The 2019 mandate was interpreted through the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as an endorsement of the long-held ideological beliefs. It also had the political confidence and legislative might to continue changes that it had long sought.
The BJP-led government began by leading the passage of the items came into existence known as the Triple Talaq Bill – criminalising instant triple talaq. This, government entities claimed, had been a step towards gender justice. Critics, however, saw it one step intended to alienate minorities and potentially victimise Muslim men.
On August 5, the federal government, inside a surprise move, pushed through legislative changes on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). This effectively nullified Article 370, taking out the special status their state had enjoyed to date. In addition, it reorganised the state, carving it into two distinct units of J&K and Ladakh. These products were also deemed to get union territories. The government claimed these measures would lead to the greater integration of your region with the rest of India, help citizens in the area enjoy the same rights as citizens elsewhere, and defeat separatism and terrorism. Critics, however, pointed to the point that the move had not been associated with consultations with all the leaders and folks of J&K; it was implemented with draconian measures including large-scale detentions; and could potentially lead to more alienation.
The federal government then pushed through the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament. This was directed at fast-tracking the grant of Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities – Parsis, Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, Jews and Christians – from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The federal government argued this is a humanitarian gesture. Opposition parties claimed that the absence of Muslims from your listing of communities entitled to citizenship was discriminatory and unconstitutional. They also linked this by using a possible National Register of Citizens (NRC) as being a step supposed to disenfranchise Muslims; the federal government clarified that NRC had not been around the agenda and also the move had nothing with regards to Indian Muslims.
There seemed to be one other significant milestone – which aligned with all the BJP’s long-held agenda but in which the government was without a part. The Supreme Court, in the landmark verdict within the Ram Janmabhoomi case, while holding the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992 as illegal, awarded the disputed land in Ayodhya for the Hindu parties. This has enabled the construction of the Ram Temple at the disputed site.
Even while the entire year was marked by ideological triumphs to the BJP, its record around the electoral front was mixed, with additional setbacks than successes.
In the first list of state elections once the Lok Sabha polls, Maharashtra threw up a hung assembly – BJP was the only largest party, and as well as Shiv Sena, it enjoyed a majority. Nevertheless the Sena demanded rotational chief ministership. As soon as the BJP refused to relent, Sena aligned with the Congress along with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The ploy failed, though the BJP sought to wean away NCP leader Ajit Pawar. Uddhav Thackeray (below) took over as CM and BJP lost one of India’s most critical states.
In Haryana, the BJP retained power – however it lost its majority, and had to ally with Dushyant Chautala. In Jharkhand, in a subsequent election, the BJP lost power to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress combine. As well as in Delhi, earlier this year, despite a very high-voltage campaign, where several BJP leaders were charged with hate speech, the Aam Aadmi Party won a resounding mandate to the second time in a row, bringing Arvind Kejriwal to power.
This established a new trend in Indian politics – of voters carefully distinguishing between national state and polls polls, national leaders and state leaders, and national issues and state issues. Anecdotes from the surveys and ground suggested that PM Modi remained the most popular national leader, but this was not enough to offset local disadvantages the BJP had.
The party also confronted another political challenge – by means of a proliferation of protests up against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act along with a possible National Register of Citizens. The protests were led largely by Muslims, but also included others opposed to the government. While the BJP’s support base rallied behind government entities, everyone opposition raised questions on social harmony, and resulted in international criticism.
Even while the federal government scored ideologically and, despite setbacks, continued to remain dominant nationally, the major challenge for doing it remained the economy.
As figures made public on Friday show, growth in 2019-2020 slipped to 4.2% – from 6.1% in the preceding year. To the third year consecutively, growth decelerated. An official National Statistical Organisation report, released just last year, indicated that unemployed had increased in 2017-18 to a 45-year high. According to another report, which was leaked and subsequently not published, real consumption levels dipped between 2011-12 and 2017-18. This presented a grim picture.
Growth was slowing, unemployment was rising, demand was plummeting. Additionally, the balance sheet crisis extended to non-banking financial companies.
Government entities chosen to address this case primarily through supply-side mechanisms.
The most significant measure announced is at September last year, when corporate taxes were reduced. The us government also unveiled a ? 100 lakh crore infrastructure plan for the following 5 years. But these measures were insufficient to instil confidence and questions about whether or not the Indian economic story would revive continued to become asked.
The coronavirus challenge
And so the pandemic came home.
Modern India has rarely faced challenging as grave because the coronavirus disease pandemic. PM Modi first announced a one-day people’s curfew and then a three-week national lockdown, as the disease travelled to cases and India increased. The federal government was given credit for not underplaying the threat and taking decisive action – it also arrived in for criticism for not planning the lockdown well.
During the last 70 days, government entities has already established to confront serious health infrastructure deficits – even as cases have continued to go up. An economy that was already slowing is now looking at an outright recession. Joblessness has exploded, demand has dipped further, manufacturing has shrunk, sectors such as aviation and hospitality have borne huge losses, services are already disrupted, supply chains have separated.Alongside, government entities also has had to confront a serious humanitarian crisis, with migrant workers, in millions, coming back home for their villages in desperation.
PM Modi’s first year was laced with challenges and successes. But most of his term, and possibly, even his legacy, can he based on how his government helps India deal with the pandemic – which can be set to redefine politics, the economy, and everyday routine.