THE ruling BJP released its manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections recently. Expectedly, it is full of praise for the Prime Minister Modi and his government. Also, it is bristling with wild promises, some repetitions of their 2014 pledges, some new ones.
But there are two notable aspects of this document. One is the wholesale inclusion of the RSS inspired agenda. The second is the shocking omission to address most of the key issues facing the people of the country.
THE NDA government came to power on a number of promises. Assuring affordable, accessible and effective healthcare was one of them – Swasthya Bharat Samridhha Bharat. But as in other areas, the government has miserably failed in fulfilling any of its assurances in the health sector too. Over its five-year tenure, the NDA government led by Modi has on the one hand, starved the health sector of crucial financial resources, and on the other, it has brazenly given incentives to the private sector, including changes in policy towards increasing commercialisation of health services.
WHILE the BJP manifesto had claimed that it will link MGNREGS to agriculture, nothing has happened to strengthen and expand it. No increase in MGNREGS allocation has been made even in the latest Budget. Rs 55,000 crore allotted is exactly the same as the revised estimate for 2017-18. Even by conservative estimates, more than Rs 80,000 crores will be required for the proper implementation of the programme.
ELECTION Manifesto of BJP(2014) had declared that “BJP commits highest priority to agricultural growth, increase in farmer's income and rural development”. The five years of BJP rule proves to be a period of betrayal of promises.
THE Modi government’s disastrous economic policies have pushed India into a furnace of joblessness. Latest CMIE data shows that the unemployment rate in India was 8.6 per cent in the first week of February 2019. This is the highest level since September 2016, that is, in 127 weeks. In February, a report prepared by the NSSO was leaked by a newspaper which showed that the unemployment rate in 2017-18 had hit a 45-year high of 6.1 per cent.
THE Indian economy in the 70s and 80s were marked with moderate growth rates of 3 to 4 per cent and registered up to 2 per cent growth in employment (SWI-2018). But markedly the post reform period of the 90s and 2000s clocked less than even 1 per cent of growth in employment corresponding to an economic growth of 7-8 per cent. This was also a period of a structural transformation with a reduced workforce in agriculture with even the absolute number falling since 2004. Increasingly people were on the lookout for non-farm employment with construction and NREGS supplementing it.