Every year, the President of India outlines the Central Government's policies, programmes and achievements by addressing both houses of the Parliament in the beginning of the year. This speech which is basically approved by the Cabinet is the agenda of the Government for the year.
I examine how the Modi Government's so called achievements and announcements are far from the reality.
President’s Address: It is our collective responsibility to pay a befitting tribute to Pujya Bapu by making the country Swachh by 2019 when we celebrate the 150thbirth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.
We all want our country clean, and the Congress-UPA had started the process by launching the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan in 2012 under the aegis of the Total Sanitation Campaign, but Modi Government renamed it to Swachh Bharat Mission.
· The Swachh Bharat Mission aimed at building 12Cr toilets by October 2, 2019- But almost 3.5 years after it has launched – Only 50% of toilets ie 6.12 Crore toilets in Rural India and 37 Lakh toilets in Urban India have been built. With just one year left, How will the Govt be able to achieve its target?
· A study by the UN Special Rapporteur Leo Heller highlights that only 33% of the toilets built are sustainably safe, while the rest are barely useable. Additionally, the lack of proper plumbing to provide clean water and the removal of waste and excrement makes this a pointless piece of infrastructure that is fit for only one thing, Modi Ji’s photo ops
· An RTI reveals that Swachh Bharat spent a whopping Rs 530 crore on publicity in three years – but little on grassroots awareness
· In this year’s Budget (2018-19) –there is a 7% cut in allocation for the Swachh Bharat Mission budget from 2017-18’s revised estimates
President’s Address: ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ has empowered these poor women to enjoy equal rights with their privileged counterparts thereby addressing a hitherto ignored aspect of social justice. So far, under this scheme, over 3 crore 30 lakh cooking gas connections have been provided.
19 months after the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched, the scheme is achieving its targets magnificently. It is, however, failing in its objective of persuading households to stop using firewood and traditional biomass fuels that have the potential to cause respiratory diseases.
Under the scheme, the government provides a subsidy of Rs 1,600 to government-owned oil manufacturing companies for every free LPG gas connection that they install in poor rural households without one. This subsidy is intended to cover the security fee for the cylinder and the fitting charges. The beneficiary has to buy her own cooking stove. To reduce the burden, the scheme allows beneficiaries to pay for the stove and the first refill in monthly installments. However, the cost of all subsequent refills has to be borne by the beneficiary household. This is where the scheme is failing. 
While the number of LPG connections across India has increased by an impressive 16.26% since the scheme was launched, the use of gas cylinders increased by only 9.83%. This is even lower than the rate recorded in 2014-’15, when the scheme did not exist
This difference between the increase in the number of connections and the sale of cylinders is a consequence of the fact that many people with new connections are not buying refilled cylinders after their first one runs out
A Comptroller and Auditor General’s report notes that in 2015-’16, households with LPG connections were using an average of 6.27 cylinders in a year. But after the scheme was launched, the number of cylinders used on average had come down to 5.6, the data shows
President’s Address: My Government has tabled a Bill on Triple Talaq in Parliament.
The Indian National Congress has always believed that the issue of ‘Instant Triple Talaq’ i.e. Talaq-e-biddat is about ‘gender justice’ and ‘gender equity’. INC has always maintained that anything prejudicial to Muslim Women like instant triple talaq is inherently unsustainable.
We were the first political party to hold a press conference welcoming the Supreme Court’s judgment on ‘Instant Triple Talaq’ as a victory for the rights of Muslim women.
In fact, it was a Congress leader, Salman Khurshid, who was appointed as the Amicus Curiae to assist the court in arriving at this decision. It was another Congress leader, Manish Tewari, who represented the woman petitioner in the case.
The Congress will support any and every law abolishing ‘Instant Triple Talaq’ i.e. Talaq-e-biddat. However any such law much be tested on the touchstone of the Supreme Court’s decision. Any proposed law must comprehensively protect the rights of Muslim women who are the victims of this unconstitutional practice.
