Saffron raising red flags since 2014?

Saffron raising red flags since 2014?
A look at how India’s economic, social and political fabric has taken a hit since BJP came to power since 2014
Sabrangindia                                                                                                      31 Jan 2020
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 It has been 6 years since BJP has been in power at the Centre. While many of nominal schemes like ‘Make in India’, ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ (Clean India Mission), Krishi Kalyan have been popular, the outcomes of the same are however questionable.

Let us have a look at some of the parameters that determine the efficacy of the BJP government. Some of these parameters being economy, environmental health, employment, women safety, farmers’ issues, soldiers’ deaths, militancy and so on.


Unemployment at 4 decade high:
The National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO) job survey for 2017-18 which was released in May 2019 showed that unemployment in the country has been at a four-decade-high. Unemployment was pegged at 6.1 percent, highest in last 45 years, unemployment being higher in urban areas (7.8%) than in rural areas (5.3%).

Air pollution

Greenpeace carried out an air analysis study which concluded that world’s 30 worst cities for air pollution are in India. Delhi was ranked the world’s most populated capital city and Gurugram, the most polluted city in the world. The report is based on 2018 air quality data from public monitoring sources, such as government monitoring networks, supplemented with validated data from outdoor IQAir AirVisual monitors operated by private individuals and organisations.

Soldiers are dying
As per data collected and compared by South Asia Terrorism Portal, death of jawans in terror attacks has risen 106 percent in Jammu and Kashmir between 2014 and 2018.
rising trend was also observed in the number of people who were killed in terrorism-related activities in Jammu & Kashmir in these five years. A total of 1,315 people were killed in the state between 2014 and 2018 due to terrorism.
(Image Courtesy: Moneycontrol)
Kashmir worsened
In early 2019 it was reported Army officials in Jammu and Kashmir, 191 Kashmiri youths had joined militancy in 2018, a marked increase from 2017 figures when 126 locals had joined militancy. The figure was even lower in 2016 when 88 youths had joined militancy in Kashmir.
With the amendment of Article 370 and reorganization of the state of Jammu and Kashmir which led to it losing it anonymous status, the government also imposed severe communication blockade on the state which continues to some degree. This has only made matter worse in the state which saw the longest running internet blockade in a democracy.
No country for women
global perception poll carried out by Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2018 surveyed 558 experts on women’s issues in order to assess nations on overall safety for women. The same poll carried out in 2011 had put India at fourth place and the same poll carried out in 2018 put India at first place. India had surpassed war-torn Afghanistan (2nd), Syria (3rd) as well as Somalia, a country that ranks significantly lower on human development indices.

Farmers’ woes

As per government data, Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data for December 2018 the WPI sub-component for primary food articles was in the negative since July 2018. WPI is a good indicator of farm-gate prices as farmers sell their products in wholesale rather than retail markets. This data meant that farmers suffered deterioration in terms of their trade and 2018-19 turned out to be a year of agrarian crisis for India; also proving to be the worst year for farm incomes in almost two decades. Doubling farm incomes was one of biggest promises of the Narendra Modi government after it assumed office in 2014.

Mob lynching

While National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) did not contain any data on deaths due to mob lynching, IndiaSpend conducted a content analysis of English news media in 2017 and found  that Muslims were the target of 51% of violence centered on bovine issues over nearly eight years (2010 to 2017) and comprised 86% of 28 Indians killed in 63 incidents. More than half (52%) of these attacks were based on rumours.
As many of 97% of these attacks were reported after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government came to power in May 2014, and about half the cow-related violence – 32 of 63 cases – were from states governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Income disparity

India is the third largest by purchasing power parity in the world, after China and USA; however, this growth is not uniformly distributed amongst its population. According to Credit Suisse Research Institute’s Global Wealth Report of 2016, the top 1% of India’s population owns nearly 60% of its wealth, trailing Russia, where the top 1% owns 74%.
In India, the upper classes were the main beneficiary of the nation’s surging economic development and poverty rates are also significantly lower among the upper caste Hindus rather than the Hindu other backward classes, the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, and Muslims. One third of Muslim and Hindu scheduled castes and tribes are in poverty compared to 10% of the upper castes Hindu. Altogether, 28% or around 360 million Indians are living in conditions of severe poverty.
According to the latest data from Credit Suisse and Oxfam, the richest 10% of Indians own 80% of the country’s wealth. At the other end, the poorer half jostles for a mere 4.1% of national wealth. 

