PM Modi's rally in Kurukshetra
File photo | Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election campaign rally in Haryana, 2019 | PTI photo
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has slowly, but with sharp focus and political craftiness, appropriated much of the Congress-led governments’ welfare legacy.

From Aadhaar to the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, and from MGNREGS to rural housing — the Modi government has made several of the Congress’ marquee initiatives its own, helping the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) project itself as the great saviour of rural India, as against its predominantly Brahmin-Baniya image earlier.

With Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s latest rural booster shot through an additional Rs 40,000 crore under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) — a rural job programme conceptualised and introduced by the UPA 1 government — Modi’s dispensation has underscored its commitment to the scheme and to use it to the hilt at the time of an unprecedented crisis.

A hold over rural India was the strength of the Congress as a national party, which has gradually eroded with it ceding space to the earlier more urban-centric BJP. But more significant than the electoral and political implications of this is the symbolism of it all — Modi using Congress’ initiatives to lay the ground of his pro-welfare image.

And how has this been possible? Simply because somewhere down the line, the Congress was foolish enough to abandon its own creations, or not market them as a substantive legacy. Modi, on the other hand, has been clever enough to know the importance of slyly using his rival’s initiatives and then, going on to make them seem like his babies.


Also read: India has social schemes for poor in crises like Covid. But it needs a ‘who to pay’ database


How Modi has taken all that was Congress’

Since coming to power in 2014, Narendra Modi has, with great precision, adopted several of his predecessors’ innovations, which in turn, have helped his welfare governance model.

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Refresh to 2014 when he had just assumed power. Modi dragged Aadhaar out from the dusty storeroom it had been relegated to, held several high-level meetings and made it clear that this unique identification number has to be promoted. It wasn’t the UPA, which had brought in Aadhaar under Nandan Nilekani’s leadership and vision, that gave it the legal backing it needed. It was the Modi government that stood by the scheme, brought in an act to back it and fought the long and polarised legal battle to defend it.

Aadhaar — a UPA child — has for all practical purposes become Modi’s forever now.

The Direct Benefit Transfer or DBT scheme, again launched by the Congress with much pomp and show in 2013 (and which along with Aadhaar strengthens the delivery of government welfare schemes), has also been used extensively by Modi to dole out pro-poor policies, including recently when his government said it would use this cash transfer mechanism to help the poor amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Also read: Focus on rural India, women, SC/STs — Budget 2020 fits into Modi govt’s welfare plank


The rural housing scheme — Indira Awaas Yojana — was replete with lacunae in implementation. Modi realised the importance of the scheme, changed its name, made it all about himself in 2015, but also brought in changes that helped make it far more effective and popular. “Modiji ne ghar diya hai (Modi has given us a home),” was a common refrain before the 2019 Lok Sabha election, and went on to help the Prime Minister massively in his re-election bid.

Now, with this whopping allocation to MGNREGS, Modi has made this scheme very much his own, ironically after having called it a “living monument of the UPA’s failures” in Parliament in 2015.

The findings of the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) — started by the UPA in 2011 —  finally came out in 2015 and since, has formed the bedrock of this government’s welfare policies in terms of identifying and targeting beneficiaries.

Essentially, Modi realised early on in his tenure that the ‘suit boot ki sarkar‘ image could be his undoing, and soon enough, turned towards ‘jan kalyan’. He didn’t have to do much, the Congress had kept most of the ingredients ready for him. All he did was mix them together as per his own recipe, add the Modi tadka and sell them as his own. Of course, not to take away from the fact that he did realise the significance of these schemes and was willing to invest in them.


Also read: PM Modi’s 1st-year report card — C in economy, D in governance, but A in political optics


Congress — master of abandonment

More than Modi’s shrewdness, it is the lack of vision of the Congress party that is reflected in how its legacy is fast eroding.

The rural housing scheme was named after Indira Gandhi, but the Congress did not bother to invest any more in it than the routine bureaucratic interest.

