Analysis

BJP Manifesto aka Sankalp Patra 2024

The ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) has released its national election manifesto on the Sunday, 14 April 2024 and named it as "Sankalp Patra". Earlier, the oldest political party and chief opposition the Indian National Congress had released their manifesto on 04 April 2024 calling it the "Nyay Patra". While the Congress Nyay Patra is full of bitter criticism and scathing attacks on the BJP and the Prime Minister with allegations of hate, fear and mismanagement as also violation of the Constitution along with the promises of reversal of the damage caused, double the economic progress and removal of poverty with free disbursement of Rs one lakh to each poor family under ‘Mahalaxmi’ scheme, the BJP Sankalp Patra recounts a number of measures already taken for the Vikas (development) and Virasat (heritage) of the nation during the last ten years plus the schemes and programs as envisaged along with the targets and timeframe (quantified in many cases) for the inclusive growth and development of the country during the next five years and beyond. It is interesting to note that contrary to the Congress, the BJP manifesto does not make any reference to its chief rival (Congress).

It may not be an exaggeration to state that the Sankalp Patra is heavily dependent on the global reputation, personal competence to deliver and ability of the out of box thinking followed by credible action by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his key address releasing the manifesto, the underlying message of PM Modi is to constantly work for transforming Bharat (India) into an Aatmanirbhar (self-reliant) and Viksit (developed) nation by the year 2047. In that journey, the Sankalp Patra says that the country has already passed through a situation of the “Fragile Five” to a more confident nation as one of the top five economies of the world. During the last ten years, the nation’s growth has been fueled by the government’s focus on Vikas and Virasat with enough confidence to reach among the top three economies of the world during the next five years, resolve to have a final and decisive assault against the poverty, open up newer avenues of growth in different sectors, further intensify action against the corruption, undertake the next generation of reforms, besides a number of other pro-people decisions and

Releasing the Sankalp Patra

The BJP released its election manifesto on Sunday 14 April 2024. The manifesto carries the title of "Sankalp Patra" and was launched at the BJP headquarters in Delhi in the presence of senior key leaders such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Party President Jagat Prakash Nadda, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and some other senior party members. Unveiling the manifesto, Prime Minister Modi made a determined bid for a historic third term in succession for his government to win the upcoming Lok Sabha elections commencing on 19 April with the seventh and last phase election concluding on 01 June, the election results due on 04 June 2024. The party leaders have set a very ambitious and challenging target aiming for 370 seats for the BJP and a total of 400 or more seats (A Difficult Target) for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the eighteenth Lok Sabha. An important noticeable point is that the terms Bharat and Bhartiya have been used in most cases for more common words India and Indians, respectively.

Unlike the manifesto of its chief rival Congress which embarked merely on criticism, often with irrational bitterness, of the BJP/NDA on various counts with hollow promises to reverse (alleged) damages done by the latter during the last ten years and remove poverty from the country through the Mahalaxmi scheme, the Sankalp Patra is much more than just a collection of promises or assurances for freebies to the electorate. Through the Sankalp Patra, the BJP has outlined the collective aspirations and goals for the nation of an inclusive growth backed by the guarantees of Prime Minister Modi who is now widely known for the deliverance of the commitments made. It is not clear if they purportedly chose the date, but its release date coincides with the birth anniversary of late BR Ambedkar, widely known as the principal architect of the Indian Constitution and an iconic leader of the Dalit community. Among many other such favorable pre-poll opinion and reports, the Emkay Global, a research and investment powerhouse, forecast suggests that the BJP is expected to sweep the upcoming polls to continue its reform agenda and financial macro stability.

In his key address at the BJP headquarters, Prime Minister Modi highlighted his government's major schemes and programs in the last ten years that actually transformed lives of the Indian masses, to a considerable extent, with a resolve to continue sustained reforms with focus both on the modern development and traditional heritage of the nation. Some of the schemes suggested as the game changer include the Jan Dhan Yojna, Make in India, Skill India Mission, Mission for Digital India, Start-up India, Stand Up India, PM Mudra Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana, and many others. Some of the important legislations include the Abrogation of Article 370 to fully integrate Jammu & Kashmir, an Act banning the Triple Talaq, Citizens Amendment Act to help the persecuted refugees from the neighboring Islamic countries, Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, and so on. Similarly, key promises finding special mention include extension of the Ayushman Yojana coverage to every individual aged 70 or above, raising the Mudra scheme's loan limit to 20 lakh rupees, expansion of 5G and development of 6G technology, achieving self-reliance in energy, active involvement of women in all sectors, Anusandhan (research) Fund with an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore to promote scientific research, clean environment with more emphasis on Himalayan ecology, more push and investment in infrastructure, IT and tourism, and so on.

