On March 31, speaking at the Main Bhi Chowkidar town hall, PM Modi had said that during his first term as PM, the attention of the government had been on filling the gaps in terms of providing for the basic amenities such as roads, electricity, toilets etc. Now for the second term, he wants to focus on the aspirational aspects of people. With the release of BJP Manifesto on 8th April, true to the words of the Prime Minister, an aspirational road map has been laid. Here is how the BJP’s Sankalp Patra has promised to fulfil the aspirations of all Indians.
World-class infrastructure - Rs 100 lakh crore investment
BJP manifesto pledges to make capital investment of a humongous Rs 100 lakh crore in the infrastructure sector by 2024. This means creation of a huge number of jobs putting India firmly on global map as the hub of a world-class infrastructure, something to reckon with for the other economic powerhouses. That the foundation has been already laid in this regard is clearly brought to our notice by the manifesto-
“By anchoring inflation at 4% and cleaning up our banking system we have created the space for structural reduction in the cost of capital. This will not only help infrastructure investment but investment also in the wider economy. Thus, new India will be built on the basis of investment driven growth.”
Making India a 5 trillion-dollar economy
It commits itself to make India a US $ 5 trillion economy by 2025. Now, what is the basis for this assertion? Well, the Indian economy has already progressed from being a part of ‘fragile 5’ in 2014 to becoming the sixth largest economy in the world, all in a matter of five years. Today, India is the fastest growing major economy in the world with a stable macroeconomic environment.
Making India a global manufacturing hub
Make-in-India is already in place. The country has climbed 65 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index in the last five years. Building on this foundation, the manifesto proposes strengthening of Companies Act, a new industrial policy with special focus on Medium, Small and Marginal Enterprises (MSME), backed by a network or cluster-based approach to growth which would eventually lead to more job creation. Thus, it aims to position India as a global manufacturing hub over the next five years.
Scripting a revolution in start-up – Celebrating the spirit of young India
A foundation has been laid through the Start-up India programme in the first term of the Modi government. Now, BJP is looking to take this to the next level. A new scheme to provide collateral-free credit up to Rs 50 lakh for entrepreneurs has been introduced. Facilitating establishment of 50,000 new Start-ups in the nation by 2024, creating 100 Innovation Zones in Urban Local Bodies, setting up of 500 new incubators and accelerators by 2024, creation of a ‘Seed Start-up Fund’ of Rs 20,000 crore, are some of the visionary steps in this regard.
Water grids and i-ways - the next generation civic facilities
In the last five years, the Modi government has ensured that the basic facilities such as electricity to every villages, roads to all habitations etc., have been provided for. In the next term, BJP has assured an aspirational journey where the hitherto unheard-of terms like water grid, i-way etc have been envisaged. As the manifesto says,
“We will aim at next-generation infrastructure which will include gas grids and water grids, i-ways, regional airports and way side amenities along National highways.”
All these facilities would certainly create enormous number of jobs at the same time. The promise of doubling the number of functional airports in the country and covering 50 cities in the next five years with the strong metro network will add to this momentum.
Building institutions - Vision for aspirational India
The manifesto assures,
“while we have world-class Technology, Science and Medical institutions, the same needs to be replicated in other areas. We will set up an Arts, Culture and Music University with a focus on fine arts such as music and dance. We will also open a state-of-the-art Hospitality and Tourism University and a Police University. States will be encouraged to establish similar institutions of excellence.”
India aspires to regain the educational and civilizational glory
For all those who are aware of our ancient world-class educational institutions such as Nalanda and Takshashila which used to attract students from the world over for higher learning, a particular pledge in the manifesto does attract attention. It says,
“We will consciously promote a programme for ‘Study in India’, which will focus on bringing foreign students to study in higher educational institutions in our country and make India a major destination for education for foreign students.”
Aspirational India to be an innovator
If the future generation wants to compete and excel at global levels, the foundation of learning needs to be such that it helps to produce thinkers and innovators. In fact, in the last five years, Modi government did lay such a foundation with initiatives such as Atal tinkering labs etc with focus on learning outcomes. Now, it wants it to take it to the next level. For this, it envisages that a conducive environment be provided for the children on the one hand and ensuring qualitative teachers on the other. The manifesto has proposed a ‘Prime Minister Innovative Learning Program’ to bring together children for a certain period in a year in one place from all over the country and provide them with facilities and resources for them to excel. This would instil a culture of lateral thinking and innovation among them. The manifesto has also assured of establishing National Institutes of Teachers’ training which will provide four-year integrated courses setting the standards for quality teachers in our schools.
Massive investment in Agri-rural sector
The manifesto promises Rs 25 lakh crore investment in Agri-rural sector which will improve the productivity of the farm sector. This step, coupled with the promise of a pension scheme for all small and marginal farmers in the country and the extension of PM KISAN to all the farmers has been promising to take care the agriculture based rural economy to the fullest.
Thus the track record of the Modi government in the last five years in putting the infrastructure in place and helping the poor is evident from sheer numbers of houses and toilets that have been built, the number of electricity and gas connections that have been provided, the number of bank accounts that have been opened for the unbanked, and so forth. Moving forward, it has proposed a clear road map for India to emerge on the global map in a big way with next-generation goals. Antyodaya, which is about taking benefits to the last person in the line, remains a prime focus all the while.