Rights and Welfare of Women & Children must be protected at any Cost. Legislation must ensure Safeguarding of Rights of Women to a life of Dignity with adequate subsistence allowance.
BJP and Narendra Modi failed to provide justice to Muslim Women on ‘Instant Triple Talaq’. It was the Supreme Court which quashed ‘Instant Triple Talaq’ as ‘Illegal’.
Lack of Commitment to the cause of Women on part of BJP is apparent from the failure to pass the Women Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha.
Some of the shortcomings of the proposed law are
1. ‘Subsistence Allowance’ neither ‘defined’, nor the amount ‘quantified’ in the proposed legislation.
2. Why should onus of proving ‘Instant Triple Talaq’ be on ‘Women’? Why can’t this law then envisage a ‘presumption in favour of the woman’ putting the onus of proof on the ‘husband’ to establish that ‘Instant Triple Talaq’ was not pronounced by him?
3. Who would ensure payment of ‘Maintenance’ and/or ‘Subsistence Allowance’ to women and children if husband is in jail for 3 years?
President’s Address: Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme. Seeing its positive results, the scheme has been extended from 161 districts to 640 districts.
For all the hoopla over "Beti Bachao Beti Padao" (BBBP), the Economic Survey says that there are still 20 lakh girl children that go missing every year.
The Modi Government’s outlay of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” Scheme for 161 Districts was just Rs 200 Crore for the year 2017-18. Now the allocation has been raised to Rs 280 Crore That means each district under the scheme was provided on an average just Rs 2.3 Crore. How will the ‘Beti’ benefit from this meagre budget? Was it only meant for advertisements?
President’s Address: Under the ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’, so far, about 31 crore bank accounts have been opened for the poor
24.3 Cr accounts were opened by the previous Congress-UPA Government under the Financial Inclusion scheme called 'Swabhiman'. All that the Prime Minister and his Government has done is renamed and carried forward our 'Swabhiman' scheme as 'Jana Dhana Scheme'. The number of Jan Dhan accounts opened under the BJP stands approximately at 12.13 crore.
The government told Parliament on Feb 3, 2018 that around 50 lakh Jan Dhan accounts have been closed till December 20, 2017. At least 50% of the accounts being in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.
President’s Address: Under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana’, about 10 crore loans have been sanctioned so far and more than Rs. 4 lakh crore worth of loans have been disbursed.
· Loans by MFI’s and Banks is an old scheme which is existing since the 1990’s and has been rebranded by the BJP as ‘MUDRA’
· The average size of the Mudra loan is Rs 43,000. This is tokenism and will not create even one job. More Mudra loans will mean more tokenism, but no additional jobs.
· Around 17 Lakh companies were opened till December 2017, out of those 5.37 Lakh Companies have been closed till now.
President’s Address: The highest priority of my Government is to remove various difficulties faced by farmers and to raise their standard of living.
My Government is committed to doubling of farmers’ income by 2022.
· Agriculture Growth under Modi Govt in past 4 years has been the lowest since Economic Reform began. It is just 1.9% (from 2014-15 to 2017-18) whereas under Congress UPA, Agriculture Grow at an average of 4.2%.
· The promise of doubling Farm Incomes by 2022 is another Jumla. At this speed of Growth, the Income of Farmers will be doubled by the year 2052.
· The committee that they had recently formed to look into doubling farmers’ incomes – the Ashok Dalwai committee – had basically said that Rs 6.4 lakh crore investment is needed for this. But in this year’s Budget, the allocation has increased by Rs 4,845 crore. So this is a clear-cut indicator that incomes aren’t going to double anytime soon.
· Suddenly, Shri Modi remembers the Swaminathan Report on Cost +50%MSP. Truth is for crops; their increase still is lesser than that of UPA. (Refer to attached table)
· Besides, Rs 2000 crore for e-markets and Rs 500 crore for Operation Green (whenever the Cabinet will approve the schemes) amount to a pittance.
