The word that has dominated the first 100 days of the Modi administration’s second term in office is “nirnay”, or decision. The idea has been to showcase how Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been bolder and more decisive in his second innings.
“Tezi se desh-hit ke nirnay [Quick decisions in the country’s interests],” is how Union minister Prakash Javadekar summed up the first 100 days of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance administration.
The point of focus throughout Javadekar’s hourlong media conference was Kashmir. The abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution granting special status to Jammu & Kashmir, the axing of Article 35A, and the division and demotion of the state into two Union territories took center-stage.
“In the first 100 days we have made decisions of historic importance,” the Information and Broadcasting Minister said. “The preparation for these decisions began before the elections and path-breaking targets were set for the first 100 days.”
Talking about the situation in Jammu & Kashmir, he flaunted statistics of schools having been reopened and communication lines restored in phases. He characterized a few reports by foreign media outlets about the disturbing situation and police crackdown in the region as “fake news”.
The government also highlighted the ‘Triple Talaq’ bill, which criminalizes the banned Islamic practice of instant divorce, as one of its major achievements.
Javadekar said the bill could not be brought in by previous governments because of “vote bank politics”. It was a sharp dig at the Congress. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, has now made instant divorce a crime punishable with a three-year jail term.
The administration in its second term compulsorily retired 150 officers and the information minister highlighted this as another achievement. “There is no place for corruption. We have sent out the message loud and clear,” Javadekar said.
The amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act that has raised fines by more than 10 times in some cases was also advertised as an achievement though it only came in the past week. “Very soon you will have to deal with a scenario when traffic officers won’t be able to fine anyone as everyone will be following traffic rules. That’s the goal,” claimed the minister.
While the opposition Congress has hit out at the administration for the prevailing economic slowdown, Javadekar focused on the Rs 5 trillion economy that Prime Minister Modi has set as his goal in the second term.
The merger of government-owned banks was an achievement, Javadekar said. He also talked up the Housing for All program, the plan to double farm incomes, and the impaneling of more hospitals under the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme.
Hitting back at the Congress, he said: “Congress has never seen the speed with which we have worked in these 100 days.”
On the sliding Gross Domestic Product (GDP), he said, “Very soon, it will come back on track.”
With the country’s moon mission in the news, the administration also highlighted the image of Prime Minister Modi hugging a supposedly inconsolable Indian Space Research Organization chairman after the moon lander went missing.
With Modi’s birthday falling on Sept 17, the BJP has decided to observe the week leading up to it as “Seva Saptah” or service week. All 303 MPs of the party have been asked to spell out what they can do in their respective constituencies to contribute to the “Seva Saptah”.