Celebration time is over; what Modi govt is thinking about economic reforms?
After a grand observation of 24 months in office followed by a diplomatic victory abroad, it is now time to ask the Narendra Modi government: What about the economic reforms? Is India on track to finish the task that has been deemed to be the most important of the NDA government that came to power with a massive majority in 2014?
Come 2017 and the NDA will have a series of electoral battles to fight
Prime Minister Modi is now on his way to complete half of his tenure in office, which is two-and-half years. The second half of his government's journey will kick off around December 2016 and its first major challenge will the Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh in early 2017.
The result of that election will set the tone for the Lok Sabha battle of 2019 and with a series of elections lined up in 2017 and 2018, it will not be an exaggeration to say that electoral politics will take the centrestage ahead of the next big battle.
What about the big economic reforms? Time is certainly running out
Then what about the reforms and the pending legislations? To be precise, the monsoon session of Parliament of this year will be the most crucial for the Modi government to finish off what is left to be done.
The NDA government has done well in pushing through some important legislations but as far as the big reforms that can give the face of India's economy a complete makeover are concerned, the Modi magic hasn't been able to deliver yet. And among those reforms lie the much talked about Goods and Services Tax and land acquisition laws. And as long as these key reforms are not carried out, the Indian economy will remain limited to a jobless growth.
Have enough jobs been created along with the growth?
For instance, every member of the NDA has boasted about the 7.9 per cent growth of the economy in January-March but how many jobs have been created in the last two years of the Modi government?
According to recent data of the Labour Bureau, India could create only 4.3 lakh jobs in the first 20 months of the Modi government while the first nine months of 2015 saw only 1.34 lakh people getting jobs. The January-September period in 2015 also saw the worst performance of the labour-intensive industries in the country in since 2009.
The government, hence, has to answer the question: Are the GDP numbers reflecting the reality?
Distribution of wealth is too unequal
Questions are also being raised on India's success in executing an equitable distribution of wealth. A Credit Suisse report has shown that only 10 per cent of Indians have an overwhelming 76 per cent of the wealth.
The disparity is scary. The same was the case before Modi stormed to power in 2014. So what difference has the country witnessed in terms of distribution of weath?
This is perhaps the biggest issue for an Indian voter. So far, the price of essential commondities like vegetables have not been controlled and if the monsoon fails despite the high prediction, then rural India will take a hit, resulting in further complication. The rising prices across the world along with that of fuel will pose more threats to the Modi government to tackle.