· One needs clarity on whether promise of the MSP at 50% above cost is based on C2, comprehensive cost, or A2, the paid out cost. If they are talking of 50% increase over comprehensive cost, that would require, in paddy, an increase of about 45% in the MSP. Which is far far from truth? If they are talking about A2, then more than 50% of that is already in place. So then what are they talking about?
President’s Address: Under ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana’, farmers are being provided affordable and simple crop insurance services. During 2017, under Rabi & Kharif crops, 5 crore 71 lakh farmers were provided protective coverage under this scheme.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, projected by the Modi Government as a 'game changer' scheme for farmers have only beneifitted select private entitities.
Till April 2017, insurance companies collected a gross premium of Rs 17,185 crore, against claims of only Rs 6,808 crore, ensuring a profit of almost Rs 10,376 crore. This means, through this, for every season – certain private entities chosen by the Government profit by a whopping Rs 10000 Cr at the expense of the farmers!
President’s Address: My Government is providing electricity connections to 4 crore poor people under the "Saubhagya” Yojana.
Congress-UPA provided Free Electricity to Poor Households from Day 1- Look at the difference here. Modi ji's Saubhagya only repackaged!
· UPA-2 gave free electricity connections to 39,59,091 more BPL households than the Modi government did in its first year. That is 521.36% higher. In the second year, the difference is more stark – 44,44,211 more BPL households.
· The UPA government had connected 1,08,280 villages to the grid between 2005-06 and 2013-14, compared to 14,528 villages by the NDA from 2014 to 2017. That means on an average, the UPA electrified 12,030 villages per year, while the NDA government has electrified 4,842 – less than half the UPA’s average.
President’s Address: To ensure availability of two square meals to every poor person, effective enforcement of National Food Security Act is necessary.
The Supreme Court today in July, 2017 had said the National Food Security Act 2013 has not been implemented properly, and it is a "pity" that a legislation enacted by parliament for citizens' benefit was kept on the "back-burner" by various states.
President’s Address: Constitution Amendment Bill to provide Constitutional Status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.
The ruling BJP could not muster adequate numbers to thwart Opposition designs to a politically significant Constitutional Amendment bill in the Rajya Sabha in August 2017
The lack of numbers forced the government to drop a crucial clause from the bill granting constitutional status to the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC). The Opposition had moved amendments, which were passed by its 74 votes against the NDA’s 52. It resulted in an unprecedented situation, as a clause, for which an amendment is passed by a simple majority, cannot become part of a Constitution Amendment Bill. It requires a two-third majority of those present in the House.
While the scheme was started with a sum of Rs. 967.28 crore as Central Government share and Rs. 249.50 crore as the states' share in 2013, over the years, the funds have continuously dwindled along with its utilisation.
President’s Address: Minimum Support Price of several forest produce collected by the tribal people has been increased.
According to the recently presented Budget, of the Rs. 100 crore allocated to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), only Rs. 25 crore was spent.
The MSP for MFP scheme was launched in 2013-14. It aimed at improving the financial condition of forest-dwelling communities living in the country. The importance of such a scheme can be gauged by the fact that the Planning Commission accounted MFPs for 20 to 40 per cent of the income of these communities.
President’s Address: With a sensitive approach towards providing housing with availability of water-electricity-toilet facility to all, my Government is targeting to provide a house to every poor and homeless household by the year 2022.
Over the last three and a half years, more than 93 lakh houses have been constructed by the Government in rural and urban areas.
From 2004-2013, the Congress-UPA constructed 224.37 Lakh Houses, which is an average of almost 25 Lakh Houses per year for Rural poor.
On the other hand, if we look at the official figures of the Modi Government, despite changing its name to PM Gramin Awaas Yojana Only 1.7 Lakh houses constructed in the past three years, which is an average of just about 56,600 houses per year.
