Development Vs Communalism: We need to set our priorities

As the nation is moving forward to 2019 general elections, ‘nation wants to know’ the ‘progress’ that India has made during the most hyped Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government. With developments like demonetisation, an immature GST implementation, the brutal killings of people belonging to minority communities in the name of cow protection and the latest upswing in fuel price are a few major setbacks that this government has either failed to acknowledge or remained completely silent about.

An economic setback:

More than 100 people died following the note ban that was announced by PM Modi on 8 November 2016. It resulted in the closing down of thousands of small-scale businesses that India thrives upon. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were worst hit that make India’s backbone and run mainly on cash.

“For their working capital or purchase of raw materials, cash is imminent for them. Demonetisation wreaked havoc in this sector. For instance, many people who live in Rain Basera in Delhi belong to the lower middle class. A balloon seller told me that his earnings dropped from Rs 250 to Rs 20 on a day. He told me that he could not even feed his children properly with that money. A small business owner said that all of his staffers migrated out of the city and he had to shut his business,” renowned economist Arun Kumar told Economic Times in an interview.


India’s economy was still wobbling post note ban, and an unorganised Goods and Service Tax was implemented on July 1, 2017. A report by CFO said that India’s economic growth slipped to a three-year low of 5.7 percent in April-June, underscoring the disruptions caused by uncertainty related to the GST rollout amid a slowdown in manufacturing activities.

Fuel price

If fuel prices are taken into the picture, the Indian government is charging more for a litre of petrol and diesel, as compared to other neighbouring countries. When Pakistan is paying Rs 51.77 for one litre of petrol, India’s capital is paying Rs 77.47 on May 24. In Sri Lanka also the petrol is cheaper and is available at Rs 59.27, while diesel cost Rs 47.16 per litre in the island nation.

An era of Communalism:

“Around 97% of attacks were reported after Modi 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) when the attacks were reported,” said an analysis done by Hindustan Times until June 25, 2017.

In 23 attacks, the attackers were mobs or groups of people who belonged to Hindu groups, such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and local Gau Rakshak Samitis. Of 28 people who died in past seven years, 24 were Muslim and 124 people were injured in these attacks.

Attacks on Dalits

In 2016, an estimated 214 incidents of crimes against scheduled castes (SCs) were reported per million SC population, up from 207 the previous year, according to the NCRB data quoted by CNN-News18. 40,801 cases of atrocities against Dalits were reported in 2016 across the country, up from 38,670 in 2015.

Current major protests:

The country is witnessing two major protests, one in the northeastern state of Assam, while the other in Tamil Nadu.

Assam Citizenship Bill

The controversial Assam Citizenship Bill if passed, provides citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants of Bangladesh, besides Pakistan and Afghanistan. “There is simmering anger among local groups and organizations, which are venting it on the streets daily in the Assamese-majority Brahmaputra Valley. They feel the Narendra Modi government is trying to destroy their ethnic identity,” says a report by The New Indian Express.

Anti-Sterite protest

Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper plant that has allegedly put the health of citizens at risk is reportedly a company backed by political parties which came to limelight after people protested against Vedanta in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin. After 99 days of protest, the police opened fire on the protestors on the 100th day that killed 10 people including two women on Tuesday.

With all the major setbacks in place, will issues like ‘Ram Mandir’, ‘JNU’, ‘beef ban’, and ‘Jinnah’s portrait in AMU’ garner vote banks for political parties?

Written by Siasat Web Desk