NHSF (UK) PR Team
“This country has not been made by politicians, kings or governments. It has been made by farmers, labourers, our mothers and sisters and the youth”.
Around this time last year, Narendra Damodardas Modi was voted as Prime Minister of India –the largest democracy in the world. The Modi fever has swaggered from the nation’s 29 states and 7 union territories, to the 18 foreign countries that he has visited in the last 12 months. The halo effect around Mr. Modi, surprisingly, hasn’t worn off yet and this can be attributed to his grand ambitions for his fellow Indians, and his self-confidence, style and charisma to complement his strategies.
Upon becoming Prime Minister, Modi promised “achhe din” (good days) were to follow. At a recent rally in the ancient city of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, PM Modi addressed an audience of around 200,000 people, where he celebrated his first year by showcasing and highlighting the achievements of his government. He said that he has liberated the country from her “burre din” (bad days) and considers this as one of his “most significant achievements thus far”. Incidentally, Mathura is also the birth place of Lord Krishna and the city he later returned-to to free the citizens from the atrocities of the tyrannical King Kansa and reinstate “good days”.
The 64 year old Modi has been persistent and very busy. His constant stream of policy speeches, foreign-visits, and impressive schemes have made him a popular figure and hashtag. Amidst the surfeit of analysis and commentary, it is not difficult to ascertain some of his key achievements in the last 12 months:
He has brought India closer to most of her neighbours. He has spent 52 days of his first year abroad, having globetrotted to 18 countries including Brazil, USA, Australia, France, Germany, Canada and China, Modi has raised India’s profile on a global scale. During his visits, he has made every effort to embrace local culture. In fact, during his visit to Japan, he spent a few minutes watching a Taiko drum performance before clutching the drumsticks and giving it a go himself.
The Indian Rupee is stable and government statisticians released a new report on GDP which suggests that India’s economy has been rising by 7.5%, which has increased from the 5-6% region in recent years; India overtook China as the fastest-growing large economy in the world.
100 smart cities are set to be built with housing for all by 2022 to accommodate the increasing urban population. Irrigation and insurance schemes for farmers will be amongst some of the priorities for rural development. The River Ganga project will seek to clean the river and restore it back to its pristine condition. The “Diamond Quadrilateral” project aims to build a high-speed (~350km/hour) rail network that connects major cities and reduces commute time.
Unique ID Number:
“Aadhar” is the world’s biggest biometric database that has created a unique digital identity number for 850 million people so far. It is estimated that in the next few months, this figure is set to reach 1 billion.
A Special Investigation Team has been set up to bring-back over approximately £327 billion of illicit money, which has leaked out of India since its independence in 1947. The Swiss government has provided India a list of those suspected of syphoning.
Key issues that have always cropped-up time and time again are gender equality and the empowerment of women. During last year’s Independence Day speech, the PM struck a chord when he said that “as parents, have we ever asked our son what he’s doing or where he’s going? Why don’t you impose as many restrictions on your sons as you have been imposing on your daughters, try doing it with your sons, try and ask them such questions”. During his speech, Modi further emphasised the importance of women in India’s society, “this country has not been made by politicians, kings or governments. It has been made by farmers, labourers, our mothers and sisters and youth”.
The May issue of The Economist (UK) criticized Mr. Modi as “India’s One-Man Band” for trying to run everything on his own and for not doing enough to promote other talented individuals. It claims that Modi is “still thinking like the chief minister of Gujarat, not a national leader on a mission to make India rich and strong”.
Of course, opinions differ on what Modi has and hasn’t been doing in his first year, but there is definitely confidence in him and his government as you walk around the streets of India; a government that advocates a concept of “actions are greater than words”. Modi’s 1st year in office has been convincing and if all goes to plan, an optimistic future beckons for the subcontinent under his altruistic governance.