The Rajiv Awaas Yojana which was conceptualized in 2009, and became a Centrally Sponsored Scheme only in 2013 provided affordable housing for Urban Poor. In the last year of UPA (2013-14) – 1.17 Lakh houses sanctioned and completed. Modi Government changed its name to PM Awaas Yojana (Urban) Modi Government promised 2 Crore houses till 2022, but could only construct 17 Lakh houses (till March 2017)- with this speed, it will take 600 odd years to reach the 2 Crore mark!
President’s Address: A new ‘National Health Policy’ has been formulated by my Government for providing better and affordable healthcare facilities to the poor and middle class.
• Modi Government did not spend a Single Rupee on Health Insurance (Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana) in 2015-16
• For 2016-17, it allocated Rs 1500 Crore in the Budget for the Scheme but only spent Rs 724 Crore in that year. Rest Rs 776 Crore was unspent.
• For 2017-18, Modi Government allocated Rs 1000 Cr in the Budget for the Scheme, but only spent Rs 471 Crore in that year.
• Which means Modi Government has only spent Rs 1195 Crore in the past 4 years on Health Insurance and this year it has allocated Rs 2000Cr for the grand “50Cr Beneficiary Scheme?”
• Media Reports indicate that 21 Crore BPL beneficiaries out of the 26.97 Crore Beneficiaries did not receive any Health Insurance, last year.
President’s Address: My Government is committed to strengthening and modernising School and Higher Education system in the country.
· Lowest share of Budget for HRD Ministry since 2014-15- It is 0.23 percentage-point decline over 2017-18
· The recent All India Higher Education Survey 2016-17 have shown only marginal improvement in enrolment. The country’s Gross Enrolment Ratio or GER in higher education has registered a marginal increase of 0.7% from 24.5% in 2015-16 to 25.2% in 2016-17. Despite BJP boasting its privatisation model higher education enrolment has not seen a major improvement. India aims to achieve a GER of 30% by 2020. This is much behind China, which, currently, boasts an enrolment ratio of 43.39%. USA’s GER is 85.8% and Pakistan’s is 9.93%.
President’s Address: Our country is the youngest among all nations in the world. My Government is implementing programmes like Start Up India, Stand Up India, Skill India Mission, Mudra Yojana to provide self-employment to the youth and to enable them to fulfill their dreams.
The government is wasting our country’s demographic dividend and turning into a potential demographic disaster. The major flagship schemes have not shown any results. The youth in India are standing in queues for jobs.
According to the ASER report 2017, only 5% of the rural youth only are taking some form of vocational training. This is ironical considering the BJP’s key promise was the allocation of Rs. 400 crores for Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion programme (SANKALP) to train over 3.5 crore youth. Besides, Rs. 2000 crore has been promised for Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) to improve the quality of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). None of this expenditure has shown any level of desired results. As of January 2018, data shows 30% of Indians are neither employed nor are part of any skill training
Stand-up India: Same Rhetoric
Only 48,778 loans have been given to the 2.8 lakh intended beneficiaries as of December 2017. Out of these beneficiaries the number of ST women borrowers are just 2,084. Only 6% of banks have given loans to Dalits or Adivasis, and less than 25% to a woman. RTI reply suggests that between April 5, 2016 and September 24, 2017, only 6% of the 1.3 lakh bank branches in the country have provided Stand Up India loans to SC or ST individuals.
President’s Address: My Government has increased the minimum wage of workers by more than 40 per cent
No increase in allocation of MGNREGA which is a vehicle to create employment in this country for the poor. This year, only 39 days was provided by the Government and rural wages which are supposed to be paid within 15 days, are now pending since 1.5 years.
The Economic Survey noted, that Rural wages decelerated just before the kharif season. This was because sowing of seeds has been lower in both kharif and rabi seasons thus reducing the demand for labour.
The most disappointing part of the budget is the cut in the outlays on major schemes for 2018-19. Some important schemes that will get constant or reduced outlays are: MGNREGA, PMAY, National Drinking Water Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, National Health Mission, Midday Meals Scheme, and Interest Subsidy for Short Term Farm Credit, Northeastern Investment Promotion, Price Stabilisation Fund and Gram Jyoti Yojana. The FM will have much to explain when Parliament debates the Budget next week.
