Narendra Modi lead NDA government has completed four years in power. The government has worked without blemish of any major corruption. Food inflation has remained reasonably low, less than 5%. Still many people remain unhappy and angry with government and its policies. High fuel price has alienated middle class. While, farmers are complaining that farming is not profitable anymore, as farmers are not getting enough price for their produce. Increasing fuel price does not help their case either. While anger against government may be justified, one has to admit that government had given a push towards improving many sectors that were not priority for earlier governments.
Road Infrastructure : Indian road infrastructure has never been world class. Our roads were narrow, congested and pot holed. So much so road network was not developed in north east India. Modi government has given a great push to create road network in north east India. In five years, governmetn plans to build 85000 km of road in its five year tenure. On an average, a km of good quality road costs around 10 crore rupees. Thus, governmetn of India needs, 850,000 crore (8.5 trillion rupees). Definitely, government cannot do it alone. Private public partnership is sought to build road network. While private companies recover their investment through toll tax, government raises the money through tax.
Rail Infrastructure : India has the worlds biggest rail network. It transports 23 million passengers daily and 3 million tons of freight daily. Anyone who has travelled by Indian railways may testify that barring a few select trains, Indian rail is slow moving, often late, not very clean, and accident prone. India needs to improve railways on many fronts. To improve passenger facilities in station and while in train. Train speed must be increased without compromising safety. New tracks have to be laid to facilitate unimpeded traffic of goods and passengers. North East India hardly had any rail network beyond Assam. So much so, some people in Meghalaya in North East have never seen a train. This government has given a great push to north east infrastructure development. To upgrade and modernise Indian railway there is an investment plan of approximately Rs. 8 trillion between 2015 to 2019, rougly 2 trillion per year. This money is over and above regular expenditure of railways to operate business and pay salary etc.To build railways government needs money.
Defence Infrastructure : India is sorrounded by hostile neighbors like China in the east and Pakistan in the west. We have fought wars against both neigbors. To cope with military adventure of our neigbors, India needs to upgrade her military hardware. For nearly a decade of earlier rule, UPA I and II, not much military purchase had been made, to avoid allegation of corruption. As defence minister said, government is upgrading armed forces, but neglect of a decade cannot be fulfilled in four years by demanding more money. Add to this funding for OROP. Earlier an allocation of Rs 500 crore was made for the purpose. Actual cost was of OROP emerged to be 10000 crore to be paid every year till an army man is alive. Where is the money going to come from, other than tax payers?
Add to some of these heavy expenditure, collapse of banking sector due to NPA, demanding minimum support price by farmers, government servants demanding implementation of pay commission report, states demanding special status and more money. Add to this government plan to provide health insurance to 100 million families (approximately five hundred million people) upto 5 lac rupees. Remember, India spends very little on education and healthcare of citizens.
All the money that government pays has to come from tax payers. If government subsidises petrol it loses tax money that it needs to undertake upgradation of different government arms. As citizens that have limited budget, it is natural to get angry when prices go up. But find out where is the money going to come from if we need to upgrade infrastructure. Tax that we pay are not going to an individuals pocket, it is used by government to build infrastructure. We may question if government is right in spending money the way it is spending. At the same time we need to think do we need a different India that is prosperous and literate and clean or we go on with usual stuff of bandaid solution for long term problems.
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