The Sankalp Patra

The BJP Sankalp Patra is comprised of a total of 69 pages, preceding with the letter/notes of key national leaders including prime minister, the Sankalp Patra Note, a statement on 10 Years of Good Governance and Vikas (development), and as many as twenty-four guarantees in the name of Prime Minister Modi tin respect of the people of India/electorate under the headings the Garib Parivar (Poor Families), Middle-Class Parivar Jan, Nari Shakti (women power), Young Citizens, Senior Citizens, Kisan Samman (farmers esteem), Fishermen Families, Shramik Samman (laborers esteem), MSME, Small Traders and Vishwakarmas, Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas, Vishwa Bandhu Bharat, Surakshit Bharat (Secured India), Prosperous Bharat, Global Manufacturing Hub, World-Class Infrastructure, Ease of Living in Cities, Virasat Bhi - Vikas Bhi (heritage and development together), Good Governance, Swastha (healthy) Bharat, Quality Education, Sports Development, Balanced Regional Development, Technology and Innovations, and Guarantee for Sustainable Bharat.

In the following paragraphs, the author has briefly summarized salient points of the stated development in various sectors and segments as documented in the Sankalp Patra as also discussed/listed the core guarantees (promises) along with own remarks, where considered necessary. Over these years, Prime Minister Modi has emerged as sole strong leader with a national and international repute who is known for meeting targets and timeframes in delivering results against promises / commitments made. Accordingly, Modi ki guarantees are actually various schemes and programs, ongoing and new, which the BJP envisages to further expand or implement during the next five years and beyond, if voted in power, for now under the leadership of Narendra Modi for a consecutive third term. The author proposes to highlight and briefly discuss the major commitments/promises made by the BJP under each of the identified core area in the following paragraphs.

Experiencing 10 Years of Governance

Immediately after coming in power following 2014 General Elections, PM Modi led NDA government started the Jan Dhan Yojana under which more than fifty crore citizens joined the banking system opening their accounts in different banks. The citizens are now receiving various subsidies and financial benefits directly through these accounts ruling out pilferages through middlemen as was going on for the decades. So far, about 34 lakh crore have been reportedly transferred in these accounts. Besides, more than eighty crore citizens are beneficiary of free rations since 2020 (Corona Pandemic) through PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. Some other important public welfare measures include over 34 crore people covered under free health insurance up to Rs five lakh under Ayushman Bharat, allotment of pucca houses to more than four crore families under the PM Awas Yojana, access to clean piped/tap water to over fourteen crore families under the Jal Jeevan Mission and about twenty-five crore citizens came out of poverty through sustained efforts during the same period.

The BJP led NDA government focused specially on women empowerment (Nari Shaki) transforming the lives of over ten crore women owing to free gas connection through the PM Ujjwala Yojana and another eleven crore plus households were provided with toilets built under the Swachh Bharat Mission. Some other significant measures include large scale vaccinations of women and children, increased maternity leave from twelve to twenty-six weeks, free maternity services under the PM Matru Vandana Yojana and the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam to provide reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies. Indian youth too received special attention with over 46 crore loans worth more than 27 lakh crore for self-employment under the PM mudra Yojana, opening of 7 new IITs, 16 IIITs, 7 IIMs, 15 AIIMS, 315 Medical Colleges and 390 Universities during the same period. Some of the schemes such as the PM Kaushal Yojana, Start-up India and steps taken to encourage and support sports have opened umpteen opportunities to the youth.

Government has done a lot for the farmers and agriculture as a crucial sector during the last 10 years. Consequently, over 11 crore farmers are now receiving (a subsidy) Rs 6,000 per annum directly in their Jan Dhan Accounts under the PM Kisan Yojana, MSP (minimum support price) of the main rabi and kharif crops, including sugarcane (total 23), is constantly and upwardly revised, agriculture budget increased by five times during the NDA regime, substantial subsidy (about 11 lakh crore) as well as availability of fertilizers to farmers have been ensured, among other umpteen measures taken to improve lives of farmers. Under the government mission of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas, the government gave constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), nearly 60% of Ministers in the Central Government are now from OBC, SC and ST communities, over 63 lakh street vendors received easy credit for self-employment and smooth business, and PM Janman Yojana implemented for more vulnerable Tribal groups with an outlay of over Rs 24,000 crore. Some other initiatives are the Eklavya Model Residential Schools since 2014 with reservations for economically weaker sections, PM Vishwakarma Yojana for the welfare and handholding of Vishwakarmas, easy credit facilities to SC, ST communities and women under Stand-Up India program, and also many other wide ranging welfare schemes.

