Replace 48 months Vs 48 yrs campaign with Poll Manifesto-linked Outcomes
MAY 31, 2018
By TIOL Edit Team
PRESENTATION of Report to the Nation is a solemn occasion. It is an opportunity for the Government of the day to measure progress, identify slippages and show the way forward. The opportunity gains added importance when Report is presented in the last year of Government's tenure.
Digitally-savvy NDA Government has thus set a new benchmark on this count. Instead of presenting a conventional Report, it has flooded Government websites with links to a special website https://48months.mygov.in/.
It is loaded with photo album, info graphics, ministers' blogs etc that exude Utopian dazzle end-to-end. The Website is also laced with positive sound bytes/videos from beneficiaries of Central Government's flagship schemes that begin with usual Pradhan Mantri tag.
The website contains info about focus areas. The unsaid focus of the whole performance report card is nevertheless Prime Minister Narendra Modi. No one has any doubt that he is the one when who brought BJP to power. Mr. Modi also brought several parties together to create National Democratic Alliance.
No one has right to question the presentation of achievements to reinforce the message that the Government has excelled on all counts.
So far so good. The has, however, a right to know how the Government performed against promises especially the ones embedded inelection manifesto and post-election NDA's agenda for governance or promises made after formation of the Government.
As NDA did not draft any agenda for collective performance, the citizens have no option but expect comparison of achievements against promises made in BJP's 2014 manifesto. Accounting of the fate of promises made by ministers would also be reasonable demand from public.
Citizens should, however, leave aside assurances made at the poll rallies. These are best left as forgotten electoral rhetoric or taken lightly as jumlas.
Instead of showcasing its achievements against Manifesto's promises, Modi Government/BJP wants public to compare its 48 months performance with Congress' 48 years record.
The tone for this comparison was set by Mr Modi himself on 25th February 2018. He reportedly stated: "One family either directly or indirectly ruled the country for 48 years," while referring to the governments of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
On the other hand, there was the NDA government that will complete 48 months this May. Intellectuals can debate the difference between what was achieved during the Congress regimes and the BJP-led NDA, he added.
Such comparison reeks of rancor against Nehru-Gandhi family. It can at best be taken as secondary and complex contrast between two non-comparable periods.
Non-comparable because 48-year period bristled with too many grave, external & internal challenges.
The foremost one was the partition and the resulting herculean challenges. Factor in 1962 Chinese aggression, 1965 Pakistan attack and 1971 Bangladesh war. All these involved colossal expenditure. This period witnessed strongest bouts of volatility in commodity prices especially of crude. The 48 years were also marked with fissiparous tendencies, insurgencies and communal and other riots. The country also had to cope with food crisis, droughts and floods.
Modi Government's 48months is built on platform built by toil and blood spent over the decades by previous regimes. The 48 months have been exceptionally benign on external front. The internal turmoil is far less severe than what was witnessed during 48 years. Monsoon has been exceptionally benign towards Modi Government.
Put simply, 48 months vs 48 years comparison has to be extremely exhaustive.
Do citizens want such academic exercise or want results from vote-mongers? Do voters want to live with hatred for the past or know what is in store from them, excluding the dream about New India 2022 - corruption and poverty-free India?
People first expect better and faster results from Modi Government on resolution of problems such as unemployment, water crisis, poverty and delayed justice.
The search for answers to such issues has to begin from BJP's manifesto. The Government should issue point-by-point comparison of performance against resolves contained in the Manifesto.
The Government should not be scared of admitting its failure to implement certain promises such as announcing new education policy (NEP).
The Manifesto stated: "BJP will set up a National Commission on Education to report in two years on the state of education and the reforms needed. Based on the report, BJP will implement a National Education Policy to meet the changing dynamics of the population's requirement with regards to quality education, innovation and research, aiming to make India a knowledge superpower by equipping its students with the necessary skills and knowledge and to eliminate the shortage of manpower in science, technology, academics and industry”.
The Government ought to take the Nation into confidence for the reasons for delays or its inability to proceed on a few promises. Good governance is not only marketing of achievements but also retaining trust of the public. And trust is sustained by transparency and accountability.
Once that happens in real sense and in ample measure, the public would automatically say the Government of the day has Saaf Niyat, Sahi Vikas .
Too much and too strident self-certification is not good governance. It creates credibility deficit.