The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently completed its first 100 days in office. Following a landslide victory in the national elections ensuring a second term in office for Prime Minister Narendra Modi has seen major development in employing its policies which it failed during its first term in 2014-2019.
With numerous issues still prevalent in the country, the government aimed to try and change or replace the policies which it felt had been holding the progress of the country back. In the first 100 days of the new government saw it deal with a number of pressing issues yet it somehow managed to pass some key legislations just in time.
Country first, citizen first
The government has managed to somehow bypass the loopholes and obstacles that had been hindering the legislations with regards to the development of certain regions particularly in the case of Jammu and Kashmir. The government led by the BJP had been trying for years to abrogate the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
In the first week of August with a sense of urgency the government had tabled the J&K Re-organization Bill and managed to scrap the Presidential Order of 1954 with regards to Jammu and Kashmir as well as abrogated Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which provided a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
The government’s policy of zero tolerance to terrorism had seen a new legislation come into effect namely the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Growing concern over the power of the Central Government under the new act had been of major concern to the opposition parties in the parliament. The act allowed the central government to designate an individual or organization that either are involved in terrorist activities or promote terrorist activities as terrorists. It also allowed the NIA to seize their properties.
Enforcing the Triple Talaq Bill to become an act would be considered as a big victory for the Modi Government as it had managed to undo the practice of Triple Talaq which has been a practice in Islam for years. Many Islamic countries had abolished the practice in order to reform its society with the 21st century.
The Right to Information Act enforced in India in 2005 had given the right to the Indian citizens to keep the government in check and ask for answers for the questions which the government normally would not answer in a public sitting or during its sessions. The government had tabled an ammendment to the existing bill which was passed in the parliament with ease. The government managed to dilute its powers and the independence of the information commissioners by modifying the terms and conditions of their employment.
Economy (Blast or disaster?)
The government has been on the back foot for a while now with regards to the state of the Indian economy for a while now. A GDP growth of 5% in the first quarter of the business year has increased the criticism of the government policies with regards to the economy.
The suicide of CCD founder VG Siddhartha increased the scrutiny of the government with regards to its taxation policy and how the authorities were creating an environment difficult for entrepreneurs.
The government budget for 2019-2020 had forecasted a GDP growth of 12 per cent which given the current economic slowdown seems bleak. The Government yet somehow managed to fulfill its promise to the farmers by announcing to bring the 14 crore farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Kissan Samman Nidhi Yojna which gives an annual sum of 6,000 rupees to the them. The government also announced that 10,000 crores would be spent in order to provide a safety net to the farmers.
The government also announced major reform in order to get the economy moving. The rollback of the enhanced surcharge on Foreign Portfolio Investors would encourage more capital investment in the Indian market. The Angel Tax provisions were withdrawn for start-ups and their investors. This would create an atmosphere for start-ups to retain and even further their investments.
Capital infusion of 70,000 crores would be seen in the Public sector banks to boost its lending operations as well as a focus on improving its liquidity in the market. The reforms also saw the mergers of 10 Public Sector Banks in order to form four large banks, focusing to improve the state of affairs of the non-performing assets and to lower their burden
The government also focused on repaying the pending GST refunds within a period of 30 days of the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. It would also focus on the easy loan process particularly for the industries as the Working Capital Loans for them would become cheaper.
The Indian outreach
The appointment of the Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar as the External Affairs Ministet was a master-stroke for the Modi government. Given that in its first 100 days in power, the government engagement with foreign leaders has somehow set the tone for the government. The Neighborhood First Policy being the key given India’s geographical location and an increasing Chinese presence in the neighborhood.
The Prime Minister has been on seven foreign visits namely Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, UAE Bahrain, France and Russia. India’s diplomatic outreach under this government has been a feature under the PM Modi. With the focus of not only creating strategic alliance to protect its vested interests overseas but also to ensure that the foundations of India’s diplomatic relationships are unaffected.
When in the UNSC, Pakistan with the help of China had raised the issues of the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution in the Security Council which was a diplomatic victory for India as the members felt that it was better for India and Pakistan to resolve the dispute in a bi-lateral setup.
India has been focusing its attentions on foreign investments opportunity which was clearly visible in the Prime Minister’s visit to Russia to attend the Eastern-Economic Forum as the chief guest of the summit and the annual Russia-India Summit. The Indian delegation level talks in the Indian-Russian annual summit saw 25 major agreements signed with major focus being on the defence dealings between the two.
India also called out the bluff of US President Donald Trump when during the G-7 meeting in France, the president took a U-turn on Kashmir saying that he believed it was a bi-lateral issue between India and Pakistan.
In France, the Prime Minister had re-iterated the strategic importance of the Indo- French relationship as they have been co-operating in the fields from cyber-security, maritime security, and civil nuclear energy to defence.
Key agreements were signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bahrain. The highlight of the visit to Bahrain would be the agreement on the statement of intent between ISRO and National Space Agency in the fields of Science and Technology to the Statement of Intent between the two governments on Bahrain’s collaboration with the International Solar Alliance. This would mark the growing use of ISRO by our partners to not only develop new technology but also the growing collaboration of the countries with regards to renewable energy sector in India.
While in the UAE, India leveraged its strategic ties in order to boost the economic ties between the two countries with an estimate of 3 million Indians contributing directly into the growth of the UAE.
India’s engagement in its neighborhood has been to ensure that there is no negative change in the status quo between its partners. Given how the state of affairs had been in Maldives during the tenure of Abdulla Yamen when a growing presence of the Chinese diplomatic machinery had outmaneuvered India in the island country.
The recent agreements and the re-engagement of with these countries have laid the foundation of the foreign policy of India and the focus of the new government to not only protect itself from the exposures but also to expand its zone of influence