The BJP Sankalp Patra vouches to have incessantly worked for a Surakshit Bharat (safe India) since 2014. The author fully endorses the BJP claim and state with conviction that this government indeed worked on priority and commitment to ensure external and internal security of India by strengthening the armed forces and para-military forces, arranging adequate financial resources and taking right decisions to equip them with commensurate arms and equipment. Consequently, there has not been any major terror attack on civilian population, significant reduction (71% claimed) in insurgency, reduction in Left-Wing Extremism, and considerable normalization of Kashmir after abrogation of the Article 370 of Constitution, and enactment of the Bhartiya Nyay Sanhita. During the same period, special focus has also remained on the cultural heritage of Bharat. Some works include the construction of Sri Ram Janmbhumi Temple, renovation of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Shri Ujjain Mahakal Temple and Shri Kedarnath Temple among others for the revitalisation of ancient traditions. Some other significant steps include institution of the Janjatiya Gaurav Divas on Bhagwan Birsa Munda, setting up 10 Tribal Freedom Fighter Museums, installation of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s statue in the canopy of the India Gate, and construction of a new National War Memorial in the national capital.

The Sankalp Patra claims to have navigated the country from the fragile five to one of the top five economies during the last ten years. The goal of a robust economy and infrastructure has been on the top agenda of the Modi government. Some of the key measures and achievements include implementation of GST, Make in India, production linked incentives to promote manufacturing, fastest 5G roll out, and many others. Some of the infrastructure milestones and achievements include daily construction of 28 Km of national highways, 14.5 Km railway lines every day, redeveloping and furbishing over 1,300 railway stations, metro rail facility in about 20 cities, doubled the number of airports, doubled the capacity of ports, introduction of Vande Bharat Express, Amrit Bharat, Namo Bharat and other new-age trains, achieved near cent per cent electrification of households, unprecedented improvement in the connectivity and infrastructure of the northeastern state including roads, bridges, railways and airports.

During the same period, the country has received a large-scale global attention and recognition owing to the government’s constructive approach and proactive yet balanced diplomacy, so much so that Bharat has now become the voice of the Global South. The country has unique distinction of the flawless and successful evacuation and safe return of over 1.5 crore Indian citizens in distress situations. The country also has unique distinction of successful hosting of the last G-20 Summit, scoring absolute consensus on common issues through the New Delhi Declaration. Some other significant developments and achievements include the Digital India Stack including UPI becoming global, Indian rupee accepted for international trading by 27 partner countries, leading role in the development of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, active assistance through vaccines and medicines to over 100 countries during Covid-19 pandemic, becoming first country to successfully land near the South Pole of the moon through Chandrayaan-3 mission, 21 June declared as Yoga Day by the United Nations, forged friendly military alliance in the Indo-Pacific region to counter growing threat from the Peoples Republic of China, etc.

Guarantees of Modi

Every political party is expected to reveal its commitments/promises to the electorate before elections, which represents their policies, programs and schemes proposed for the welfare and progress of the people and state/nation at large, if voted in power. Parties give specific nomenclature too to their manifestoes to attract the electorate’s attention. For instance, the Indian National Congress called it “Nyay Patra” while the BJP, as in 2019 too, has named it “Sankalp Patra”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has earned the reputation of a trusted leader who actually delivers his commitments and promises. Perhaps this is the reason why various commitments/promises made by the BJP in their Sankalp Patra has a prefix “Modi Ki Guarantee” this time. Another remarkable point is that the BJP Sankalp Patra constantly refers to the nation as “Bharat” rather than the more common name India since the British Raj, which is in consonance with their vision and commitment for the Virasat (heritage). The Sankalp Patra has a total of twenty-four such generic guarantees this time, and the author would briefly touch upon these pre-election commitments and promises with own remarks, where necessary.

1. Garib Parivar (Poor Family) Jan

The Sankalp Patra reiterates to support every poor family to enable them to come out of poverty in an endeavor to living a dignified life. In that endeavor, the BJP has committed to continue the existing free rations for the next 5 years, establish a price stabilization fund for the vegetable and pulses, endeavor to become self-reliance in pulses, edible oils and vegetables, and provide free & quality health care (up to 5 lakhs in each case). The PM Awas Yojana will be expanded to cover all poor families and evolve policies for a sustained development of the slum dwellers. The scheme of “Har Ghar Nal Se Jal” (piped water supply to each house) shall continue till all households in villages, towns and cities have it. Similarly, the Ujjwala Yojana will be further expanded to provide clean cooking fuel to all poor families, some 10 crore beneficiaries have already been provided LPG connections so far. The government will implement the PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana to ensure the poor families/households get free electricity.

2. Middle-Class Parivar

The BJP recognizes through the Sankalp Patra that the middle-class families are the backbone of the Indian economy and their hard work is contributing a lot to Bharat’s economic growth. Accordingly, Modi ki Guarantees also have a lot for the middle class this time. For instance, the government focus will be to provide support for affordable quality housing and healthcare, access to quality education and sufficient employment opportunities for the Neo-Middle Class. The party is also committed to strengthen the RERA Act to make the real estate sector more transparent and user friendly for the home ownership seekers. Consistent efforts will be made to transform Bharat into a global centre for the civic services & amenities, including quality health care and higher education, to generate diverse employment opportunities to qualified middle class. Some other focus areas for the ease of the middle-class living are the development of sustainable green cities and infrastructure such as the modern road network, rail and metro comfort and connectivity, EV charging stations, new airports and advanced telecom infrastructure including affordable 5G and innovative 6G technology.

