Four years of Modi government: GST, demonetisation and other key reforms India has seen under NDA

On the fourth anniversary of the Modi government, the Congress has announced that they will observe “Vishwasghat Divas” or Betrayal Day across the country “to highlight the failure of pre-poll promises and misgovernance of the BJP-led government

Four years of the Modi government have come to a close and it’s that time of the year when citizens of this nation decide to look back and analyse major reforms brought by the NDA government so as to decide which party to vote for in the next general assembly elections.

While the NDA government has diligently filled in their KRAs (Key Result Areas) hoping for an appraisal next year, the Opposition led by the Congress has announced that they will observe “Vishwasghat Divas” or Betrayal Day across the country “to highlight the failure of pre-poll promises and misgovernance  of the BJP-led government.

Let’s take a look at the major reforms brought in by the NDA government:

Demonetisation: On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to address the nation and announced that all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes in circulation have been declared illegal, a measure to curb black money. The rollout of the policy created nationwide chaos with serpentine queues outside ATM vestibules becoming commonplace and ATMs running dry in no time.

On a larger scale, demonetization affected businesses, slowed growth due to reduced demand and adversely hit the manufacturing and real estate sector. The cherry on the cake was when about 10 months later, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released data which suggested that 98.96 percent of withdrawn currency was deposited with the banks rendering the exercise almost futile.

However, the BJP government claimed that the policy did help in checking the circulation of counterfeit currency and cross border terror funding. They also attributed the decrease in stone pelting incidences in Jammu and Kashmir to Modi’s demonetisaion.

Insight 18 | A Look At 4 Years Of Modi Government

Goods and Services Tax (GST): In a flamboyant rollout during a special midnight parliament session, the Modi government implemented the tax reform which paved the way for a uniform tax regime in India. GST saw the light of day 17 long years after VP Singh first proposed it in 1986.

GST was excessively criticized by the UPA for straying from the very idea of being uniform. The NDA government had introduced at least four categories — 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%, and four Central Laws were enacted for its implementation. In addition, fuel and consumable alcohol were kept out of the ambit of GST.

Even though GST replaces eight central taxes and nine state taxes, MSME’s complained that it was too complex to follow. In the subsequent GST Council meetings, the government amended many clauses after compliance issues were reported from various sectors. Earlier this year, it was reported that gross GST revenue stood at Rs 1 lakh crore in April which the Finance Ministry construed as an encouraging sign.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY): A policy that the Prime Minister consistently boasts of in all his electoral campaigns, the policy was designed to include all households in the country into the formal financial sector. The scheme also channelizes all government benefits to the beneficiaries through Jan Dhan accounts and encourages the use digital transactions through RuPay Debit cards. The progress report of PMJDY can be summarized in the following table:

Four years of Modi government: GST, demonetisation and other key reforms India has seen under NDA

Aadhaar:  The brainchild of the UPA government, Aadhaar was reinforced by the NDA and is now one of the most credible ID cards especially for government beneficiaries to claim subsidies and benefits. Implemented by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Aadhaar has now become an inevitable tool to claim gas subsidies, for opening bank accounts, claiming benefits through the Public Distribution System.

However, it became controversial after questions were raised about the safety of an individual’s biometric information which includes finger prints and retina scan. After the Supreme Court announced Right to Privacy as a fundamental right in August last year, certain government mandates such as linking of bank account numbers and mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar were extended indefinitely by the top court earlier this year, especially after theft of personal information was reported. The issue is still subjudice.

Digital India: Modi’s ‘Digital India’ was a visionary project which is being realized gradually. The NDA government has laid about 2.7 lakh kilometres of optical fibre which has connected 1.15 lakh gram panchayats under BharatNet, The Times of India reported. It has also boosted entrepreneurship and skilled development. The launch of 2.91 lakh Common Services Centre (CSC) has amplified digital transactions ranging from banking to insurance to pension to Bharat bill payments. CSCs carried out digital transactions worth Rs 20,000 crore in FY 2017-18. The Bhim App also recorded mammoth success when it carried out digital transactions worth Rs 24,100 crore as of March 2018. The only hurdle that the government faces is cybersecurity, though the future looks promising.


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