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Yearender: How Successful Has Been PM Narendra Modi's 'Acche Din'?

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| December 30 , 2015 , 16:11 IST
As 2015 comes to an end, Digital Indians have been abuzz with PM Narendra Modi's 'Acche Din' highlighting some good, the bad and the ugly of this iconic statement. This is the author's take on some incidents and issues India faced and addressed. This post in not a swan-song of PM Modi's achievements nor another Modi-bashing post. While most agree that citizens have to now 'pull up their socks' to make India a better place, many also suggested that more needs to be done. The post will address India's response to Yemen crisis, Indian railway, Swacch Bharat, FDI, and communal tensions to name a few. More than anything, some key highlights of 'Acche Din' have been India's evacuation effort for not just Indian nationals but many others. Take this tweet: Sabah Shawesh, a Yemeni woman married to an Indian, tweeted at 12.30 am on April 4, “This is my little son and source of love. Wish him to reach India safe [sic].” She was in Sanaa with her eight-month-old son and was waiting to be evacuated by the Indian government. Swaraj tweeted Sunday, at 8.12 pm, “Welcome home baby and @SabahShawesh.” She had reached out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Twitter on March 31, and had identified herself as PIO card holder. After MEA got their details verified, they were safely evacuated from the crisis zone. Not only Sabah, even the US with its massive Seventh Fleet was unable to rescue their nationals sending message to India to assist evacuating their own nationals via the Indian navy. Not 'Acche Din' for Yemen or even the US but certainly made Indians swell with pride for this 'Acche Din' of our diplomatic and naval prowess. Then there is the Railways. One of the highest employer anywhere in the world, the Indian railways is always in the news for all the wrong reasons, be it failure of improving rail infrastructure or the repeated accidents, Suresh Prabhu, the Railways Minister knows he has a Herculean task ahead of him. But what better way to show response time than via using social media to make commuters know Railway officials are at hand with just a simple tweet. Consider the following stories: A lady named Namrata felt harassed by the behaviour of a male passenger and was very scared as she was travelling alone. She tweeted to the railway ministry for help, a senior officer, Ved Prakash took note of the tweet instantly and contacted the Central Railway chief PRO, Narendra Patil. rail safety Or this incident: A passenger on the Yesvantpur-Bikaner train, Pankaj Jain, was travelling with his father who suffered from paralysis. Pankaj was taking him to Butati Dham where free treatment is offered. The closest stop to this was Merta Road. The train stopped there for just 3-5 minutes, and Pankaj did not know how he would manage to alight from the train with his ailing father in that short span of time. He also needed wheelchair assistance. pankaj jain rail tweets Which was soon followed with this update: pankaj jain tweet Often overlooked is the uplift given to 'Brand India' due to PM Modi's foreign tours. In 2015, India became the number destination for Foreign Direct Investment, beating US and China. India's Nation Brand Value shows unprecedented growth of 32% in 2015 , making India 7th Most Valuable Nation. Talking about Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, in the first year itself 95 lakh toilets were built, which was not only for hygiene purpose but also strongly addressed by PM Modi on the ramparts of Red Fort as an issue of women safety who do not have to leave the house during night to address the most basic of human neccessities. The Modi-led LPG subsidy also saw around 806 crore subsidy users giving up this priveldge in a bid to boost spread of gas supplies to rural India. FactChecker found that as many as 5,037,181 people have given up their LPG subsidy as of November 26, 2015, according to data from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, which is 26% higher than Modi's quoted figure. PM Modi launched the #GiveItUp campaign on March 27, 2015 urging citizens who can afford to pay the market price to voluntarily surrender their LPG subsidy. Of course there are times when a tweet was asked for from the Prime Minister but was found wanting. Remember Dadri lynching? It took him two weeks from the time of the incident to tell the nation that it was a "unfortunate and unwarranted". And Bihar election which followed, nailed them out in the recent state elections. Not so much of 'Acche Din' for BJP. As one Quora user puts it aptly, "For me, achhe din will be when the Adivasis are given respect, women are free to do what they want and when rapes, dowry deaths and gender-based discrimination are only isolated incidents. Achhe din will come when there are no communal riots, and even if sporadic outbursts occur, the victims will at least receive proper compensation. The laws should be just and based on a more holistic development. Mere electoral victory doesn’t change anything here." (Story inspired by Quora)