3. Nari Shakti (Women Empowerment)

The BJP says that they visualize a Bharat where women are equal partner and stakeholder in society’s progress and their government would be committed to provide an enabling legal and policy framework for women’s dignity and equal growth opportunities. One of the crucial commitments is to empower rural women to “three crore Lakhpati Didis” during the next tenure. Some of the proposed commitments are integrating women self-help groups with the skills and tools in IT, healthcare, education, retail and tourism, etc., with an aim to increase their income and enhancing market access for them; facilitate participation of women in the workforce by creating infrastructure like more hostels, creches, etc.; encourage and facilitate participation in sports; more public toilets for women; augmenting facilities for the prevention and cure of Anaemia, Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer and Osteoporosis, etc., for women; ensure time bound implementation of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, and many more empowering schemes for them.

4. Young Citizens

Young citizens have important role towards building a developed Bharat. Hence the Sankalp Patra has incorporated many schemes, including to earn while they learn, and to develop and fully utilize their potential in the national development. Accordingly, the party has promised best academic and professional education, world-class sports facilities, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities to all young citizens through the NEP and other programs. Then, various public examinations will be conducted with transparency with effective check on the paper leaks. Some of the schemes for skilling and empowerment of youth include Mera Yuva Bharat, further strengthening as well as ensuring commensurate mentorship and funding of the Startup Ecosystem through the initiatives like Atal Tinkering Labs, Hackathon, Startup India and Start Up India Seed Fund Scheme. The Sankalp Patra also promises more employment opportunities to youth and to encourage government departments including defence and railways to make procurement from Startups. The large-scale investment in infrastructure projects, tourism and creation of Global Centres for high-value services too is likely to generate more employment opportunities to the young citizens

5. Senior Citizens

Senior citizens are an important part of the Indian society with a socio-cultural heritage of the joint family system, which is undergoing many changes owing to a variety of factors; hence the BJP considers a dire need for evolving a robust eldercare ecosystem in the modern times. To take care of the elderly people, the Sankalp Patra has several welfare schemes such as the existing Ayushman Bharat Yojana to also cover Senior Citizens for providing them access to free and quality healthcare, regular Ayush camps to provide holistic healthcare solutions and delivering essential government services at their doorstep. Some other important initiatives inter alia include a National Senior Citizens portal for the knowledge sharing, digital empowerment by providing essential knowhow and training for UPI and other online applications, Senior Citizen-Friendly Infrastructure at public places and facilities for comfortable and convenient Teerth Yatra (pilgrimage).

6. Kisan Samman

Agriculture and welfare of farmers have been a priority agenda during the last ten years of the NDA rule. According to the BJP manifesto, the government has empowered kisans (farmers) through a variety of measures including soil health card, micro-irrigation, crop insurance, seed supply, substantial increase in MSP and direct financial assistance under PM Kisan Samman Yojana. The existing annual financial assistance of Rs 6,000 will continue, Fasal Bima Yojana will be further strengthened through technological interventions and MSP on major crops will be increased hitherto fore. Government is committed to support farmers to make country Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) in the production of pulses, edible oils and new clusters of vegetable production and storage. Efforts will be made to make Bharat a Global Millet Hub and promote Natural Farming. Besides, the government is also committed to incentivize crop diversification through appropriate price support to make agriculture more sustainable and remunerative

7. Fishermen Families

The country has large number of Fishermen communities particularly in the coastal areas and the BJP government will be committed to enhance the prosperity and welfare of fishermen through the initiatives like the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, modernizing infrastructure, and providing financial support and skill development, nick-named the nation’s Blue Revolution. The PM Matsya Sampada Yojana is an empowering scheme to increase fish production as also country's annual seafood exports, expand insurance coverage available under the aforesaid scheme and ensure the development of production and processing clusters with special attention to women of the coastal communities.

8. Shramik Samman

The BJP holds that the laborers/workers have significant contribution in the progress of Bharat; hence, the Sankalp Patra has many promises for providing opportunities and ease of working for all categories of workers, including the gig workers, truck drivers, porters, domestic workers, and street vendors. Sustained efforts shall be made for the periodic review of the National Floor Wages, social security insurance schemes like PM Jeevan Bima and Suraksha Bima for unorganized workers, use of the post office and Digital India network to provide comprehensive social security cover for accident and life insurance of workers. The government will ensure registration on the e-Shram platform to enable workers, especially the migrant workers, to avail benefits of various government programs, special train services for the migrant workers, expand PM Svanidhi for the street vendors and travelling salesmen and establish facilities for truck, taxi and auto drivers along the national highways besides incorporating them in various social security schemes.