President’s Address: Railways remain the main mode of transport even today and that is why investment in Railways for capacity development and modernization is being enhanced continuously
· Railways remains the most neglected Ministry under Modi Govt- BJP has deliberately diminished the status of Indian Railways
· Railway Ministry has failed to provide managerial leadership, ‘Safety’, ‘Security’ and ‘Speed’ of Railways is in dire straits!
President’s Address: My Government has formulated a new Metro Rail Policy which lays emphasis on ‘last mile connectivity’. Presently, Metro work is in progress in 11 cities of the country.
· Congress-UPA built Metro Rail in as many as these 12 cities and Cleared in another 6! How many did BJP Build?
President’s Address: Recently, my Government has approved an ambitious programme for development of highways namely ‘Bharatmala’. A provision of Rs. 5 lakh 35 thousand crore has been made for this.
‘Bharatmala’ Project stated to bring Rs 5.35 Lakh Crore is completely debt driven with total burden on people of India. Its breakup is -:
President’s Address: In Mizoram, a Hydro Electric Power Project constructed at a cost of Rs. 913 crore has been dedicated to the nation recently.
Shillong –Tura road project was dedicated to the people last year in December. This road will improve connectivity in the entire North-East region.
Last year, the longest river-bridge of the country- Dhola-Sadiyaa- was also dedicated to the nation. This bridge has reduced distance between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by 165 kilometers.
All these projects were started by Congress-UPA, and only inaugurated by Shri Modi.
President’s Address: Terrorist violence in the interiors of Jammu & Kashmir is directly related to cross-border infiltration. With better coordination, our Army, Para-Military Forces and Jammu-Kashmir Police are giving a befitting response to the perpetrators.
1. Since May 26, 2014, during Modi Government- In the last 44 months, nearly 340 personnel of our brave security forces have been martyred and 195 civilians have died in Jammu and Kashmir alone. Ceasefire Violations are at a all time high. 160 Ceasefire Violations since the beginning of the year.
2. Ceasefire Violations from across the border in the past 44 months of the Modi Government has increased by an alarming 500%, when we compare it by the last 44 months of the Congress-UPA Government.
3. There have been 134 reported Ceasefire Violations along the IB and LOC by Pakistan in in January alone.
4. IAF’s Fighter Fleet has fallen to a record low of 32 Squadrons against the Air Force demand of 45 Squadrons i.e lowest in last 10 years.
5. Armed Forces have shortage of officers- Army has a gap of 7,679 officers is 15.38% of the required number. The Navy has a gap of 1,434 or 12.12% officers (compared to the authorized strength). While the Air Force has a significant shortage of airmen. This gap of 15,5357 airmen amounts to 10.77% of the required number. (Defence Minister's Statement in Lok Sabha | 27 December, 2017)
President’s Address: The policy related to Strategic Partnership in Defence Manufacturing sector has also been given a final shape. This will encourage maximum participation of private sector in the manufacture of major defence platforms and equipment and would provide a fillip to employment generation.
In this Budget, Defence Sector gets 1.58% of the GDP, Lowest allocation since 1962.
President’s Address: Due to the successful diplomatic efforts of my Government, there has been a new found respect for India.
There have been multiple occasions where this BJP Government has failed to secure India’s National Interests, viz-a-viz China:
1. China vetoes declaration of Masood Azhar as an ‘international terrorist’ under Pak’s pressure
2. China blocks India’s membership of ‘Nuclear Suppliers Group’ asking for parity with rogue Pakistan.
3. China opposes India’s membership of UN Security Council.
4. On Dec 19, 2016; Russia extended support to China-Pak Economic Corridor & expressed intent to connect it with Eurasian Economic Union.
