The country was thrown to the fire from an unusual frying pan. In terms of economic strength, India has been going down at a fast pace. As seen in inernational media reports, various statistics gives facts that support this conclusion. Those who say that human rights and media freedom have become a matter of mercy of the government, include the UN and such agencies. The much-hyped 'Digital India' has been made to rest with the internet ban from the northern most point, that is affecting daily life severely. Civil rights are at a discount, the unity of the country is endangered by government policies, democracy and federal principles are facing direct threats, rule of law is giving way to mob supremacy, and relations with neighbours are getting strained; visits by Japanese prime minister and two Bangladesh ministers were cancelled.
The UN states plainly that the citizenship law is fundamentally discriminatory and in violation of international conventions signed by India. The US International Religious Freedom Commission and UK parliament's foreign affairs committee alike lament that India is crushing the basic principles of democracy. When all this goes to damage the reputation of India at international level, at home the government is busy doing things that serve to breed instability and worsen economic crisis.
And this happens when the country is going through such financial straits that it cannot afford to have even the slightest instability and disunity. Every quarter of the current financial year has shown signs of slump as per available statistics. International Monetary Fund (IMF) sees this as a surprising slowdown. IMF, which lowered its growth forecast from 6.1 to 4.5 percent, also suspects it may have to lower it further. Due to internal instability and unpredictable policy-legislative deviations, foreign investors are deserting India. Exports have slackened, prices are rising and farmers are being thrown into deeper hardships. The Indian Rupee is also depreciating. Warnings have been given not only by IMF. Rating agencies, that had lauded the Indian economy as the most robust among developing countries, now say with dismay that India's is the only economy among fast-developing counries that is facing unusual setbacks.
Reserve Bank of India, which had forecast a growth rate of 6.1 percent in 2019-20 now says it will go down even below 5 per cent. Financial deficit will not stay below the targeted 3.4 per ent. Agricultural producton has fallen far below global averages. Income fell in the rural sector and the purchasing power of the people weakened. All this further aggravate the cisis. Moodies and Japanese financial agency Nomura estimate that this growth rate will not cross 4.9 percent. Most of the economists, both in India and abroad, are unanimous that these are caused by governmental failures. In the first year after the NDA government took charge in 2014, in order to establis that GDP growth had reached 7.5 per cent, parameters for determining the rates were tweaked. But what happened in the subsequent years was that even by those yardsticks GDP was gradually falling. In the first year of Modi's rule, the budgetary allocation for social welfare schemes was reduced from 14.6 percent to 12.6 percent. Expenditure on education decreased by 16 per cent. This trend continued in the following years too.
As a matter of fact, economic downturn and social unrest are interlinked. In the setback suffered by the country, the policy mishanding of the NDA government has a major role. Not only that not one of the justifications put forward on the day of demonetisation was vindicated, it even sent the economy nosediving, both in extent and depth. And the GST reform that followed only complicated the crisis further. And drives like Ease of Doing Business and Make in India, slowed down afer initial enthusiasm. The delay in acknowledging economic recessions, due to political reasons, made remedial measures ineffective. It is when poverty and unemployment increased that the Kashmir action and the following Citizenship Amendment Act divert people's attention from the economic stress, albeit temporarily; and there are those who consider that it was meant to be so too. Be that fact or not, those actions will also add to the stress on economic front. The question being raised anxiously is whether there is nobody in the government with wisdom and a grasp of matters. It is high time that the wise minds of the citizenry intervened urgently.