The PM Narendra Modi has unequivocally committed himself to work for and serve all sections of society.
There was a time in West Bengal, particularly in the 50s, 60s and 70s, when people, in general, liked and supported the leftists and liberals not only because of ideological leanings but also because of their leaders’ humane attitude, simple lifestyle, sense of value and sincerity and commitment to the society and nation. These leaders realized that socialism/ communism was not attainable; instead by coming to power under the system of parliamentary democracy, they can provide welfare to the people and the nation. But after coming to power, such incorruptible leaders were side-lined and instead people with loyalty to the party and to own self came into prominence.
Simultaneously, party loyalty was given preference over merit in govt recruitments, especially of teachers. Local committees were illegally formed and empowered to administer the locality even on social and family matters. Such corrupt and dictatorial methods gradually distanced the people from the party and ultimately led to their rejection by the electorate.
Modi has empowered and therefore has the support of newly emerging consumer class who are driven by aspirations rather than feudal style handouts.
All this happened when in post-Partition West Bengal, with the refugee influx and their sufferings, people were attracted towards leftist ideologies. Even globally there were many revolutionary and anti-capitalist movements. This was the time of “Cold War’’. USSR, a communist country was a superpower. The USA was losing a war to Vietnam. These also supported left movement in India.
But things have changed over time. Today, it is a world of marketing, consumerism, globalization and high technology. Today’s youth is an aspiring class and does not feel attracted to leftist ideologies. If at all, the concept of the welfare state may appeal to them.
Now let us look at the present Indian situation. Modi has come back with a massive mandate. The reason, therefore, is manifold. But one important reason is the trust reposed in Modi by the general public and poor because of his sincere, hard-working and incorruptible image and his initiation and implementation of many social welfare schemes for the welfare of specific sections of the society or public in general. The flagship welfare schemes of Modi government such as Jan Dhan Yojana, Swachh Bharat Mission, Atal Pension Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Ayushman Bharat Yojana and related infrastructure schemes such as rural roads and electrification have worked well with the rural and urban poor. Good work is done by the centre in Assam and Northeast has also yielded dividend. Finally, Modi has empowered and therefore has the support of newly emerging consumer class who are driven by aspirations rather than feudal style handouts.
Modi govt. has started its second term with the expansion of coverage of its pension scheme, PM-KISAN Yojana to all 14.5 crore farmers, irrespective of the size of their landholdings, and the revamping of Central Sector Scheme of National Overseas Scholarship for Schedule Caste etc (2018-19). It has also announced a new welfare scheme for minorities, scholarships to 5 cr minority students in next 5 yrs; and modernization of ‘madrassa’ education.
In fact, the PM has unequivocally committed himself to work for and serve all sections of society. And he obviously thinks that bringing the marginalized into the mainstream is essential to realize the dream of turning India into the world’s third-largest economy. In other words, the present govt. can be said to be consciously working towards a welfare state, which is a system whereby the state undertakes to protect the health and well-being of its citizens, especially those in financial or social need, by means of grants, pensions, and other benefits.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.