Prime Minister Narendra Modi took oath for the second time on Thursday after a spectacular victory in the national election a week ago. Over 50 ministers joined him in the swearing-in held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the presence of 8,000 guests including world leaders, dignitaries, politicians, celebrities and industrialists.
Narendra Modi’s second term is the most anticipated and awaited event not just in India but around a good part of the world. Now, he has to deal with many problems as there are many challenges waiting for BJP govt to get resolved. He needs to fix problems in agriculture, job sector, economy, international relations and internal social disharmony.
Here is Narendra Modi’s 5 biggest challenges
Agriculture, forestry and fishing — together clubbed under the head of agriculture — comprised 21 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2004-05. It has dropped to around 13 per cent in the past 15 years. But the number of workforce has not dropped accordingly in farms.
Agriculture employs nearly 55 per cent of the workforce in the country. An estimated 26 crore people are working in the sector. This translates into dependence of about 55-57 per cent population on agriculture, which is in distress for far too long to ignore for Narendra Modi government.
The immediate reason for farm distress is falling food prices. Despite Modi government’s implementation of new MSP regime, the farmers are not getting profitable remuneration from their agriculture.
PM Modi will have to handle economic turbulence deftly till the 2020 US elections. The US-China trade wars and the US-Russia differences will create new fronts all over the world with India often called upon to take positions for or against the election-bound Trump administration. This becomes a bigger challenge as India faces imminent US notification of withdrawal of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) in the face of the slow progress in the resolution of the India-US trade deficit. Modi, along with President Trump, will have to use their personal clout to reach an agreement on trade as the bureaucracy on both sides is only interested in protecting its turf at a time when there is a perceptible hardening of positions on both sides. The answer to the US withdrawal does not lie in Indian retaliation but in the resolution of trade differences as both countries need each other in a worsening strategic environment.
Reaching Out To Muslims, Minorities
Following the stupendous electoral victory of the Modi government, reports suggest, there is an unease among a section of minorities, particularly Muslims. Certain incidents — shooting at a Muslim man in Bihar merely after asking for his name and thrashing of a couple in Madhya Pradesh on beef rumour — might have added to the prevailing sentiments.
PM Modi, in his address, to the newly elected MPs of the ruling dispensation asserted that over the next five years, they have to ensure “sabka vishwas” (trust of all) besides “sabka saath, sabka vikas” (collective efforts, inclusive growth).
Internal challenge From The Maoists and Urban Naxals
Modi will face a challenge to his resurgence on the national and internal security front. The surgical strike and air strike have raised the bar on India’s response under the Modi regime to any terror strike by a group based in Pakistan. Since the principal terrorist groups based in Pakistan are alive and kicking, it is only a matter of time before they strike on Indian soil. The orchestrator of the Pulwama attack, the Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed group, is known for violent retaliation with its leader, Masood Azhar, not interested whether this leads to all-out hostilities. The Pakistan army’s other arm, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, is no better as demonstrated by the 26/11 attacks. The internal challenge will come from the Maoists and urban Naxals, who will test the Centre by trying to present the development of infrastructure in the interiors of India.
To Deliver Centrally-Sponsored Schemes In The Congress-Ruled States
Another challenge for Modi is to provide the last mile delivery for Centrally-sponsored schemes in the Congress-ruled states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal will be a challenge. Schemes like Ayushman Bharat, Ujwala, agriculture and unorganised sectors reforms will run into obstacles in these states on account of ideological differences. If the schemes succeed, the state leadership will claim credit; failure will be dumped squarely on Modi. But then the PM is known to climb mountains in adverse conditions.
Plugging Loopholes Of Economy
The Modi government has been able to keep a high GDP growth rate, becoming one of the fastest-growing economies of the world. But the growth indicators point to deeper problems.
Private consumption and investment have slowed down despite low inflation. Data of automobile sales, rail freight, domestic air traffic, petroleum product consumption and imports indicate a slowdown in consumption.
Key indicative sales — of cars, two-wheelers, and tractors — have been falling. Non-oil, non-gold, non-silver, and non-precious and semi-precious stones imports, another good indicator of consumer demand, have shrunk in the past four months.
The public sector banks are in bad shape on the account of non-performing assets (NPAs) despite pumping in over Rs 2 trillion in the past two years. The NPA of public-sector banks stood at over Rs 8 trillion at the end of December 2018. Currently banks are lending almost till the last penny of deposits that they have with them.
The current economic situation requires an out of the box solution by the Narendra Modi government.
These are just a few challenges. Modi has to tread his path carefully. Too many expectations rest on his shoulders!
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