Skip to main content

Four years of Modi rule: Intrusive Mind Management by a government influenced by its ideological mentor

By Lubna Sayed Qadri*

A pertinent question, as the NDA government completes four years in office, is: Has it kept up to the promises it made to the people of India? "Citizens’ Report on the Fourth Year of the NDA Government 2018: Promises and Reality" is an anthology of reviews brought out after due consultation and inputs by the civil society and the citizen of the country by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA) a platform of over 4,000 civil society organisations and individuals with its core focus on ‘governance accountability to eliminate poverty and social exclusion’.
The report has reviewed the electoral and other promises and performance of the NDA government in the last four years. The Annual Citizens’ review of the Union Government and its promises to the people is a continuum of previous such reports – beginning from the first review of the UPA I government held in 2005.
This year report has been accompanied with short, mobile-friendly audio-visual clips on thematic subjects that the report has touched upon.
Briefly, the findings done by the WNTA draw attention to the following facets of progress in the development sphere in the country:
  • Only 9.4 % schools are RTE compliant 
  • Child Health Budget is less than 2% of the GDP 
  • Education and Health Cess is now 4% which used to be 3% earlier 
  • Only 4.69% of the total workforce in India has undergone formal skills training compared to 68% in UK, 75% in Germany, 96% in South Korea. 
  • NARSS confirmed the ODF status of 95.6 percent of the villages which the state governments had declared ODF. 
  • An amount of Rs 1,00,447 crores has been allocated for SBM-G for five years till 2018-19. Of this, 48 percent has not been released as yet. 
  • Decrease in allocation towards drinking water. From 87 percent in 2009-10 it has dropped to 31 percent in 2018-19. 
  • According to data presented before the parliament by the Ministry of Home Affairs, communal incidents increased 28 percent over three years. 822 “incidents” were recorded in 2017, which led to as many as 111 people being killed and 2,384 others were injured. 
  • The long awaited 'National Tribal Policy' (2008) which at one point of time was viewed as a ray of hope for getting their rights is completely forgotten and not even mentioned in the political manifesto. 
  • Only 16,54,462 houses were built as against the target of 50 lakhs, by October 2017, according to PMAY. 
Review have been done on all-round development, employment generation, improved health and education, strong economy, enabling environment and equal opportunities for marginalised communities, social justice and social harmony, protection of human rights, land rights and environment among others.
Much of the discourse around governance over the past years has revolved around governance and inclusive development. In this view, report has attempted track the government’s progress in translating its ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ slogan of taking each one in its fold into action. There has been a sharp rise in inequity as governance and inclusive development remain the NDA’s un-kept promises. The report argues that the government must make stronger budgetary commitments to make the slogan real.
“The report reviews these very issues from the lens of the vulnerable and marginalised populations and constitutional mandates. While much has been promised and popularised, the report finds many gaps and much more needs to be done,” opines Amitabh Behar, Former Convenor of Wada Na Todo Abhiyan.
There is a marked new push to what can perhaps be called ‘Intrusive Mind Management’ by a government influenced by its ideological mentor. This has been aided and catalysed by instant technologies and social media. The fake news is spread with the aim to create communal hatred among people.
Stressing on an environment where questioning the government is not taken in the spirit of democratic citizenship, Annie Namala, the Convener of WNTA pointed to the disturbing disappearance of the Doubting Thomases from some of the most visible sections of mass media. “This isn’t a good signal for preserving the plurality of Indian society. Civil Society partners are concerned about the co-option of the minds in the media, particularly in the electronic variant of it,” according to Annie.
The Report has attempted to discover factors that have led to a well-calibrated tendency in the direction of converting the vibrant Indian society into a monochromatic inanity.
On the free speech front too, the government seems to have fallen short of the high degree of tolerance it is expected to display. Anti-government statements have been braneded as anti-national. In the long run this would prove to be counter-productive for society at large and self-defeating for the government of the day. Unfortunately, the BJP-led government has failed to generate enough confidence on this crucial count.
The undeterred violence against the Dalits and religious minorities and an apparent silence/inaction by the establishment has created an environment of awe and fear among these groups who dare not appraoch any instituion for grievance redressal. This marks a extremely disturbing situation of a near-collapse of the system of “Checks and Balances” in a democracy.
The basic concerns of privacy and data leak have been associated with the compulsory use of the Aadhaar-based biometric identity system on everywalks of public interface. Moreover, the mandatory linkage of this system with the delivery of welfare schemes has led to more exclusion of the old, and socially and economically highly vulnerable groups.
Yet another trend that became evident in the fourth year of the NDA government is the fast shrinking space of the voluntary sector.
As Thomas Pallithanam, WNTA’s National Convener pointed out, “In a democracy, every political leadership has a right to make strategies for winning elections, but in this race, the basic tenets of the Indian constitution, pluralism, secularism, fraternity are being compromised.”
As the government ends the current term in office and all political parties prepare for the next general elections, this report is a call to keep the people’s concerns and aspirations at the heart of governance, in particular of the excluded and vulnerable sections.
---
*National Campaign Coordinator, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.