Saturday’s afternoon talk show examines performance of Modi government after four years in office, unemployment and growth remain big issues
Saturday’s afternoon debate centred on an examination of the performance of the Narendra Modi government four years into its five-year tenure. Participants included APN managing editor Vinay Rai, Congress spokesperson Ajay Verma, BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana, CPI spokesperson Aameer Haider Zaidi, diplomat NN Jha and senior journalist Govind Pant Raju. The debate was anchored by Akshay Singh.
Rai made the opening remarks. “The Ujjwala scheme and awas yojana have reached the common man. But did the LPG problem get solved? Development should be inclusive. Every section of the society must be taken along. So if the government has underperformed, the people will teach it a lesson, come 2019,” he said.
Verma had the next chance to speak. “As far as employment is concerned, the Modi government is a huge failure, statistics show. Leave alone job creation, according to the labour ministry, everyday 550 jobs are being destroyed. Four crore BPL families are yet to be covered. Even the Model Village Scheme has failed. Yet Modi has spent 12,000 crores on advertisements and spent millions on international travel, yet the H1B visa is under threat. Even the Namami Gange project has not taken off. Bank NPAs have increased to 9.9 percent. GDP has fallen to 6.5 percent,” was his well-annotated point.
Zaidi of CPI was quite despondent about the performance of the Modi government.
“The government sold off the Red Fort. Their idea of employment and progress is pakodas and cycle puncture service. The Rs 15 lakh dole to every bank account has turned out to be a jumla. And Dalits and minorities are now under life threat. The government keeps haranguing against Pakistan but imports sugar from it while not taking cane from its own farmers, leading to penury, untold sufferings and suicides,” he said.
Raju, however, had a different take. “It is a bold government,” he said. “No other government has taken a bold step such as demonetisation. Also, let us not look down upon the concept of swarozgar and small work. The problem is that even after training, there is no help from the government to support youth starting their own businesses. There is a dearth of loans under the Mudra scheme.”
Regarding rise in fuel price, the government is taking steps to bring it down. Our government’s philosophy is every youth must be a job giver and not a job seeker. We have framed our policies according to that. We have good intentions. But a lot of our work remains to be done, BJP spokesperson Khurana said.
Jha felt that, on the diplomatic front, there have been successes. “But, especially with regard to China, it is a work in progress. I would give the government eight out of 10 on this front,” he said.
—Compiled by Sucheta Dasgupta