The Rupee slump

As per a report of Bloomberg Quint, in August 2019, Indian Rupee became Asia’s worst performing currency as it battled an unresolved global trade war between USA and China and fleeing foreign funds.
Source: Bloomberg
Environmental health
The Environmental Performance Index, 2017 released by Yale University and Columbia University in collaboration with the World Economic Forum ranked India at number 177 out of 180 countries, slipping 36 places down from its previous rank at 141 in the year 2016.

When the Supreme Court split for the first time ever

In early 2018, four senior most judges of the highest court of the land, held a press conference to bring to light the fact that the administration of Supreme Court was not in order. One of the judges, Justice Chelameswar said that unless the Supreme Court is not preserved, democracy will not survive. Justice Chelameswar was accompanied by Justices Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph. Such press conference was unprecedented and the judges themselves called it an extra-ordinary event. They had said that the democracy is at stake, which holds true even today.

Religious intolerance

In 2017, Pew Research Centre analysed data of 198 countries and ranked India as fourth worst in the world for religious intolerance. Pew analyzed cases that involved hate crimes, mob violence, communal violence, religion-related terror, the use of force to prevent religious practice, the harassment of women for not conforming to religious dress codes, and violence over conversion or proselytizing.
Media freedom under threat
An article carried by Deutsche Welle (DW), a German broadcaster, analysed how India media had been losing its independence and is constantly under political pressure. It cited various incidents like the resignation of two prominent journalists from ABP news channel after the channel ran a story about a villager in the central state of Chhattisgarh who claimed that she was told by a government official to lie to media that she had benefitted from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rural schemes.
In another incident, ABP’s news anchor Abhisar Sharma was taken off air for over a fortnight after he reportedly defied instructions from the management that he must not criticize PM Modi’s policies.
Journalists have claimed “self-censorship” has increased in news media after BJP has come to power at the Centre since 2014. The main reason being, the growing string nexus between political parties, government officials and the media.

A starving India

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) report of 2019 revealed that India slipped to 102 ranks from its position at 95 in 2018. The GHI examined 117 countries and India’s rank was lower than its neighbouring countries, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The report, prepared jointly by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organisation Welt Hunger Hilfe termed the level of hunger in India “serious”. The GHI score is calculated on four indicators — undernourishment; child wasting, the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (that is, who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition); child stunting, children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition; and child mortality, the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

Assortment of maladies

Indians, apart from being hungry, living in an environment of religious intolerance, living in unemployment and farmer crisis, have been surrounded by various other maladies, brought on to them under the aegis of the BJP government. While many international reports have proved the degrading state of affairs in India, even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its suspicion on India’s tax revenue estimates and GDP growth target.
That is not all India even deviated from the Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDSS) prescribed by IMF as it caused delays in the release of its economic and financial data.
Even the Election Commission, one of the pillars of India’s democratic fabric, has been seemingly compromised. In PILs filed before the Supreme Court it has come to light that there were serious discrepancies between the number of voters in different constituencies, that is the voter turnout data collated and provided by the EC and the number of votes counted. Discrepancies ranged from 1 vote to 1,01,323 votes, which is equal to 10.49 per cent of the total votes. The plea further said there were six seats where the discrepancy in votes was higher than the winning margin. The case is pending before the apex court.
India’s drastic fall in the World Happiness Index since BJP has come to power is reflected in India’s current state of affairs. In 2013, India ranked at 117 which came down to 140 in 2019 and which is very likely to plummet further in 2020 considering the ongoing protests against the divisive policies of the government and the highhandedness of BJP ruled states on these protesters.
India even fared poorly in Global Democracy Index, 2019. Its position fell 10 places compared to the previous year and for the first time ever; it scored lower than 7 in a range of 0 to 10.
Clearly, it is no coincidence that India has fared poorly on all of these numerous parameters which are pertinent to overall growth and development of the country which was what was promised to Indians (“Acche din” – Good days) before they voted BJP to power. With the economy slumping, international matter making it worse, the government has still not gone into the damage control mode which it should have by now and is instead employing its resources for futile exercises like NPR and eventually the NRC and using divisive tactics to create a communal divide to erode the secular fabric of the nation. While protesters and opposition parties are persistent, only time will tell how much more downhill this party can drive our country.

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