Millennium Post

The way ahead

Slogan and symbolism aside, NDA II is now set to tackle challenges which lie ahead. The swearing-in ceremony concluded with oaths from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his new Council of Ministers and the action plan for 100 days which has been developed on the directives of PMO will be taken up to kickstart the central government offices. There are several issues that have surfaced during elections while some are backlog from the previous term. Addressing the critical ones is imperative despite the fact that those did not influence the mandate BJP received. Agriculture, jobs, banks and economy, foreign policy, domestic development and social unrest due to communal tensions require immediate attention while a blueprint constituting new and expected challenges along with action plan needs to be discussed and materialised. Modi-led NDA II has the experience of a five-year term to bank upon with greater stability and smoother governance expected out of the successive incumbent. Modi's first term provided insight into India's position on diverse fronts and its global image. Several policy-level changes were undertaken to build on the patchy-run that UPA II had left the country in and tuned to depict stable economic indicators. If NDA I came out with a trove of schemes to empower masses on various fronts and initiate development under the same, NDA II can help streamline and complete the work-in-progress. Not just completing older promises but crafting new ones and laying foundation stones to several more should be the mantra. BJP's manifesto encapsulates a snapshot of probable plans for the next five years, which would be clearer once Parliament convenes in June and the budget is presented, tentatively, in July. Modi's hand will now exercise greater decisiveness after experiencing a five-year period for experimentation and induction of novel ideas to provide India with the impetus for development, both domestically and globally. Farmers are not getting profitable remuneration and the new government must check the falling food prices. Unemployment has been thoroughly discussed by the intellectual lobby of India which realises that millions are jobless in a country whose average population falls in the working-age group. Addressing unemployment precedes regular governance and future action plans. It is a siting time-bomb which may grievously hurt the new dispensation should it ignore that hereafter. NPAs stand tall despite pumping in more than 2 trillion in 2 years and though it was under Modi's term that IBC came into effect, streamlining its machinery along with plans for future mergers of PSBs to strengthen credit power has to be initiated. The slump in the upward trend of GDP and private consumption and investment will have to be addressed. The ongoing US-China trade standoff can be capitalised upon by ensuring increased foreign direct investment, portraying India as an ideal place for business especially in the backdrop of India's raised position in the 'ease of doing business' index. Infrastructure development will receive a boost since Modi's first tenure brought a high conversion rate of infra projects. Doubling the road network, two more dedicated freight corridors, checking oil prices while exploring alternative energy sources – India leading the solar alliance initiative – are few long-term decisions that may get a green signal in the first few weeks. Foreign policy is keenly pursued by our prime minister and hence, a new set of bilateral meets and strategic cooperations could be pursued, especially since BIMSTEC nations were invited to the swearing-in ceremony widely hinting at Modi's 'Neighbourhood First' and 'Act East' policy. Social disharmony is an area where the least has been done in the previous term and with all the 'inclusiveness' talk, it will be important for NDA II to resolve the communal conundrum before it aggravates.

A sizeable number of decisions need to be taken since the very first day. Digital India has seen a considerable rise under NDA I and it will only augur well during NDA II. Modi's flagship schemes from the previous term need reinvigoration while the pitfalls need to be analysed and corrected to minimise loopholes in the good governance Modi wants to script in India's progressing history. Environment featured in the manifestos of parties for the first time and the expectation is that issues concerning the environment which includes droughts, cyclones, floods, etc., as well the rejuvenation of Ganga, Air pollution and Climate Change, in general, will be aptly addressed. India is a signatory to the UN's SDGs which has a timeline of 2030. While India pursues its dream of being a $5 trillion economy, ticking off SDGs will be a good way of developing not just as the strongest emerging economy but also a sustainable one.

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