9. MSME, Small Traders and Vishwakarmas

The BJP and Modi government recognizes the role of small traders and Vishwakarma families as a backbone of the Bharat economy for centuries. Therefore, the Sankalp Patra commits to foster a vibrant, resilient, and innovative environment for MSMEs, Small Traders and Vishwakarma families recognizing this as the cornerstone of a sustainable economic growth, empowering communities, and driving inclusive development across the nation. To achieve this, the manifesto commits to provide easy working capital for the growth of small traders and MSMEs. The specially designed program PM Vishwakarma Yojana will be further augmented for providing financial assistance, credit facilities, training and skill development, and market access to the Vishwakarma families. The relevant compliances and laws will be further simplified, protection against Cyber threats shall be provided to small traders and MSMEs, and affordable insurance products launched for their welfare. Some other important initiatives on cards are simplification of the GST portal for the ease of users (especially traders & MSMEs), transforming traditional handicraft, expanding Dak Ghar Niryat Kendras, transforming Khadi as a global brand, and making Bharat a toy export hub.

10. Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas

The BJP/NDA government has carried on the tagline “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” since 2014 actually focusing on the welfare of the most vulnerable families right from the beginning, with Vanchito ko Variyata (priority to have nots) and Antyodaya as core philosophies. In that endeavor, a lot has already been done during the last ten years and the Sankalp Patra has underlined continued focus on the recognition of the contribution of tribal communities, tribal healthcare, preservation and promotion of rich tribal heritage and culture, protection of tribal languages, PM Suraj for credit facilities, unlocking the potential of minor forest produce, establishment of Eklavya Model Residential Schools, improving socio-economic status of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG), adequate representation, livelihood, scholarships and skilling opportunities for the OBC, SC and ST Communities in Governance, and empowerment of the nomadic communities. Apart from continuing the existing schemes, the party has committed through the Sankalp Patra to initiate and encourage new vistas and innovative technology driven startups for these communities ensuring that such ventures are commercially viable and sustainable too.

11. Vishwa Bandhu Bharat

The BJP claims that their government has succeeded in establishing Bharat as a reliable, trusted and dependable voice globally during the last ten years through its independence of thought and action for the benefit of humanity. Consequently, Bharat has emerged as consensus builder and first responder voice of the Global South and the Bhartiya (Indian) diaspora feels more empowered and connected worldwide now with nation gradually emerging with an image of Vishwa Bandhu. Continuing with the same philosophy and spirit, the Party is committed to further consolidate its position as a voice of the Global South, a trusted global partner and a first responder in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief programs. The Party is also committed to a goal of seeking permanent membership in the UN Security Council. Besides, other priority vision. Mission and actions include continuing efforts to evolve a consensus over the acts of international terrorism and the war against terrorism, follow policy of the neighborhood first for the regional cooperation and stability, pursue the strengthening Maritime Vision (SAGAR) in the Indo-Pacific region for mutual security and growth, evolve strategic partnerships for mineral security and establish India-Middle East-Europe Corridor (IMEC) to promote Bharat’s trade interests. Other focus areas include expanding of Bharat’s diplomatic network and assisting Bhartiya diaspora for growth and development, popularizing the Yoga and Ayurveda to the world, bringing back Bhartiya artefacts, among others acts.

12. Surakshit Bharat

The BJP accords high priority in their vision, mission and action for a Surakshit Bharat (safe India) and the Party took a firm stand on all occasions during the last ten years to protect country and citizens from the internal and external threats. The ultra-left sponsored Naxalism and Pakistan sponsored terrorism have remained a major internal security threat for the decades and the BJP/NDA government pursued a zero-tolerance policy on terrorism to keep the country and citizens safe. The Party has expressed its continued commitment to defend Bharat and its citizens from all kinds of terrorism in the years to come. The government has done everything to strengthen and equip Indian Armed Forces and Para Military Forces to counter and effectively deal with internal and external threats. Government has made tremendous efforts to strengthen infrastructure along the border areas in these years and the BJP is committed to further accelerate development of a robust infrastructure along the Indo-China, Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Myanmar borders. The Party, if voted in power, will implement Bhartiya Nyay Sanhita expeditiously, eliminate left wing extremism, ensure effective implementation of the Citizen Amendment Act, enhance capabilities of the Armed Forces and Police Forces, protect national interests in the Indian Ocean, augment the forensic infrastructure, and safeguard Bharat’s digital sovereignty and cyber security. This author is aware of the nationalistic character of the BJP and its leaders and has no doubt in their endeavor of preparing the country to effectively deal with the challenges caused by the internal and external security threats.