MGNREGA was widely credited with the UPA’s improved performance at the hustings in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, but eventually, somewhere down the line, the party lost interest in improving or promoting it, despite Sonia Gandhi’s backing of it. Then Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram got into a spat over what the former saw as ‘savage cuts‘ in rural schemes. The result — it seemed the UPA did not care much about welfare and the party was divided on the issue.

DBT was picked by the Congress and forgotten in no time. But most brutal was its treatment of Aadhaar. The unique identification system was brought in with much fanfare, but dropped like a hot potato early on in its journey. Intra-party rivalries, differences within the government and no coherent strategy meant no one was on the same page, and policies, schemes and innovations suffered.

The Congress’ loss has been Modi’s gain, at least in terms of optics. Very little is left of the UPA years that the voter would remember it by. Modi has ensured he has put his stamp on everything that was never his and that his party once vociferously criticised. The Congress, meanwhile, has gifted away to the BJP what it should have proudly owned forever.

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61 Comments Share Your Views

61 COMMENTS

  1. ThePrint jernos can’t digest their food until they accuse and abuse Modi and BJP. Ms Ruhi, Congress legacy is remaining with Librandus only. All nationalists have dumped Congress legacy into gutters. BJP/Modi owes nothing to corrupt and anti-national Italian Congress.

  2. In a cricket match all bowlers bowl with same ball . One bowler get six wickets in 10 overs, others ,Five bowlers, toils for 40 overs and get one or two wickets. ( Rest of batsmen out to run-out ). Then tell who is to be called “man of the match”. ? Tools, are always same. Techniques are known to all. IT is the man who is dedicated, result -oriented and wants to ensure that “those who selected him ” ,Don t get criticised works in way that results are better than EXPECTED. So is case with Modi . It is his dedication which is reason for his super performance as compared with his predecessors. . The matches now a days are watched by 50-60 crore spectators (voters ) on real time basis and judgments formed seeing efforts made to win the matches ( elections ) .

  3. But UPA was not taking decisions Dr Singh was at that time was puppet PM Sonia is not capable of taking bold decisions and Ministets were fighting.

    • Are the schemes mentioned, not decisions taken ? Sometimes taking decisions take gdp go southwards with attended joblosses, destruction of small businesses etc.

  4. This shows that congress is a party of showing dreams to the people and get involved in harnessing wealth through various scams.
    While contrary to this the messiah Modi is an action man who realises peoples dreams into reality. I hope this man continues to be in power for atleast next 20 years

  5. Aadhar was opposed Sri Chidambram tooth and nail, Mnrega was proposed and applied by Rjd minister, rural housing and roads was the brainchild of Late Bajpei govt and dbt is possible due to aadhar and jandhan accounts.

    Sorry to say Congress died as a political party during late Indira Gandhi and onwards & now a feudal barbar.
    And I am not a member of any party

  6. Really desperate congrass journalist non of these ideas are that of her congrass party. This similar types of schemes have been adopted in USA AND WESTERN EUROPE around 70 years back. Congrass the party of rented journalist and undereducated jhollawallas never implemented this ideas in full to allow rampant corruption in MNREGA and other schemes. BJP government ensured that technology was used to bypass middlemen and corruption through use of DBT linked with AADHAR. What a fake writeup. Real shame.

    • Calling people bhakth… but criticising them when they call muslims jihadis. Hatred doesn’t have only one form. People always think they know better so its justified. They think they know better and you think you do.

  7. If you get a house with a room plan, do you break it down and rebuild just because you prefer something else? Or you accommodate and evolve? Why is this considered “clever” and “sly”? Isn’t it practical?

    It is always amusing when people talk about UPA legacy. Much of policies in India are UPA legacy because UPA has led India for so long. Many policies are logical, some form of aadhar would have been proposed in India one way or another.

    The news media didn’t hesitate to highlight how modi relied of mgnera at the time. But JanDhan has been used now as well. Issue with UPA was always proper implementation and use. If it’s being used that’s actually a good thing.

