60 yrs of Congress
4 yrs of Narendra Modi
Governments are known for starting schemes. They make elaborate announcements, hog the limelight, and promise that their schemes will transform the lives of the poor. Speaking on the basis of the past, rarely has there been any scheme that has justified its vision and been implemented in a way that has resulted in swift and visible transformation in the lives of the poor.
Garibi Hatao was a very popular slogan given by Indira Gandhi, but in retrospect, it stayed a slogan meant simply to catch votes. Previous governments claim to have done a lot for the poor but as of 2014:
• 18,374 villages remained bereft of electricity
• almost 41% of houses cooked on wood and cow dung which is around 10 crore families
• about 60 crore people didn’t have a bank account
• over 50 crore people defecated in the open
• sanitation coverage in the country was just 38.70%
• over 3 crore houses were unelectrified
• immunization coverage was just 65%
• more than 62% Indians were medically uninsured
After laying bare hard facts one can see how even after 67 years of Independence tens of crores of Indians lacked the most basic of facilities required to live a respectable life. This proves that promises made over decades to remove poverty were nothing but hollow words. Ensuring the poor remained poor was in the interest of certain political parties, and unfortunately, these parties did reap rich dividends from this tactic that debilitated the poor and the country.
Facts mentioned above can be taken as a report card of six decades of Congress rule. But to truly understand whether a party has done justice to its mandate and to the people of the country a comparison has to be made with the performance of a different government.
Focusing on the points made above, let’s see how 4 years of Prime Minister Modi compare with 60 years of Congress rule:
• The 18,374 villages that were unelectrified in 2014 were connected with electricity by April 2018, that is in less than 4 years of Narendra Modi’s coming to power. If we assume that the average population of these villages is 1,000 then the electrification drive touched at least 1.8 crore lives!
• Of the approximate 10 crore families that cooked food using wood or cow dung in 2014, more than 5.8 crore have been given free LPG connections. The government aims to give 8 crore connections by 2020. If we assume 4 members in each family that received an LPG connection, then the Ujjwala Yojana has touched over 23 crore lives!
• From May 2014 to November 2018, the Modi government ensured opening of 33.3 crore bank accounts under the Jan Dhan Yojana. This enabled the poorest access to insurance under the Jan Suraksha Yojana, loans under the Mudra Yojana, and benefited them immensely as they began receiving complete subsidies directly in their bank accounts. The Jan Dhan Yojana has positively impacted at least 33 crore lives.
• The 38.70% sanitation coverage in 2014 has risen to a staggering 96.93% by first week of December! Over 8.95 crore toilets have been built leading to over 40 crore people quitting open defecation!
• Of the 3-crore plus unelectrified houses, 72% have been lighted up in just over a year’s time from October 2017 when the Saubhagya Yojana was launched. If we assume 4 member per household, then the scheme has impacted over 8.64 crore lives!
• Under the Indradhanush Yojana that provides vaccination to children and pregnant women, immunization coverage has risen by 6.7% every year since April 2015 which means that in three years, immunization in the country crossed the 85%-mark from 65% in 2014. Around 3.15 crore children and 80 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated which means over 3.95 crore lives were directly touched!
• Under the Ayushman Bharat yojana, over 10 crore families will be given free medical insurance of Rs 5 lakh per year. More than 50 crore people will be insured ensuring over 37% of the population will have significant medical insurance in less than 2 years.
There are many other schemes that the Modi government has implemented with incredible efficiency, like the Mudra Yojana under which over 14.5 crore people have been given loans for small businesses; under Direct Benefit Transfer, 77.7 crore received benefits in kind and 46.3 crore in cash for the year 2017-18; and over 20.6 crore people have been given life insurance, accident insurance and access to a pension scheme under the Jan Suraksha Yojana.
It is now up to you to decide if 4 years of Narendra Modi have been better than 60 years of Congress.