Rejoice, good days are here by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (June 16, 2015)

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that achche din aa gaye (good days are here). The PM, in his own opinion and judgment, was sure that he had delivered on his electoral promise of achche din aaenge (good days will come) in his rule. The PM was sure that by the time his regime was celebrating its first anniversary in power good days were already here, everything was hail and dandy, and nobody should have any reason to complain.

However, we the People of India, that is Bharat, have got something wrong with our eyesight, collectively, as a nation. We fail to see what our good PM is so clearly seeing, even without eye glasses. For instance, we were promised that within a week of BJP forming government, we will get back all our money stashed away illegally in foreign banks and every Indian will get Rs 15 lakh out of that bonanza.

The government conveniently reneged on the promise. After a lot of noise from the potential beneficiaries (which means the whole country) for a year, the government finally moved and got the names of five super-rich offenders who had squirreled away money in Europe. Happily for us Indian Muslims, two of the five alleged culprits were Muslims. Now we have reason to be super-happy as Indian Muslims. Out of every five stinking rich Indians two are Muslims, which means that even though we are only 15 per cent of India’s population, we are 40 per cent of all rich Indians. Great!

One of the most attractive dreams promised by the BJP in its poll campaign was reform in Indian Railways. After becoming Prime Minister, Narendra Modi announced in the North-East that he believed railway stations should be as grand and beautiful as airports. Common people, who travel by rail than aeroplane, have been waiting for that day, but the rail stations remain what they were before the Modi government took over. We were also promised a generous supply of Bullet trains like China and Japan (and French TVG trains), but they are not coming anytime too soon. No groundwork, even on paper, has been done regarding it.

The worst picture of failure of government’s widely tomtomed programmes is Rashtriya Swachchta Mission (National Cleanliness Mission), launched on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary (October 2) last year. Mahatma Gandhi’s symbolic association with the mission was thought to be auspicious as the mahatma equated cleanliness with spirituality. This Mission was launched with great fanfare and the Prime Minister was photographed wielding a broom with lesser mortals in tow carrying their own brooms in a great sycophantic exercise. The exercise was replicated in states also with local VIPs getting themselves photographed sweeping roads. After the cameras clicked, everybody invariably went home, or to whatever they had been doing. The dirt remains where it was, making a mockery of Swachch Bharat.

Another hyped programme, Jan Dhan Yojna, met a similar fate. A national news magazine in Hindi described where Jan Dhan stood today in beautiful colloquial language. “Jan Dhan Than Than Gopal.” Than Than Gopal is a taunt at an impecunious person’s miserable state. That explains everything about this widely publicised programme.

Can somebody tell us where the great Make in India project stands today? And what happened to the ideal villages project called Adarsh Gram Yojna? The fact remains that Make in India has not boosted manufacturing and the villages are in great distress as indicated by low sales of motorcycles, tractors and building material, indicators of the health of village economy.

So, where are the achche din to celebrate which we have been ordered? Yes, there is some reason to celebrate. The government has announced that the economy is now growing at the rate of 7.5 per cent a year, instead of the over 5 per cent of UPA’s last year. But wait, the new figure is an arbitrary creation of jugglery of figures. The world has refused to accept it. Sensible economists in India, too, are questioning the new methodology. Now, it is up to you to decide to celebrate, or keep quiet.

 

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