  8. So Ruhi Tewari compiled nicely all the facts to bolster the universal claim of “Pappu’s Congress is a big ASSHOLE party”.

  9. Yes. BJP and Modi took away the country which was once Congress property.
    Yes. BJP and Modi took away the voters who were once Congress voters.
    Yes. BJP and Modi took away the politicians who earlier used to bend to the Congress high-command.
    Yes. BJP and Modi took away journalists who earlier reported about the dogs and cats at 10 Janpath.
    Yes. BJP and Modi took the ideas from Congress and implemented it better in the interest of country.
    Yes. BJP and Modi eat, drink, breathe and live in the same country as Congress.

    We, the people of India, are fine with it. Any problem for you?

      • Punnia ji,
        Congress too shall survive and come back. For that first, it has to repent and wash away it’s various ‘Paap’, and retrace its other half-circle of “Punya”.
        🙂

      • Really ??!!
        Were you born and opened your eyes in 2014?
        Even if you tried to just scratch surface of Congress history, the very next moment onwards your comments will be unlike my civilised way, more harsher towards Congress!!

  10. So it clearly shows schemes may be conceptualized by anyone, it may be a particular party or the brain child of some bureaucrat. But it’s the implementation which matters. Congress is remembered as a party which symbolises nothing but corruption.

  11. Shekhar Gupta ji,

    As noted by the author in the last section of her article, both NREGA and Aadhaar were sabotaged by Shri Chidambaram.

    Perhaps the author or one your investigative journalists, can investigate:

    * Why Shri Chidambaram continues to be given importance by Smt Sonia ji.

    * Why he continues to have a strong hold over Congress policies.

    The far right media suggests that, at some point, Shri Chidambaram became a major collector of funds for the Congress, with great competence in concealing money trails. The far right media also alleges that he is a key financier behind NDTV and other media outlets, thereby preventing the pro-Congress outlets from going bankrupt due to persistent low viewership (as per BARC data). He, therefore, became crucial for the financial sustenance of the Congress party and its stakeholders. Can some credible journalist please investigate these aspects?

    India would benefit from good credible political parties. Congress could be one of them, if the above aspects are investigated, reported on, and therefore fixed in due course. Sunlight is a good disinfectant.

    Thanks.

    • Investigate all looters and looter aids from both the parties. We will be happy to go in for presidential form of government and direct elect CM. Based on the proportion of poor allocate funds for their development. Just as now Modi realised about micro level management of COVID 19, well, economics also needs to be managed. Will there be courage to do this?.

  12. Sadly.. you are not proven to be biased..
    Unless you are planning to write an article about you being proud that your PM’ s popularity is soaring.. per NY Times..

    • One simple reason to say Modi is not capable is….why he cannot face journalists or face their questions?. See Trump, PM of Singapore and heads every where. A wonderful opportunity to serve poor is lost by Modi because he is focussed on Gujaratis and Gujarati business people. What is the revenue collection from TN and what it gets back. TN is paying for the looted money. So chaiwalla cannot rule country. Only contribution is he saved Gujaratis who looted and ran away and businessmen looting. And saved Kashmir?! For this great country still TINA!. BETTER CONG GET READY. With all your weaknesses country was happy.

  13. Do you see anywhere Modi name in all his schemes unlike congress which tagged a Gandhi name in every scheme, as if they are doling it from their pockets. Unfortunately Modi is becoming a leftist. It does not bode well for the country. We need labour reforms urgently to take advantage of China’s opposition in the world.

  14. But what’s is the point of all this master stroke and strategem and Chanakya Neeti and sidelining congress so brilliantly ? poor people are dying all across india, particularly in the northern states where bjp also ruled the states for 15 yrs uninterrupted.

    Only in india, we have many such master stroke chanayaks , great leadership, great ideas, great everything, ultimately nothing gets delivered on the ground.