13. Prosperous Bharat

While releasing the Sankalp Patra, the key BJP leaders had specifically claimed that they successfully brought the country from a position of fragile 5 to top 5 economies despite the global turmoil and Covid-19 pandemic. Party appeared to be confident from their government’s performance about the ?nancial system, maintained ?scal prudence, and current level of foreign exchange reserves. The Party has committed to launch the country on the path of a developed nation by 2047 and become third largest economy soon, if voted in power. To achieve this goal, the Sankalp Patra commits to maintain a sustainable financial macro stability with low inflation, high growth and fiscal prudence in the ensuing years. Some significant commitments include expansion of the employment opportunities in sectors like the manufacturing, services, rural industry, infrastructure, tourism, and skill development, developing Bharat as a trusted global value chain partner by transforming country into a global manufacturing hub particularly in electronics, defence, pharmaceuticals, textile, mobile, automobiles and other core industries, promotion of exports, developing a robust world class infrastructure in rail, road, air and waterways, revamping of the commercial and tax legislations, expansion of the nuclear energy and green energy from all possible non-conventional sources, and honoring the honest taxpayers.

14. Global Manufacturing Hub

During the last two terms from 2014-2024, the Modi government has taken several initiatives for indigenous manufacturing and launched ambitious schemes like the “Make in India” and many others. Initially, the opposition ridiculed it but it actually appears to have worked well even in the sectors like defence and communications. So in many areas, the country is not only moving towards self-reliance but also achieving a large scale exports to other countries. The existing Modi regime believes that its potential for the research and design could be best utilized in expanding the manufacturing sector. Accordingly, the BJP now aims to develop Bharat as a manufacturing hub in the ensuing years. The Sankalp Patra commits to make Bharat a global manufacturing hub particularly in areas like electronics, defence, mobile, automobiles, textile, and many more. Some of the crucial promises include to make the country a product nation through the product designing and manufacturing, develop a robust industrial infrastructure through industrial cities and industrial corridors, and by giving momentum to initiatives like one district one product on the principles of the PM Gatishakti, build a globally competitive food processing industry equipped with the cutting-edge technologies with an aim to position Bharat as a major player in value chains of processed fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood and dairy, among others.

The BJP is also committed to focus on core industries such as steel, cement, metals, and engineering goods with an endeavor to adopt greener manufacturing processes too. The Defense and Railways manufacturing are special focus areas with an aim to make country self-reliance saving a huge chunk of money now spent on defense imports in air, sea and land equipment platforms. Some other important areas for the promotion of manufacturing include a commercial aircraft manufacturing ecosystem with a robust design policy, manufacture, maintenance, repair and overhaul activities; promotion of ship building, pharmaceutical services and products to establish Bharat’s position as the “Pharmacy of the World”, making Bharat a global electronics hub by 2030 (already it is 2nd largest mobile producer), making the country a major player in semiconductor and chip manufacturing, and become a global leader in automobile and EV (electric vehicle) industry, so also in textile manufacturing, lab grown diamonds and high-performance bio-manufacturing.

15. World Class Infrastructure

The BJP/NDA government has already been a success story in transforming the infrastructure during the last ten years in terms of the quality, quantity and reach. The BJP has committed to continue these efforts in coming years so that all citizens live and enjoy a quality life and livelihood. The BJP government, if voted in power, is committed to add about 5,000 km of new tracks every year for the next few years in already constructed 31,000 km tracks. The other promised innovations and improvement in Railways include to augment passenger carrying capacity, expansion of Kavach (train protection) program, more new age trains like Vande Bharat, Amrit Bharat and Namo Bharat, Vande Sleeper Trains, High Frequency Trains for the regional connectivity, expansion of the Metro Network, more Bullet trains after the construction of the first such corridor (Ahmedabad – Mumbai) and launch a Super App providing all train related services. It is not only Railways, but Roads network is also getting by and large same priority. The PM Gram Sadak Yojana is used to improve the connectivity of even remotest areas, apart from the ongoing work on expanding expressways and ring roads in the country, many of them under the Public-Private-Participation (PPP) model. The promotion of EVs, increasing the number of EV charging stations, techno-legal interventions to improve the road safety are some other initiatives to continue.

Aviation sector have achieved a major push in the last ten years with the number of airports almost doubled along with the modern facilities. The Sankalp Patra commits the formulation of a Master Plan for the airport transformation along with the new airports, helipads and aerodromes, modernization of the existing airports, expansion of the international airports. The Amrit Kaal Civil Aviation Master Plan is promised to transform airports into regional international hubs with single point connectivity to the designated regions worldwide. Under the water navigation, the capacity of the inland waterways shall be increased, water metro services will be provided in all feasible regions, building a homegrown shipping industry is on cards inter alia including revamping of the connected legal framework for a faster growth. In the communication sector, 5G networks shall be expanded and sincere efforts made to develop 6G technology. The Bharat Net shall be expanded to connect every village with broadband for the high-speed internet services. Implementation of the next generation ‘Land Reform Digitization’ and the integration of various institutions such as the Revenue Courts and Registration Offices is also planned. The BJP has revealed through Sankalp Patra their goal of energy independence by 2047 with the minimum petroleum use substituting it through a mix of electric mobility, renewable energy production and improving energy efficiency. Some other ambitious programs are PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana, increasing ethanol blending, expansion of nuclear energy, acceleration of Bharat’s Renewable Energy Transition, Battery Energy Storage System Infrastructure, and increasing Green Hydrogen Production Capacity.

