As the Narendra Modi Government completes its first year in office on Tuesday, it is pertinent to note the question put forward by noted writer Shobha De when beef ban was imposed in Maharashtra and later, when the State government insisted on reserving the prime time slot for only Marathi films. De wanted to know whether popcorn in multiplexes would be replaced by 'dahi misal' and 'vada pav.'
It is only now that many recollect the old campaign of Modi that he will back to India all the black money invested in foreign banks and will deposit 15 lakh each to the accounts of every Indian.
Whilst it's easy to take political barbs and digs at the Modi regime, one cannot discount his achievement in one year. The ministers and bureaucrats in New Delhi will vouch that they are living in constant fear. There are no million dollar scams. Forget about crores, they are even afraid to accept Rs 10 as bribe.
Even before the Modi Government assumed power, foreign investment and stock market saw a boom. Though the election results came only in May, there was an extended bull run in the stock market since January anticipating Modi's accession to power.
The Sensex, which touched 23000 when Modi came to power, reached 30,000 points in a short span of time. The stock market then disappointed many, but now investors have renewed their hopes. The inflation has come down to below five per cent.
It is true that in the last one year, India's image as an investment destination has improved dramatically. Modi's Make-in-India campaign has been a hit among foreign investors and Boeing company opening its plant in Pune is a good example of this is.
The industrial growth came down to four per cent during the last year of Dr. Manmohan Singh's term. But it has now risen to seven per cent this year according to the predictions of the World Bank. The rate at which China grew in the last two decades was over 10 per cent and it has reached 14 per cent now. India's aim is to achieve 10 per cent growth, which is important as it doubles our fiscal deposits after every five years.
The process of company registration has been made easy with customers getting it in 24 hours if it is applied online along with pan card and address proof. The union government has proposed to construct 10,00 km of new roads every year.
The contract for road works were given swiftly and work on building new highways has started in many States. There was no allegation of corruption in the sale of spectrum and a few lakh crores of rupees have come in to the coffers.
In addition to this, the fall in the price of petrol has brought down the current account deficit to four per cent of national production output. The rating agencies have increased the rating of the India.
But what happened to Swach Bharat campaign? Apart from the publicity stunt before TV cameras, the waste is still piled over in all places.
Likewise, the100 smart cities project too is still not underway. The problem with this ambitious project is that the budget allocation for each smart city is just Rs 100 crore – a very minuscule amount. The scheme may be successful if the number of smart cities is reduced and more money is allotted to each.
The government directive not to impose income tax duty on interest taken from gold pledged with banks has come as a relief to the common man. Now they can pledge even 10 sovereigns of gold ornaments with the bank and take its interest. However, the new income tax return form has come in for sharp criticism from those who had complimented Modi.
The government was forced to withdraw the complex form and issue a simple one. The foreign investors are still not convinced as there is no news from Union government on whether it will waive away taxes, which has been imposed with retrospective effect.
People who have seen Modi 's constituency will vouch for this all over India. The cleanliness in Varanasi, which was submerged in waste and dirt, has improved but still a far cry from being called a clean place.