08 September 2019
New Delhi: Away from the cacophony of self-praise by the government and the Congress' one-sided attack, how much has the Modi 2.0 actually achieved in the first 100 days in power?
There's one thing that even the harshest critics of the government accept, of course off the record, that abrogation of Article 370 is a historic move that can be flaunted as an achievement in its first 100 days as well as for decades to come.
"In the political alleys of India, some kept opposing revocation of Article 370 and Article 35A. If this was so important, why did you not make it permanent in the last 70 years," Modi asked the opposition from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 73rd Independence Day. The abrogation has done away with the special status that Kashmir enjoyed for decades.
Even at Rohtak in Haryana on Sunday, the Prime Minister presented it as a decisive move and said, "Now India can challenge any challenge (thrown at it)".
Revocation of Article 35A, which has not been as much talked about as the abrogation of Article 370, has been another big leap towards bringing Kashmir into the mainstream. It empowered the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir's legislature to define "permanent residents" of the state and accord special rights and privileges to them.
The Article 35A was also anti-women. When a J&K woman married a non-state subject she lost her state subject rights. But it was not the same in the case of men. The men could marry a non-state subject and keep their rights too.
It was anti-Dalit too. Despite living in Jammu since 1957, 636 Dalit families were tagged as non-permanent residents.
By junking this law, the Narendra Modi government had not only brought J&K into the national mainstream, but also ensured justice for women and Dalits. In that way, it was a phenomenal move in its first 100 days.
Another political masterstroke was bifurcation of the state into Union Territories - J&K and Ladakh. J&K will have an Assembly, but the Lieutenant Governor will be the final authority.
This move has rendered toothless the political class in the Valley, which was opposed to any move to change the status quo.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 -- commonly known as the Triple Talaq Bill -- was a poll promise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is believed to have helped the party garner minority votes. Despite lacking numbers in the Rajya Sabha, the government ensured its smooth passage, making instant triple talaq a crime punishable by three-year jail.
It was a long-standing demand of the Muslim women who were victimised due to this. This too is a major move of the government in its first 100 days to ensure gender justice.
But despite such bold steps and floor management, the "economic mismanagement", as the opposition terms it, has been a real dampener. The gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first quarter of financial year 2019-20 slipped to the six-year low of 5 per cent, and it's a matter of concern.
The economic slowdown has been badly felt in the auto sector, which as of last month reportedly saw evaporation of around 2.30 lakh jobs.
So much so that Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur was recently heckled at the annual meet of the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA) of India. Jasbir Singh of GS Auto, Ludhiana, interrupted Thakur saying, "This is the delayed effect of demonetisation. People don't have money!"
Though the government is hopeful of economy "coming back on track", as Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday, but the completion of 100 days of Modi 2.0 could have been grander had the economy been bullish.