16. Ease of Living in Cities

The long-term vision of the BJP is to provide a world-class infrastructure in all cities and promote sustainable living. The Party Sankalp Patra commits to strengthen RERA Act for the transparency and ease of homeowners besides taking measures for the cost reduction in construction and registration, and regulatory reforms for an affordable housing. New satellite townships will be created near metro cities, piped natural gas connections will be promoted, create unified metropolitan transport systems integrating multi-modal transport facilities, and ensure water security in cities utilizing best practices of wastewater treatment, aquifer recharge and smart metering. To have sustainable cities, best efforts shall be made to develop enough green spaces like parks, playgrounds etc., reviving water bodies and developing natural spaces. Besides, the long-term infrastructure projects with center-state-city partnership shall also be undertaken with a view to promoting cooperative urban governance.

17. Virasat Bhi, Vikas Bhi

The much-spoken vision of the BJP on the “Virasat Bhi, Vikas Bhi” (heritage and development together) is likely to shape the future of Bharat in such a way that the country’s traditions inspire and unite people across the world along with the modern development. The Party is committed to take initiative for developing religious & cultural sites and new projects are envisaged inspired by the recent Kashi Vishwanath corridor. Some of such projects include the holistic development of Ayodhya (city of Sri Ram Janmbhumi Temple), preservation and study of ancient Bhartiya manuscripts, establishment of Bhartiya Sanskriti Kosh, construction of the Yuge Yugeen Bharat National Museum featuring millennia of Bharatiya history, evolve legal standards for the Cultural IP Protection, translation of Bhartiya Literary Works into foreign languages, organize a triennial international conclave on Bhartiya Knowledge Traditions, restore and preserve culturally important archaeological sites, augmentation of the already launched Swadesh Darshan Programme for a comprehensive development of tourist destinations that includes the riverine and Island tourism (Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar), among other things.

18. Good Governance

According to the BJP vision and mission, the good governance is reform, perform and transform and in its compliance their government used a mix of policies, technology, simplification and relevant processes in the last ten years. Good governance also includes to further simplification of the processes, procedures, rules and regulations in such a way that there is minimum or no government intervention in day-to-day lives of normal citizens. To achieve this, apart from continuing steps and reforms already undertaken, the Sankalp Patra commits to combat the corruption without fear or favor, introduction of the uniform civil code as enshrined in the Constitution, formulation of a National Litigation Policy, reforms in the commercial and civil justice system, steps for improvement in public delivery systems, strengthening of the statistical institutions, making One Nation – One Election a reality, evolution of a common electoral roll, the Karmayogi scheme for capacity building of the central government employees, and modernization of police forces into a tech-savvy, tech-trained and tech-equipped force.

19. Swastha Bharat

The BJP government has already taken many successful initiatives in last ten years to improve the health services in the country through constant focus on the yoga, fitness, clean air, pure water and nutritious food. Some of the achievements have been mentioned in the earlier section of “Experiencing 10 Years of Governance & Vikas.” The Party has committed to further strengthening already created 15 AIIMS with affordable and quality healthcare services, increase seats in medical education, strengthen PM ABHIM (Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission) by upgrading primary and secondary healthcare services, upgrade district hospitals and the Ayushman Arogya Mandirs, increase the coverage and numbers of Jan Aushadhi Kendras network with affordable medicines, launch an Emergency and Trauma Care Mission, strengthen the ongoing programs for the eradication of diseases like the TB, Leprosy, Lymphatic Filariasis, Measles and Rubella, Trachoma, and Kala Azar, accelerate vaccines production and distribution in the country, augment the Health Human Resources by increasing trained paramedics, technicians, pharmacists and nurses, as also enhance the scope and coverage of the mental healthcare services.

20. Quality Education

The New education Policy (NEP) was released in 2020 and the BJP envisions to redefine the education ecosystem driven by the modern, universalized and quality education. The Party intends to focus on all dimensions of quality education including teachers' training, infrastructure, use of technology, internships, and time-to-time upgradation of knowledge and skills to the extent feasible in own mother tongue. As already mentioned earlier, a large number of IITs, IIITs, IIMs, AIIMs, Medical Colleges and Universities have been added in last ten years, which will be further strengthened and upgraded through funding, capacity building, infrastructure upgradation and dedicated research grants. Some of the innovations planned are the use of technology for quality education, dynamic curriculum for the Future-Ready Youth, implementation of the one nation – one student ID, and the expansion of skill training for youth.

21. Sports Development

The BJP has claimed that ever since their government came in power, a lot has been done for the development of sports, and support, encouragement and training of the sportsmen in the country. The position indeed appears to be true. According to the Sankalp Patra, the BJP Government shall be committed to bid for hosting Olympic Games in Bharat in 2036 and develop necessary indigenous infrastructure in the country such as commensurate stadiums and state-of-the-art training centers. Sports will be further promoted through the Khelo India Scheme; sports goods manufacturing will be incentivized, universal access to the sports infrastructure will be ensured to promote sports and sportsmen, nurturing of athletes shall be done, and new sports startups promoted to create a technology ecosystem in sports.

