Eliminating Corruption
September 01, 2018
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Right from its inception, the NDA government led by PM Narendra Modihas been committed to uprooting corruption. It aimsto not only eliminate corruption but institutionalise and nurture honesty.

A closer step by step analysis of the various steps taken by the government to make governance transparent, will show the manner in which a transformation has occurred that has not only strengthened the economy from within but also enhanced people’s trust in the government.

The multi-pronged approach in fighting the twin evils of corruption and black money has been instrumental in optimising the productivity of the economy while ensuring that the fruits of growth reach the poorest of the poor. From taking legislative action to forming treaties with foreign governments, a wide spectrum of pro-active measures has been taken to make the governance system responsive and accountable.

As the first order of business, the government constituted a SIT on black money to look into the sources of generation and accumulation and suggest ways to combat it. A number of the recommendations made by the committee were adopted by the government. One more challenge that the government faced when it took office in 2014 was the coal crisis. The Supreme Court had cancelled the coal block allocations, necessitating a fair and transparent auction process. Without wasting any time, government plunged into action resulting in transparent auctions. This brought a windfall for the nation.

A similar procedure was followed for telecom allocation, earning the exchequersignificant revenue. In the spectrum auctions too, the government’s approach ensured massive gains, in stark contrast to the zero-loss theory of the past.

The long pending Benami property Actwas passed to address the problem of generation of black money through benami properties. The Fugitive Economic Offenders Billwas also cleared to equip the investigative agencies going after absconding economic offenders. It allows the law enforcement agencies to confiscate assets of absconding economic offenders and ensures that banks are able to make higher recoveries from loan defaulters.

Not to be restricted to domestic countervailing measures, the government has gone a step further in bringing together a coalition of nation to fight the menace. It has amended the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Mauritius, Singapore and Cyprus to block rerouting the blackmoney through the tax havens and signed an agreement with Switzerlandtoshare real time information on accounts held by Indian residents in Swiss banks.

PM Narendra Modi’s government commenced upon a major crackdown on black money ensued with the declaration of demonetisation. The historic move led to massive unearthing of undisclosed income, suspicious transactions and deposits.  It further led to action against 3 lakh shell companies that were subsequently de-registered. This move has given a major fillip to a cleaner economy ad formalisation while increasing the tax base.

Accompanied with a resolve to end regeneration of black money, a strong start towards a more inclusive economy was made. 50 lakh new bank accounts for the cashless, transparent transfer of wages to workers were opened. Earlier, a big chunk of the government funds disseminated used to get lost in leakages. Bylinking welfare schemes to the Aadhar card and providing it a legislative framework, the government has made an earnest attempt to plug theleakages in the Public Distribution System and made direct transfer a viable option for disbursementof government funds. Over Rs 3.65 lakh crore has been directly transferred to the bank accounts of beneficiaries of 431 schemes in the last four years.

The increasing trust has led to a higher number of taxpayers’ paying their taxes. It is a matter of pride that the number of ITRs filed during FY 2017-2018 are 6.85 crore compared to 3.85 crore in FY 2013-14, thus, helping expand the tax base. Post-demonetisation more than 1 crore new enrolments have been made with the EPFO and 1.3 crore registrations made with the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).Greater transparency and formalisation are ensuring that the hard-working citizens are brought under the safety net, thus, boosting their savings and income security.

The Good and Service Tax (GST), the biggest economic reform post-independence has surpassed expectations in its smooth implementation, transparency and compliance. The people of India have wholeheartedly heralded it, which is evident with the fact that the 50 lakh new enterprises got registered within 1 year of GST as compared to 65 lakh in almost 70 years.

In an innovative step to ensure transparency, Environment Ministry started process of online submission of applications for Environment approvals, bringing down the approval time from 600 days to 180 days. Further, it made it possible for applications to be tracked online, minimising chances of human intervention to extract bribe for getting project approvals. Similarly,abolishing interviews for on-gazetted posts, has ensured that genuine candidates are selected based on their merit.

Adecisive multi-pronged action has not onlylaid a solid foundation for economy to grow but has also positively impacted the personat the last mile. A clean, transparent and resilient economy is, therefore, setting grounds for New India to take shape.

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Infrastructure and connectivity act as arteries for development and growth of any nation. It is evident that infrastructure development has been given priority by the NDA government under PM Narendra Modi. For fulfilling the dream of New India, the NDA government is focussing on development of railways, roadways, waterways, aviation or affordable housing.

