When we cast minds back to 2014 elections the economy was rife with tensions -Decreasing Average GDP growth to 4.9 % between 2012-13 to 2013-14, Current account deficit of 4.3 % in 2011-12 and 4.8% in 2013-14, fiscal deficit 4.5 % of GDP in 2008-09 and 6% of GDP in 2012-13, double digit inflation, scams and corruption. Faced with such circumstances the transformation of the economy was the expected corner of the people. It was also the time when Gujarat model and Kerala model became politically hot potato and first time in India’s history winning candidate had contested the national election predominantly on the platform of economic development. “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, optimistically backed with Gujarat model.
Gujarat model refers to a period from 2002-03 to 2011-12 during which then chief minister Narendra Modi’s innovative interpretation of neoliberal policies- capitalistic, elitist led to quantum jump in its growth rate. While the Gujarat model has its achievements but the systematic and microscopic analysis of different issues kept it far away from the Kerala model. Kerala model has a successful story of development with human face. While comparing the growth strategies of Gujarat model ruled by BJP and Kerala model ruled by LDF, Prabhat Patnaik, an Indian Economist made some important calculation from 2004-05 to 2011-12. Patnaik concluded that the model LDF put in practice in Kerala is not only better in terms of distribution but in terms of growth rate as well. Patnaik concluded that Gujarat model gives the highest growth is myth. After Gaining power Narendra Modi did tried to implement the fake and hallow model of Gujarat at the country level that led to, “quantum jump in the wrong direction since 2014,”(Amratya Sen). Since 2014 BJP, Narendra Modi, the corporate which support him and the media they control have bombarded public with propaganda and lies. The fulfilling of the promises of Achay din - Economic progress, Job creation, Farmer’s issues, Black money removal, corruption invisibility and other remained studious absence from public view.
The defenders of ‘Modinomics’ did highlighted the decrease in inflation, current account deficit and fiscal deficit but it is equally evident that low oil prices helped to keep inflation, external balance of payments and the fiscal deficits of the state and central governments under check. Two important big-bang decisions, Demonetisation and GST turned poor for the economy and centre of suffering remained marginalised section. Demonetisation is never used as the pool strategy in the current election of the BJP because people do understood what Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the move as an act of organised loot and legalised plunder.
Demonetisation destroyed the country's job-creating potential and badly hurt those employed in the informal sector. The decision hurt the weakest sections of India's population the most - women and children dependent on them, senior citizens, farmers, daily-wage labourers and small traders and shopkeepers. The economy was in the journey of filling the wounds of demonetisation another measure as a movement towards a unified Goods and Services Tax (GST) came into scene in July 2017. It is a different story that being the CM of Gujrat, Narendra Modi was always the first person to oppose the GST. The language changed in Delhi. The notion of the GST, “as has been implemented in India, is absurd because a tax on consumption is a tax that basically over-taxes the poor and allows the rich to get off scot-free”, (David Barkin Professor of Economics, Mexico).The rolling out of the GST regime, touted by the government as a classic instance of "fiscal federalism," however, has been stymied by poor planning and implementation.
According to one of the World Bank study India is home to the largest number of poor people in the world. To pull millions out of poverty India needs to have GDP more than 7 %. The data from different sources revealed that growth during the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s term averaged around 8.1%, higher than the 7.3% in the first four years of the Narendra Modi’s government. Agriculture, manufacturing and construction, investment, foreign trade, bank credit, wages, government revenues - trends in all of these show clear signs of an extremely sluggish economy incapable of creating employment opportunities that so many desperately need. Even if “Narendra Modi’s government sustained on average the 7 % growth rate achieved during the UPA regime, but that did not translate into jobs, poverty elimination and better healthcare and education for all.
Promise of one crore jobs per year remained largely disappointment for the public. Narendra Modi’s government has snatched away jobs, by neglecting the labour intensive sectors such as textiles, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. A report by Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) shows that India lost around 11 million jobs between December 2017 and December 2018. The leaked NSSO report had shown that joblessness was at a 45-year high in 2017-18. In the 2016 survey of the Labour Bureau, it was found that in most of the eight biggest employment generation sectors- textiles, leather, metals, automobiles, gems and jewellery, transport, information technology and handlooms - jobs were shrinking.
The BJP government included Farmers issues only in the election manifesto. The 'Accidental Death and Suicide in India' report for 2015 showed that every day at least 34 farmers committed suicide in India. Most of these were reported in Maharashtra (37.8 per cent) followed by Telangana (16.9 per cent) and Karnataka (14.9 per cent). Past two years have seen massive farmers' agitations in country, In February 2018, the protests caught the attention of the national media when around 50,000 farmers walked from Nashik to Mumbai, genuinely were not demanding temples but to implement the Swaminathan committee report.
Clean up the corruption was the biggest action people expected. One of the recent reports of Transparency International, ranked India 78 in corruption out of 175 countries. While this is a slight improvement from last year’s ranking, the recent ranking is still worse than the 2015 ranking. The scandals of Raffele deal and bank frauds are most evident one. Modi government has been fighting corruption in the wrong places, among the country’s poor. And it has left corruption thriving in the high places, among the country’s” rich, writes (Panos Mourdou koutas, “Corruption is still thriving in Modi’s India”).
Further the loss of essence of institutions, Mob lynching added threat to other minorities and society reached to a level of communal divide. Declaring wars in news rooms, logical India lost its relevance and people used to have one melody “Wah Modi Ji Wah”. The worst part was when whole nation was watching entry of a non-political interaction of Akshay Kumar with Narendra Modi. It was seriously a question to be asked as it seems all other promises were fulfilled, people were happy with their economic conditions and in complete relaxing mode wants to know only a last question “MODI JI KYA AAP AAM KHATEY HAI”
(Author is Assistant Professor Economics IUST)