22. Balanced Regional Development

According to the BJP’s vision, the regional development should be such that every part of India progresses equally, fostering growth and innovation. In compliance, the government has focused on the sustained growth of largely ignored small states of the northeast during the last 10 years. The Party is committed to the sustained efforts for peace in disturbed areas, removal of AFSPA in phased manner, preparing the northeast as a Strategic Gateway for Bharat's Act East Policy by attending to the connectivity, education, health, economic development and security. Besides, efforts will be made to build sarovars to manage floods and formulate Purvodaya Master Plan for the integrated infrastructure development in the eastern India. The Party also commits to transform islands like Laksha Dweep and Andaman & Nicobar into premier global tourism destination, sustainable development of the Hill States, a resilient infrastructure for the entire coast, and management of the Himalayan rivers to combat floods and disasters in the region.

23. Technology and Innovations

The BJP government indeed had due focus on the technology and innovations to champion the cutting-edge research during the past 10 years. The Party has a vision for positioning Bharat as a leading space power, missions to Moon, Mars and even Sun are cases in point. The Party is committed to establish a Bharatiya Antariksha Station (BAS), increase the value of the space economy by assisting the Global South countries in utilizing space and space technology services, and operationalize the Anusandhan National Research Foundation with a corpus (Anusandhan Fund) of Rs one lakh facilitating loans to promote scientific research. The Sankalp Patra also mentions about catalyzing Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the global leadership under India AI Mission, Graphene-based technology, the National Quantum Mission to position Bharat as a global leader in the quantum technology and create a national geospatial data registry and geospatial data exchange to facilitate various industries and startups for the innovative products and services. The Party also plans to establish Science Parks, and National Atmospheric Mission for enabling the country “weather ready” and “climate smart” on the world map.

24. Sustainable Bharat

Citing the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP says they are committed to lead the world in sustainable living and a healthier planet with the focused execution of all dimensions of the environment management. To achieve these objectives, the Party is committed to develop and use non-fossil fuel sources with a zero-emission goal by 2070. Also learning from the Namami Gange experiences, the Party would undertake phase wise improvement of the health and cleanliness of all major rivers. The government has already initiated the National Clean Air Programme aimed at reducing the air pollution across the identified 131 cities. The Sankalp Patra also promises to promote afforestation and agroforestry, launch the Green Aravalli Project – a green corridor, protection of the Himalayan ecology for the disaster mitigation and resilience, develop the coastal climate resilience, expand the Green Credit Program through expansion of activities, work for managing human-animal conflict in areas close to forests, initiate a National E-Waste Management Program, protect the environment through various schemes, and promote recycling programs across the country with a view to maximizing mineral recovery.

Author’s Note

The BJP and Congress are two national parties with their presence and support of people in almost all parts of the country, particularly the latter has a long history of governance after the independence of country in 1947 while the former has emerged as popular choice of the Indian masses during the last two decades. As both parties have now released their election manifestos, it came to author’s mind if a fair comparison is possible between the two manifestos. The Congress calls it ‘Nyay Patra’ full of promises that include criticism and reversal of popular BJP/NDA decisions, programs and schemes, increase in reservation to certain categories, freebies to people and appeasement to minorities, actually Muslims. In fact, the real minorities in the country are Buddhists, Jains and Parsis, which have seldom been cared by the party. On the other hand, the BJP calls it ‘Sankalp Patra’ which recounts what all has been done/delivered by their government in the last 10 years and what is their vision and plan for the inclusive growth and development of the country in the ensuing years. Contrary to the Congress’s preoccupations (with BJP), this party does not find even a single reference in the BJP manifesto (by name).

In fact, two promises of the Congress seem progressive on face but may prove actually very divisive and fatal for the security, integrity and oneness of India: First, the freedom of the choice of dress, food, language and personal law of minorities (actually Muslims); and the second, addressal of the growing inequality of wealth and income through suitable changes in policies. By implication, the first is clearly for the appeasement of Muslims in the country for the electoral gain while Article 44 of the Constitution enshrines a common civil code for all citizens; the second reminds this author the Bolshevik Revolution of Russia (then USSR) that established the communist order after a great turmoil in the name of socialism. Recent public utterances of the Congress leader Gandhi Scion in election rallies about carrying a national caste census followed by a review of the income and wealth of people; institutions with promised policy change (to redistribute it) reveals it all. In a significant contrast, the BJP Sankalp Patra has covered almost all aspects of inclusive development with a long-term vision and mission; and even if part of it is achieved during the next five years, it will indeed be a great achievement and service to the welfare and development of the nation and citizens.

27-Apr-2024

More by :  Dr. Jaipal Singh

Top | Analysis

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