Modi-conomics ; how people responded to government after three years in power
New Delhi,May16:On May 26, the Narendra Modi government will complete three years in power. Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India riding high on the aspirations and expectations of people, who waited for ‘achhe din’ – the slogan which propelled the Bharatiya Janata Party to become the first political party in 30 years to win a majority on its own in the Lok Sabha.
Three years down the line, the Modi government faces serious challenges even as the BJP has been on an election winning spree. A survey conducted by citizen engagement platform LocalCirles shows that while a majority of Indians still have faith in the Modi government, there are subtle signs of desperation.
The survey results are based on over 2,00,000 votes collated from over 200 places, which included tier-I, II and III cities as well as rural areas. The average age of the participants was 32 years.
61 PER CENT SATISFIED, DISSATISFACTION GROWING
The overall result of the survey presents a happy picture for the Modi government as 61 per cent people said the government has met their expectations in the last three years.
Over 60 per cent support for the government can be seen as a good measure of success for an elected government in a country where around 30-40 per cent of votes can place a party or coalition in power.
But, the micro results of the survey may pose challenges for the Narendra Modi government. About 17 per cent people said that the government has exceeded their expectations in the three years. Last year, 18 per cent thought government was performing beyond their expectations.
Around 44 per cent citizens said that the government performed on the expected lines. This is two percentage points down from the last year’s survey, when 46 per cent people held that opinion.
Over the past one year, dissatisfaction with the government has risen by three per cent points with 39 per cent of people saying that the Modi government’s performance was below expectation. During the last year’s survey 36 per cent people expressed dissatisfaction.
However, a positive finding for the Narendra Modi government is that around 59 per cent of the citizens polled believe that the government would fulfill the promises made in the election manifesto.
GST HAS IMPROVED IMAGE
The last session of Parliament seems to have changed people’s perception about the way the ruling party has handled the Opposition.
The passage of the Goods and Servics Tax bills, during which the government was seen, in public perception, accommodating the concerns of the Opposition parties and the state governments, has been received well.
About 65 per cent of people felt that the government handled Parliament effectively and took Opposition along to deliver the key bills to bring about long-awaited economic reforms.
PRICES DOWN BUT COST OF LIVING UP
The inflation figures are favourable enough to give the government an opportunity to pat its back. But, people may not share the same sentiment.
Around 66 per cent of citizens believe that the prices of essential commodities and cost of living have gone up in the three years of the Modi government. This is in spite of the fact that inflation has come down to below three per cent.
Only 28 per cent citizens agree with the price index readings. Incidentally, 38 per cent people last year gave credit to the government for keeping the prices down.
CRIME AGAINST WOMEN, CHILDREN
Despite the fact that law and order is a state subject, people seem to relate incidents of crime with the Modi government.
About 60 per cent of participants in the survey felt that crime against women and children has not come down. This shows a sharp increase over last year’s survey, when only 38 per cent people said the same.
Only 28 per cent people, this year, said that crime against women and children have been checked.
However, in contrast to the debate over growing intolerance in the country, approximately 69 per cent people said that they didn’t feel threatened in the country. They feel their family’s future is secure in India.
But, at 69, the percentage has declined by 7 percentage points in comparison to last year’s survey, when 74 per cent people had said so.
SWACHH BHARAT MISSION
The recently released Swachh Survekshan 2017 reported that 75-80 per cent people said that the clean India drive had made their cities cleaner. But, in the LocalCircles survey, people did not agree with the government-sponsored results.
While 35 per cent gave credit to the Swachh Bharat campaign for bringing cleanliness, about 57 per cent disagreed with the suggestion. The Swachh Bharat campaign may not have reached to ground levels as it is said to have in advertisements and photo-ops of several leaders.
JOB CREATION – BIGGEST CHALLENGE
In comparison to last year’s survey, there was a rise of 20 percentage points in people unhappy with the government’s efforts at job creation.
While 43 per cent people last year said that the unemployment rate had not declined, 63 per cent this year felt that joblessness remained as it was earlier.
The perception comes on the back of a spate of layoffs in e-commerce, I-T and banking sectors. Only 21 per cent people thought that the government was doing okay on the job creation front.
However, the Modi government’s push for infrastructure has worked well in creating a positive impression. Around 65 per cent of citizens believe that infrastructure development in the fields of irrigation, roads and telecom has become faster in the last three years.
But, even here, the percentage decline over the last year’s survey by 7 per cent points. About 72 per cent people last year approved of infrastructure development push of the government.
While announcing the demonetisation exercise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the note ban move a historic economic reform. Weeding out corruption was one of the stated objectives of demonetisation.
About 39 per cent of those who participated in LocalCircles survey agreed with the suggestion that demonetisation helped reducing corruption. Nearly half of the people (49 per cent) said that corruption had not reduced since demonetisation.
However, 51 per cent of people believe that demonetisation was a decision in right direction. They believe that though demonetisation may not have reduced corruption, it helped fighting black money.
In response to a question on whether the demonetisation exercise was successful in cracking down on black money – another stated objective of note ban – 51 per cent of the respondents said yes.
The survey shows that a massive 81 per cent of people feel that India’s image and influence in the world has improved under the Narendra Modi government. This is still lower than last year, when the number stood at 90 per cent.
Despite many policy observers attacking the government for its handling of Pakistan, little less than two-thirds of all respondents believe that the Narendra Modi regime has handled the neighbouring country suitably.
About 64 per cent of people supported the Modi government’s Pakistan policy in the backdrop of last year’s surgical strikes. In the last year’s survey, before the surgical strikes were carried out in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, only 34 per cent approved of the way India handled Pakistan.
The Indian Army’s surgical strikes seem to have boosted the Modi government’s image among people.