building 9.56 crore toilets under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, commissioning of over 33 crore LED bulbs that saved over Rs 17,000 crore; making 5,36,724 villages Open Defecation Free (ODF); distribution of over Rs 5.37 lakh crore via DBT to the rural and urban poor; covering 5,441 schools under Atal Tinkering Labs; due recognition to 14,706 start-ups; 23.66 lakh registered users under the Swayam scheme; benefits to 2.38 crore pensioners under the Jeevan Pramaan scheme and 1.24 crore people under the Atal Pension Yojana; extending paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for pregnant women.
It has also established over 13,000 Kaushal Vikas Kendras; disbursed over Rs 35,000 crore to Indian armed forces and veterans under the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme; extended accident insurance to over 13.98 crore people under Pradhan Mantri Suraksha BimaYojana (PMSBY), life cover to over 5.47 crore Indians under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and insurance to over 14.39 crore farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana ( PMFBY); distributed over 17.17 crore Soil Health Cards (SHCs); distributed over Rs. 1.69 lakh crore as subsidies via Aadhaar; over 1.35 crore farmers covered under e-NAM for better pricing of farm produce, set up of over 3.8 lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs), versus just 84,000 that existed in 2014. The government also opened over 36 crore Jan Dhan accounts, of which more than 50 per cent belong to women, to ensure universal financial inclusion. Modinomics is endearingly Glocal-Global in its approach without losing its local flavour and that is precisely what makes it so relevant in contemporary times.