Railways

The Indian rail network is one of the largest railway networks in the world. The pace of track renewal, elimination of unmanned level crossings and commissioning of broad gauge lines has significantly improved during NDA government under PM Modi.

Railways recorded its best-ever safety record with less than 100 accidents in a year in 2017-18. Data reveals that 118 railway accidents were recorded in 2013-14 which have declined to 73 in 2017-18. 5,469 unmanned level crossings have been eliminated, with average pace of elimination at 20% more than that of 2009-14. All unmanned level crossings on broad gauge routes targeted to be eliminated by 2020 for better safety.

Bringing railways development on track, there is a 50% increase in track renewal, from 2,926 km during 2013-14 to 4,405 km during 2017-18. Broad gauge commissioned during 4 years of NDA government under PM Modi (9,528 km) is much greater than that commissioned during 2009-14 (7,600 km).

For the first time Northeast India is fully integrated with the rest of India with the entire network converted to broad gauge. It brought Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram on the rail map of India after 70 years of independence!

For developing New India, we need advanced technology too. The bullet train, planned from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, will reduce travel time from about 8 hrs to 2 hrs.

 

Aviation

Rapid progress is happening in civil aviation sector too. Promising affordable air travel under UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), 25 operational airports have been added in just 4 years, as opposed to 75 airports between Independence and 2014. Regional air connectivity to unserved and underserved airports at subsidised fare of Rs 2,500 per hour has helped to fulfil dream of many Indians to travel by air. Thus, for the first time more people travelled in airplanes than in AC trains.

With passenger traffic growth in the range of 18-20% in the past three years, India has emerged as the world’s third largest aviation market. Number of domestic air passengers crossed 100 million in 2017.

 

Shipping

India is also taking rapid strides in the shipping sector under PM Narendra Modi’s government. Accelerating port-led development, the turn around time at major ports have been reduced by a third, from 94 hrs in 2013-14 to 64 hrs in 2017-18.

Consider the cargo traffic at major ports. It declined from 570.32 MT in 2010-11 to 545.79 MT in 2012-13. However, under the NDA government it improved to 679.367 MT during 2017-18, a whopping increase of more than 100 MT!

Inland waterways significantly reduce the transportation costs and boost the economy apart from reducing carbon foot print. 106 national waterways were added in the last 4 years compared to 5 national waterways in the last 30 years.

Road development

Expansion of highways with multi-modal integration has been taken up under transformative project Bharat Mala Pariyojana. National highway network expanded from 92,851 km in 2013-14 to 1,20,543 km in 2017-18.

Setu Bharatam project for safer roads, with total outlay of Rs. 20,800 crores, envisages building of railway overbridges or under passes to make all National Highways free of railway level crossings.

The pace of road construction has almost doubled. Speed of highways construction was 12 km per day during 2013-14 which stood at 27 km per day as of 2017-18.

 

Development of India’s longest ever tunnel, Chenani-Nashri, in Jammu as well as India’s longest bridge, Dhola-Sadiya, for enhanced connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh are testimony to the commitment to take development to hitherto untapped regions. Building of bridges over Narmada at Bharuch and Chambal at Kota have also improved road connectivity in the regions.

Roads act as catalysts for rural development. Considering its importance, almost 1.69 lakh kms of rural roads have been built in 4 years. Average speed of road construction improved from 69 km per day in 2013-14 to 134 km per day in 2017-18. Presently, rural road connectivity is more than 82%, as against 56% in 2014, making villages become a part of India’s development trajectory.

Tourism has immense potential for employment generation. To enhance pilgrimage experience along with a boost to the tourism sector, Char Dham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojana was launched. It seeks to make journey safer, faster and more convenient. It entails development of around 900 km of national highways at an approximate cost of Rs 12,000 crore.

With boost to the infrastructure, more movement of freight takes place and adds strength to the economy. Due to efforts of the NDA government, highest ever freight loading (1,160 MT) was recorded in the year 2017-18.

Urban transformation

For urban transformation through Smart Cities, around 100 urban centres have been chosen to ensure improved quality of living, sustained urban planning and development. Various development projects in these cities will positively impact almost 10 crore Indians. These projects will cost Rs. 2,01,979 crores.

Around 1 crore affordable houses have been built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in both rural and urban areas. To benefit the middle and neo middle classes, housing loans up to Rs 9 lakh and Rs 12 lakh are eligible for interest subvention of 4% and 3%.