5. China – Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) worth $54 billion built through PoK/Balochistan connecting Gwadar Port in Arabian Sea to China with base for Chinese submarines- Does it not compromise India’s Sovereign right over POK & affect our strategic interests in the Arabian Sea with Chinese Naval Base?
6. The Ministry of External Affair’s vacuous statement recently, does not say a word about the alleged construction of military infrastructure by Chinese Army as depicted in satellite imagery produced in the recent media reports. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s reported justification of the construction of infrastructure and the reported reaction by the MEA that “India is maintaining constant vigil and using established mechanisms” is only adding to the confusion. The Modi Government cannot have multiple stands on the Chinese misadventure. It will only harm India’s Interests.
Congress Government had approved raising of ‘Mountain Strike Corps’ along the China border with 90,274 additional soldiers at a cost of Rs 64,678. Under Modi Government, it still lies in the lurch.
7. Chinese nuclear and conventional submarines are regularly making forays into Indian Ocean and Strategic Experts have continuously pointed out the ‘String of Pearls’ which China is attempting in the Indian Ocean by leveraging its influence on India’s neighbours like Sri Lanka Maldives, Bangladesh etc. by building strategic bases at Hambantota in Sri Lanka and Chittagong port in Bangladesh besides extensive maritime facilities in Maldives.
President’s Address: India’s growth rate remained impressive despite global economic slow-down. During the first quarter of 2016-17
· Modi Govt fails to achieve its Fiscal Deficit target, this year. They had set a Fiscal Deficit Target of 3.2% but they have breached it and this year’s Fiscal Target is said to be 3.5%- which is worrying.
· GDP Growth is 4 Year low – despite new method of calculation
· Manufacturing Growth is 3 Month low in January (Today’s Papers)
· Industrial GVA growth has declined from 9.8 per cent in 2015-16 to 6.8 per cent in 2016-17 to 2.7 per cent in 2017-18.
· Budget 2017-18 predicted a GDP Growth of 7.5% for 2017-18. FM has turned out to be more than a full percentage point off the mark!
· Inflation is 15 month low. Food inflation has gone up to 5% overall in December 2017 from just 2% in December 2016.
President’s Address: With a view to resolving the problems of citizens, my Government has accorded priority to simplification of procedures. As a result of these efforts of my Government, India has moved up from 142nd to 100th rank in the Ease of Doing Business ranking of the World Bank.
Giving credence to the theory that the World Bank's popular ease of doing business (EODB) ranking is not credible and accurate, its chief economist Paul Romer has announced to recalculate the national rankings of business competitiveness going back to at least four years.
Romer's statement that the national ranking of ease of doing business would be carried for last four years, could have a notable impact on India as its ranking jumped from 140 in 2014 to 100 in 2018.
President’s Address: Our fight against corruption continues.
Modi ji has kept absolutely mum on the following
2. ‘Shah-Zaada Model’ : BJP’s National President, Shri Amit Shah & son, Shri Jay Shah
3.Modi Gate: BJP’s Rajasthan CM Smt. Vasundhara Raje & son, Shri Dushyant Singh
4.Offshore Bank Account Racket: BJP’s Chhattisgarh CM, Dr Raman Singh & son Shri Abhishek Singh
5.Gir Lion Sanctuary Scam: BJP’s Former CM of Gujarat, Smt. Anandiben Patel & daughter Ms Anar Patel
6. Birla-Sahara Papers – PM in which none other than PM’s name surfaces
7. Rs 20,000 Crore GSPC Scam of Gujarat
8. Rs 450cr Arunachal Dam Scam - Kiren Rijiju
9. Panama Papers- No Action taken
11. Rs 23000 Cr Spectrum Scam 2.0
12. DDCA Scam
13. Rs 25000 Cr Dal Scam
14.India Foundation Scam: Sangh affliated, Shri Ajit Doval & son Shri Shaurya Doval
15. Rs 15. Lakh in every Bank Account?
16. An RTI seeking the exact amount of Black Money since Demonetisation is still pending since an year now.