There may not be the razmatazz that accompanied Prime Minister Narendra Modi's September 2014 event at New York's Madison Square Garden, but the Modi government will celebrate its first year in office, in a big, election-campaign style across the country. The slogan, saal ek kaam anek (one year, many tasks done) coined for the event was swiftly changed to a more realistic saal ek shuruvat anek (one year, many beginnings).
Beginning on May 25 and spread over a week, the celebrations will include 5,000 small and big jan sabhas—public meetings, 200 big rallies and as many press conferences. There will be 500 roadshows and exhibitions, and 340 vans will screen 20,000 videos of the government's achievement in 365 days. The Rambhakts may be huffing and puffing that the government has forgotten its promise about building a temple at Ayodhya, but it is from Krishna Janambhoomi Mathura that Prime Minister Modi will tell people about what he has done for them during the last one year.
The anniversary is being celebrated as Jan Kalyan Parv, meaning festival of public welfare, and the biggest talking point will be the universal social security net launched by the government recently: the insurance, accident insurance and pension schemes. People, were no longer blindly enthused by his name, but wanted something tangible. That became clear to the Prime Minister when the Modi magic failed to bag the Delhi government in February last.
The Prime Minister will launch Kisan television channel dedicated to the nation: it's 24x7 programme will be farmer-centric and agri-centric. It may not solve the agrarian crisis in the country, or assuage the hurt of farmers who were expecting a 50 per cent hike in minimum support price, but got only 3.4 per cent. The programs will not compensate farmers whose standing crops were washed away by unseasonal rains recently. But it will be a centrepiece to deflect their anger over the Land Bill, to show farmers that he is enabling them with knowledge and skills that will be enduring unlike the doles or subsidies that the UPA gave them. It is another matter that farmers are more likely to be watching a rerun of Kyonki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi on an entertainment channel!
What the aam admi and the kisan actually want appears to have been lost sight of by the party in the din of figuring out how best to make for “ease of doing business”—what the corporates want. It is ease of living. In the one year of this government, there has been no change in processes with regard to filing an FIR, getting fire clearance for a building, freedom from affidavits, getting a driving licence or motor vehicle registration, birth certificate and death certificate etc. Many poll bound states had tried to address this by passing a right to time bound delivery of services law, covering points where people interface with the government. They listed more and more services. The centre does not have such a law. Many state governments don't. That this ease of living is what people want is a point the government appears to have missed.