The BJP-led NDA government at the centre also completed six years in office earlier this month. The novel coronavirus outbreak crisis has thrown exceptional challenges before the government.
On the one hand, whatever gains the Modi government had achieved in the last six years of governance appear to be diluted by Covid-19 crisis and the ensuing worsening of the economy.
The narrative of the country at this juncture is so overpowered by the rising crisis of Covid-19 pandemic and the serious concerns over the slipping down of the economy, as to dominate the reactions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his cabinet colleague and information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar or Congress Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari.
In a message to the country people on the occasion, PM Modi said today, 130 crore people feel involved and integrated in the development trajectory of the nation. The light of “Jan Shakti” and “Rashtra Shakti” has ignited the entire nation. Powered by the Mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ India is marching forward in all spheres, he said.
On Covid-19, the PM said, “As we were moving ahead at a fast pace in the fulfilment of hopes and aspirations of our countrymen, the coronavirus global pandemic engulfed our country as well… While on one hand are powers with great economic resources and state-of-the-art healthcare systems, on the other hand is our country besieged with problems amidst a vast population and limited resources.”
Prime minister Modi said many feared that India would become a problem for the world when Corona would hit India. “But today, through sheer confidence and resilience, you have transformed the way the world looks at us.”
Talking about the plight which the labourers, migrant workers, artisans and craftsmen in small-scale industries, hawkers and other such people have undergone, he said, “We are working in a united and determined way to alleviate their troubles.”
PM Narendra Modi said given the way India has surprised the world with its unity and resolve in the fight against coronavirus, there is a firm belief that we will also set an example in economic revival. “It is the need of the hour that we must become self-reliant… The recent Rs 20 lakh crore package given for Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-reliant India mission) is a major step in this direction,” he added.
While speaking to timesofindia.com, Union I&B minister Prakash Javadekar and his predecessor during the Congress-led UPA government Manish Tewari more or less dealt on the same issues as PM did.
Information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar
Information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar.
Javadekar said, “If you count it from 2014, the Modi government has completed six years in office. India changed a lot in these six years. The poor got a voice and they got social justice. The departments which were undeveloped got aspirations. The youths got skills and job opportunities.”
He said some major decisions were taken in the last one year. They include nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution, the beginning of the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya, imposition of ban on instant triple talaq, the merger of banks and, in the economic sector, becoming a country with the least corporate tax. Several reforms have taken place.
“But at present the country is struggling with the crises in the wake of COVID-19. We were not geared up to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19. We neither manufactured masks nor ventilators, nor swab testing kit, nor PPE suits, he said.
However, Javadekar said, now all these items are being manufactured here in India. ‘Make in India’ has been discovered in four months. “And today the country has become self-reliant and fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak. I am of the firm belief that with the help of the people of the country, we will defeat COVID-19,” he added.
Congress Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari
Congress Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari.
Manish Tewari was of the view that the past one year of the NDA-BJP government has been absolutely disastrous for India in every sense of the word.
While nullification of Article 370, the government’s handling of the economy and even Covid-19 were lauded by Javadekar, they came in for serious criticism from Manish Tewari.
The Congress MP from Anandpur Sahib in Punjab said, “Commencing with the ill-thought out decision of abrogating Article 370 in Kashmir which was primarily in order to fulfil the ideological impulses of the BJP and its predecessor – the Jansangh – the abrogation created a complete vacuum in Jammu and Kashmir in every sense of the word.”
He alleged that the economy has been “absolutely shattered”. Talking about the latest GDP numbers which have come in for the fourth quarter, he said they show that the Indian economy is clocking only 3.1 per cent, which accounts for only one week of the lockdown.
“In other words, even without the lockdown, the Indian economy was in the intensive care unit (ICU),” he observed.
Manish Tewari, Congress’s national spokesperson, said employment had “absolutely gone south”.
“Unemployment figures are at an all-time high. The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was completely an ill-considered piece of legislation which was primarily put in place in order to again try and make the entire citizenship paradigm completely partisan,” he said.
In a scathing attack on the Modi government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tewari said, “If the logic that has been given for the CAA does not stand the test of reason, now the complete mishandling of Covid-19, locking down the country when we had 341 cases and now trying to reopen it when we have over a lakh cases in addition to that the unprecedented crisis the man made disaster which the whole migrant crisis has created, compelling people to walk home for thousands of kilometers reminds one of the partition of India and the tragedy that accompanied it.”
Therefore, in every sense of the word the past one year under the stewardship of the BJP-led NDA has been an unmitigated disaster, to put it mildly, Tewari added.