Next week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host the Chinese President Xi Jinping in the historic city of Mahabalipuram near Chennai. Do you find anything special with the above bit of information? Yes, the meet between two world-leaders is not taking place in the national capital but in the southern part of India. Its not for the first time PM Modi is following such model. Back in September 2014, PM Modi hosted the Chinese President and his wife at Gujarat’s Sabarmati riverfront.
This model does not restrict to the visit of foreign dignitaries. Under Modi government the whole discourse of administration has spread across the nation.
Before 2014, Central Government schemes and policies used to be conceptualized, launched and monitored all from Delhi even though 99% of its beneficiaries live outside the national Capital. Even Foreign dignitaries and heads of state visiting India would directly fly into Delhi, finish diplomatic engagements and fly out without being exposed to the diverse landscape of India, the courtesy visit to Taj Mahal being the lone trip outside capital they would undertake.
Since 2014 there has been a conscious effort by the central Government and Prime Minister Modi to move policymaking outside the corridors of North and South Block and involve every part of India in governance.
Bringing Foreign Policy Discourse Closer to the Masses
By hosting foreign heads of States outside of Delhi, PM Modi has not only brought foreign policy closer to citizens but has also show the diverse landscape of India to the world.
- Pravasiya Bhartiya Divas which used to be held mostly in Delhi was held at Gandhinagar in 2015, Bangalore in 2017 and Varanasi in 2019.
- BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit held in October 2016 in Goa helped to showcase the pristine beaches of Goa to the international audience
- Boat ride and Ganga Aarti with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in Varanasi in 2015, celebrating Kite festival in Sabarmati with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018 and the planned summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping to be held between October 11-13 to be held in UNESCO world heritage site Mahabalipuram helps to showcase the diversity of India
Launching of Central Government Schemes Not Confined to Delhi
Central Government schemes are now being launched from districts across India facilitating the interaction between local population and officials.
- Flagship scheme of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao which seeks to increase awareness about child sex ratio and girl education was launched from Panipat, Haryana by the Prime Minister on May 2015. Haryana is one of the states which historically suffered from very low sex ratio which has seen a dramatic improvement since the launch of the scheme
- Aspirational Districts Program launched from one of the worst left-wing extremism affected districts of India namely Bijapur and Dantewada
- Ayushman Bharat was launched from Ranchi, Jharkhand; PM KISAN was launched from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh and Atal Pension Yojana was launched from Kolkata
- While PM Ujjwala Scheme to provide subsidized LPG cylinders to women from BPL families was launched from Ballia, Uttar Pradesh on May, 2016 by the Prime Minister, the eighth Crore free LPG connection provided under the scheme was given to Ms Ayesha Shaikh hailing from Aurangabad district in Marathwada region on 8th September, 2019 by the Prime Minister Himself.
Picture credit: PMO India
Monitoring Central Government Policies
- Central government officials are regularly sent on ground to monitor schemes like ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’ and ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’.
- Under Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, 800 officials at the level of undersecretary, deputy secretary were assigned 75 villages each and were tasked with monitoring schemes by visiting each one of them and interacting with local representatives and citizens
- Jal Shakti Abhiyan, a water conservation scheme was monitored by allotting 255 officers of Joint and Additional secretary level to monitor one water stressed district each and work with scientist and water experts at district level to implement water conservation and harvesting schemes
- Independent third-party experts were hired to evaluate Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in a district before declaring it Open Defection Free
Coming back to the power for the second time, PM Modi had given a slogan called NARA which stands for National Ambition, Regional Aspiration. It seems that the bridge between the two was already under construction in the first term itself.