  15. This angst and forlorn look, you have for Congress is music for my ears.
    It is also a happy surprise for me to see you praising Modi for his political acumen and foolishness of Congress.
    Congress is nothing but a motley crowd of few intelligent, more fools and all greedy persons.

  16. There is no dearth of welfare schemes in indipendent India’s history. And erstwhile rulers fooled people with populist schemes and enjoyed the booty. The only difference now is the deliverence. This is Modi’s success and congress failure.

  17. Yes you are right Congress provided work of digging land since independence n never appreciated normal individual taxpayers. God may congress go to hell. You bloody leftists are promoting propaganda for this bloody congress. Are you journalists?????????
    China n congress are your top priority.

  18. Ruhi Tiwari – must be wife of Mr. Manish Tiwari, Cong MP as one could make it out. So some team is silently and stealthily working to build browny points for otherwise dying Cong party.

    All the best.
    .

  19. Typical delusional journalist – no mention has been made of the MONUMENTAL WASTE, TOTAL CORRUPTION and outright theft of public resources through the Congress regime’s shoddy and deliberately porous schemes .
    Why have you forgotten about the toilets built by Modi? The roads made to villages by Modi or the electrification schemes ???

    Migrant workers are 4 to 5 crore out of 130 crore but apparently delusional journalists would have 130 crore people sacrificed for 4 to 5 crore by allowing them all to go home as and when they pleased??

    If COVID had infested the country side and there were food shortages who would you Reprobates have blamed ???

    By definition migrant labor are temporary because of labor laws that disincentiveize their legalization! Laws passed by liberals and communists to keep the economy and the capitalists in constant conflict with unions.

  20. While congress had all these ideas they rarely implemented any of these for the benefit of the people. That is the difference that Modi has brought.

  21. MrModiji and his govt has done a great job in implementing various schemes in different portfoloius allocoting huge some of money in crores of rupees evenafter lockdown period and we pepole to be ptepared to bring the Nation by working hard by more than 8 hours to prosperous Indias development tobe no 1 India globally

  22. This is wrong propaganda on BJP. Who stopped the Congress regime to not to implement it. They willingly don’t want to implement them so that they themselves will be in trouble with such activities. Ofcourse these may be Congress government proposals but definitely it isn’t from the Congress so called greats ( useless ) like sonia, Rahul, Ahmed, Chidambaram & etc. It may be from one or two legends like PVNR sir or Abdul Kalam sir. How much the media try to misguide the fame of modiji or BJP that much affection will be developed on them.

  23. The author seems to be a very narrow minded person. Does it really matter who created the scheme? It is the duty of successive governments to improve upon existing schemes for the benefit of all, and not taking credit.

  24. What a personal view….each and every words seems to be chamcha of congress..how come DBT , aadhar has legacy of congress..the fact is congress never thought or never had willing to do something which would benefit the poor farmers or family of the country..if they had willing then they would have worked with enthusiasm and result would be known by us..as all we know what is result after being ruled the country for 70 yrs..please change the way of analysing and thinking..
    Lastly, about the print…we know that you are biased news platform but limitation of biasness should be checked

  25. Its not the policy, but how it is implemented !!!! But you guys will never learn to put an article neutrally !!!!

  26. One good deed is better than one thousand good intentions. So goes the saying & Congress governments did just that.
    Announced schemes for self-aggrandisement but did little else.
    Now why blame PM Modi for bringing back these”schemes” to life?

  27. You haven’t mention the BJP initiatives like make in India, start-up India, Skill India, Swatch Bharat, Ujjawala Yojna and Make in India initiative and many more. While you are discussing what Modi government has picked up from UPA government, it is important to provide the stand alone initiatives too. Which will make this kind of articles complete and non biased.

  28. In a democracy like ours, changes initiated by the governments do take a long time to be realised and to be enjoyed at the ground level. It is for this reason, emphasis is laid on Government policies continuation, not withstanding which Political Party comes to power to govern.

