I was asked this question on Quora regarding the achievements of Congress in the 10 year term.
Though UPA-2 from the second half was very shoddy, corrupt , highly ineffective and unproductive, UPA 1 was quite contrary to UPA-2 , their flagship programs are worth the praise. That’s how they got re-elected with higher majority second time, however, NDA didn’t have a stable headed, forward looking leader then which in a way contributed to UPA’s win too. yet, shouldn’t take away anything from their achievements.
I’d like to highlight some of them here.
1. GDP growth rate.
2004-05 we clocked close to 8% and then a hat-trick of 9% for three consecutive years. And despite having global economic crisis we managed clock to 6.7% growth in 2008-09. So, on economic front we have had quite a zooming economy.
2. SEZ Act, 2005.
Though IT services picked up growth a regime earlier, SEZs have helped in furthering the export of engineering services, they have helped to increase the international trade volume, furthermore, a huge amount of foreign investment has been directed towards export trade, lot of FDI came in. In a way for the above figures of growth rate, SEZs have contributed a major chunk.
3. NREGA, 2006
By far NREGA is the world’s largest rural job guarantee scheme. In 2012-13, the scheme provided employment to over 4.98 crore households, generating more than 213 crore person-days of employment. Across villages, NREGA has changed many lives, and has been pet scheme of low wage laborers of the villages.
4. RTI Act, 2005
In the arena of governance in India, if you ask me, RTI is the landmark legislation for the faceless citizen of India. Ever since the enactment the mere mention of invoking this Act puts fear into the hearts of government officials, who now think twice before denying a citizen his due.
This notable legislation, came under UPA in 2005, has since then empowered every citizen of our country to ask for and get details of any publicly funded scheme, project or institution. It would be no exaggeration to say that this single piece of legislation has considerably changed the realities of governance in India.
5. Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan:
Though Swacch Bharat Mission is taken it to a next level , the sanitation programme of UPA was good too, however they lacked on the advertisement and aggressive education of people towards cleanliness, nevertheless if not for this program, it wouldn’t have been this easy for Swacch Bharat Mission to take it forward.
6. Modernization of Mumbai and Delhi Airport, 2007
Soon after, Indira Gandhi international airport received fourth best airport award after the renewal and up-gradation.
7. Mobile Penetration in India.
India ranked 5th in Mobile penetration in 2004-05 and after it was opened up for private participation in 2005-06 I suppose, there has been amazing growth, by 2013 India jumped 3 places ahead to 2nd place closing in on the gap with China, the unprecedented growth in telecom services could be attributed UPA govt.
8. JNNURM, 2005
As the first national flagship programme for urbanisation, JNNURM has been effective in renewing focus on the urban sector across the country.
Over 80 per cent of the funds committed have been for projects in water supply, sewerage, drainage, and solid waste management, reflecting the reality that most cities still have significant backlog in the provision of basic urban services to all their residents, especially the poor.
While we are looking at Smart cities now under Modi Govt which seems to be his pet project, the contribution of JNNURM can’t be undermined, esp with the kind of testimonials from AP, Karnataka and Maharashtra which have implemented this well.
9. Expansion of Education
Increased spending on Mid day Meal scheme, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan through Education cess, saw a great increase in Gross Enrollment ratio from 2004-2013, and around 44 new Central Universities came up which includes 10 NITs, 5 IITs, 6 Law Universities. Overall education policy of UPA was very good.
10. Owing to Immunization programmes of UPA, no new polio case reported since 2011.
Thus, UPA- I has been very good.
But, their second tenure changed everything. Whatever they achieved was all wasted, what followed post 2010-11 are half baked policies, like AADHAR, LAND ACQUISITION ACT, GST bill which got no consensus from states despite having Congress Govts, Tax Terrorism by Retrospective taxation on Vodafone and Nokia.
I guess I need not list the scams that followed.
While Narendra Modi Govt has been very good so far, with high enthusiasm, it reminds me of UPA Govt, which was similar in its first phase. The real test of NDA will be their next three years and their second term which I am sure they will come back and win.