Narendra Modi sold us a dream in 2014 called “Achhe din” – the good days that were about to come.
As soon as he won in 2014, he forgot all about “Achhe din”. In 2017, he gave us a new dream: “New India 2022”, making us forget the “Achhe din” deadline of 2019. Bringing back Indian money from abroad? Hah!
Now that he has won in 2019, he is making us forget “New India 2022” and instead, making us think of “Five Trillion 2024”.
By 2022, it is likely he will give us a new slogan that extends the deadline to 2026, or so.
A few days ago, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar, presented a 50-day report card of the new Modi government. We have heard of governments marking their first 100 days, but 50 days is a first. Very soon the government may start presenting weekly report cards since they love creating occasions out of thin air, and every occasion is an opportunity for publicity and propaganda.
Javadekar said that the government has, in its first 50 days, created a “roadmap” for making India a $5 trillion economy by 2024.
Given the unimaginative Budget, the only achievement of the Modi government’s first 50 days in power has been to come up with a new dream, a new slogan: Five Trillion Economy By Twenty Twenty Four.
Curiously, we now hear very little of New India 2022. There’s only one reference that Javadekar made to 2022 in his 50-day report card, and this was to the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Gaganyaan project that seeks to land an Indian astronaut on the moon.
The government is likely to harp so much on 2024 that they will make us forget it promised to bring the moon down to Indian soil by that year – $5 trillion by 2024, $5 trillion by 2024, $5 trillion by 2024…
Already, Modi has managed to make us all debate whether or not India can be a $5 trillion economy by 2024, deflecting us from asking more urgent questions like, when will the economic slowdown end? Anyone who asks questions about the current mismanagement of the economy and refuses to dream about Five Trillion Dollars is, according to the prime minister, a “professional pessimist”.
Let us be professional optimists, and hope that we will have a New India by 2022, as promised. For the record, here’s a list of things the Modi government promised to do by 15 August 2022, the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.
These promises have been culled out from many sources, but largely from the NITI Aayog’s document, “Strategy for New India @ 75”. The list is far from comprehensive, taking mostly those goals for which numerical targets have been given.
- India’s GDP growth rate will be 9-10 per cent by 2022.
2. The investment rate will increase from 29 per cent in 2017-18 to 36 per cent in 2022-23.
3. Every Indian will have a bank account, life insurance, accident insurance, pension and ‘retirement planning services’ by 2022.
4. Farmers’ incomes will be doubled by 2022. Doubled from what base, which year, has cleverly never been specified. And incomes will anyway increase with inflation. Income is not profit.
5. “Provide irrigation to all farms (Har Khet Ko Pani) with improved on-farm water-use efficiency (more crop per drop).”
6. There will be no crop residue burning to reduce air pollution.
7. PM 2.5 levels will come down below 50 by 2022.
8. Every household will have an LPG cylinder.
9. By 2022, Indian Railways’ safety standards will be such that nobody will ever die (“zero fatalities”) in a train accident.
11. The growth rate of the manufacturing sector will double by 2022, from the base of 7.7 per cent between 2012-13 to 2017-18.
12. Every Indian will have a house by 2022.
13. Every Indian will have a toilet by 2022.
14. Every Indian will have 24/7 electricity supply by 2022.
15. Every gram panchayat (not every house) will have broadband internet reaching it by 2022. This was supposed to have been done by 2018.
16. The government will ensure “hundred per cent digital literacy” by 2022. In other words, every Indian will know how to use the internet.
17. Every Indian will have a water connection by 2022. This deadline has already been extended to 2024 without pretending it was ever promised to be delivered by 2022.
18. India will be free of malnutrition by 2022.
19. Seven hundred district HQ hospitals will be turned into “medical centres” (whatever that means) through public-private partnership.
20. Private industry will be made to adopt primary healthcare centres (PHCs) to train healthcare professionals, upgrade technology and improve patient outcomes.
21. Twenty“Medical Free Zones (MFZs)” will be created to attract medical tourism (“telemedicine, e-consult, telepathology, teleradiology etc”).
22. Hundred-plus new tourist destinations will be created in under-developed areas.
23. “Increase India’s share in global international tourist arrivals from 1.18 per cent to 3 per cent. Increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals from 8.8 million to 12 million. Double the number of domestic tourist visits, from 1,614 million in 2016 to 3,200 million visits,” the NITI Aayog document on New India 2022 said.
24. “Set up 10 innovation districts where entrepreneurs and designers live, work and play” and “connect artisans to market places using digital platforms.”
25. Manual scavenging will be eradicated.
26. Imparting of skills as philanthropy will be promoted, and “skilling as a compulsory exercise from class 6th – skill schools for senior secondary and higher secondary” will be started.
27. “Proportion of formally skilled labour from the current 5.4 per cent of India’s workforce” will be increased to“at least 15 per cent”.
28. Two-three million jobs in the healthcare sector, and 40 million jobs through tourism and 5 million new jobs through mines and minerals will be created.
29. All single-use plastic will be banned by 2022.
30. India will have 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. The current capacity is 80GW.
31. “Reduce imports of oil and gas by 10 per cent by 2022-23.”
32. “Accelerate the growth of the mining sector from 3 per cent in 2017-18 to 14 per cent, with an average growth of 8.5 per cent during 2018-23,” the NITI Aayog document said.
33. “Double the length of national highways (NHs) to 2 lakh km by 2022-23 from the existing 1.22 lakh km.”
34. All delayed infrastructure projects as of 2017, some of which have been in the works for decades, will be completed by 2022.
35. The female labour force participation rate will be 30 per cent by 2022.
36. India’s forest cover will increase to 33 per cent from the current 21 per cent. This one should be easy since India has already been showing an increase in forest cover despite increasing urbanization, simply by changing the definition of forest cover.
37. No student in any school in India will drop-out before completing class 10. No student will be out of school.
38. “Achieve a doctor-population ratio of at least 1:1400 (WHO norm 1:1000) and nurse-population ratio of at least 1:500 (WHO norm 1:400) by 2022-23.” Currently, there is only one allopathic doctor for every 11,082 Indians.
39. “Increase the gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education from 25 per cent in 2016-17 to 35 per cent by 2022-23.”
40. “Achieve the Bharatmala Phase-I target by completing 24,800 km by 2021-22, including 2,000 km of coastal and port connectivity roads.”
Views are personal.