    Hence it is to the credit of Congress governments at various points of time that have brought good policy changes /initiatives to improve the economic conditions of our country and our Society.
    It is good that PM Modi is using them for governing the country inter alia.

  29. You nailed it. That’s the main problem of Congress. It chases short term goals and sacrifices long term benefits. And that’s the reason it has been losing elections, either to the BJP as well as regional parties. On the other hand BJP has invested time and reputation in causes it believes in. People would always chose a party which has clarity.

  30. U mean governsncebus dump previous schemes and start new ones as tn, ap, punjab, karnataka, mp etc do, continuity and improvements r needed, modi did it, cong like garibi hato was on optics for all its life, modi was delivering I his cm dsys itself MANREGA was responsible for UPA rout jairsm ramesh said Hab tak rehaga narega, kisan marega, as no productive work happens in villages as they claim they need extra time work else anyway they got 390 a day farming became suicidal with labor costs going up and 9 to 5 culture with long breaks for tea, lunch unlike pre MANREGA days, upa wasvbusy in enriching its leader’s wealth not the poorest of poor as they claim

  31. Yours is negative journalism, and pro congi….if NAMO uses adhar u should be appreciating cos no tax payers money is wasted…..and regards direct transfer, practically it is transferred to people of idia not coffers of Sonoa gandhi, be happy not biased….as usual paid media…

  32. Half the population of Indian did not have a bank account when your favourite Congress ruled !!! Congress legacy , my foot !!!!

  33. chaaato thum , print waley chaato Congress ka.

    u will get the award when ur daughter is married as 4th to someone

  34. There is no harm in completing the good policies of previous governments. Congress only made policies never implimented it
    modiji successfully implimented the very same congress policies.

  35. Khangress any ways only to medha to medha their schemes in names of their leaders but like rajiv said only 10 paise of 1 re. Reached the beneficiary rest was lapped up by their leaders and regional satraps.
    It is strongly to modis credit that he did not stop these but improved them
    As far as it is benefitting poor it is good. Wish modi luck and hope to see him ride this covered tide successfully.

  36. Leadership is not about creating new things but utilising the existing to deliver the gains efficiently to the people. We have a good opinion on The Print, plz don’t change it by publishing the these type of opinions which lack the constructive criticism. Congress is gone, we just have to bear with modi for 4 more years, if have any ideas share them how to do things in much better fashion and stop crying foul that BJP is stealing Congress ideas. They aren’t any scientific inventions/designs that you can patent. Their outcome solely depends on how effectively you can implement the schemes to reach the poor.

  37. A few good people who understand economics and high finance should also be plucked. The OT needs some neurosurgeons.

  38. Opinionated ‘articles’ like this are a result of letting just about anybody to become a ‘journalist’. A government is a continuing entity. It is silly to say, ‘it was my idea, he took it’. Even if Modi had taken ideas of Congress and implemented them, it is full marks to him. After all, anybody can give good ideas, it is implementing them that is a challenge. However, it is not also true that all that the author states are a “gift” of UPA. Origin of several, like MNREGA can be traced back to much earlier times.
    Take abolition of APMC, for example. It was everybody’s idea–only Modi govt has done it.
    A journalist should be objective, regardless of personal likes and dislikes. ‘Articles’ like these arise out of a hatred for Modi, the desperation to keep saying something against him. If you try ‘spit-and-run’ journalism, well, you are actually spitting upwards, into a spinning ceiling fan.

  39. Does this mean that “chowkidar chor hai” was correct and this chowkidar can only steal ideas?
    Also does it mean that for the economy to pick up we need to vote in another Congress govt because this one has no original ideas?

    • Well congress would have learnt its lessons. Many of the corruption cases also created and popularised by BJP when in opposition. Also BJP and RSS wallas in govt worked for BJP and created corruption magic like 2G. Modi failed. Return cong with Rahul to lead or Jagan Mohan merge with cong and head the Govt., a southern PM.

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