The Narendra Modi-led BJP government will complete nine years on May 30. It has been close to a decade that the government has been working extremely hard to bring meaningful changes in the lives of people. The Modi leher (wave), which has taken the country by storm, brought the BJP to power, and there has been no looking back ever since.
So much has happened in the country in the last nine years that it is impossible to cover it in one go. But the biggest change that this government has brought is the change in sentiment. While the corporates had almost succeeded in making our young people believe that everything Indian is uncivilised, Modi’s efforts brought back the pride.
Palpable changes can be seen in the previously overlooked sections of society that gave true meaning to being an Indian.
The budgetary allocation of the ministry of tribal affairs has seen a positive growth in the past nine years—from Rs4,295 crore to Rs12,000 crore. Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs) are being developed to impart quality education to tribal students. The National Sickle Cell Elimination Mission (implemented jointly by ministry of health and family welfare and ministry of tribal affairs) will cover aspects of the genetic disease in tribals in an integrated manner. The Pradhan Mantri Janjatiya Vikas Mission seeks to provide employment opportunities to tribals in remote areas. Under the Development Action Plan for the Scheduled Tribes (DAPST), besides the ministry of tribal affairs, 41 departments are allocating funds in the range of 4.3 to 17.5 per cent of their total scheme allocation every year for tribal development projects relating to education, health, agriculture, irrigation, roads, housing, electrification, employment generation, skill development, etc. The DAPST fund allocation has increased more than five times since 2013-14. While the numbers grew, Parliament elected the first tribal president of India.
The northeast had shared a somewhat strained relationship with the rest of the country. In recent years, however, the Union government has made tremendous growth in enhancing connectivity between the northeast and other states. It is not only about the five-fold jump in budget allocation, but also about diminishing boundaries between the northeast and the mainland. The political alienation that existed before has been completely thrashed and the BJP made a mark in an area that struggled between militancy and the resultant control by armed forces. The life of an average northeast dweller has improved manifold due to humility, respect for the culture and terrain and a clear intention to bring meaningful change.
One of the most socially effective programmes run by the Modi government is the Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat programme. The Kashi-Tamil Sangamam and the Saurashtra-Tamil Sangamam programmes have brought the north Indians and south Indians closer than ever. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has made various stipulations for the promotion of regional languages.
Wherever possible, the medium of instruction will be the mother tongue until at least grade five, but preferably till grade eight and beyond. Language is a mirror to any culture and keeping the culture alive is the best way to touch hearts.
In the past nine years, there has been massive development in every sphere—be it infrastructure, economy, diplomacy, rail connectivity, road connectivity, medical facilities, among others. The biggest win that can be credited to this government is the inculcation of a feeling of inclusion, the feeling of oneness, the feeling of connect, and the feeling of being cared for in each and every citizen.
Lekhi is Union minister of state for external affairs and culture.