India’s Resurgence: A Decade of Visionary Leadership, Reforms and Global Influence Under PM Modi

Dr Maheep*

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visionary leadership, India shines as a bastion of resilience and growth. Landmark reforms like the Goods and Services Tax (GST) foster cooperative federalism, propelling economic formalization. The Women’s Reservation Bill addresses gender disparities, complemented by cultural and economic empowerment. Abrogating Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir sparks socio-economic progress, drawing global investments. India’s architectural renaissance symbolizes tradition and modernity, reflecting evolving aspirations. Welfare measures, exemplified by Har Ghar Nal, enhance living conditions. Globally, pioneering diplomacy amplifies India’s voice, shaping consensus. Embracing infrastructure investment as a growth catalyst, India remains the world’s fastest-growing major economy. Prime Minister Modi’s focus on economic indicators underscores a narrative of progress, affirming India’s role as a beacon of growth amid global challenges.

India Today magazine, a leading English news magazine in India, has anointed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its Man of the Year for 2023. Even though the year may well be an annus horribilis for most world leaders, for Modi, it proved to be an annus mirabilis. It was not an honour for Modi the person, but a recognition of the several bold decisions that he took in the interest of the country, resulting in growth and a greater standing for India in the international arena. It makes sense to take stock of the impressive growth India has registered during the last ten years across various sectors

Modi’s first term witnessed a bold economic reform-the Goods and Services Tax (GST), transforming India into a single market with one tax regime. While initial pain was inevitable, six years on, the consensus is clear: it has been worth it. This unique dual GST model, where both centres and states collaborate, has fostered true cooperative federalism. The GST Council, with 49 meetings and nearly all decisions taken unanimously, embodies this commitment to shared progress. The Goods and Services Network (GSTN) too, despite initial hiccups, has emerged as a game-changer. Its unified platform streamlines compliance, virtually eliminating physical interaction with tax authorities. The result? A 14% annual rise in registrations, from 65 lakh to 1.4 crore, driving both economic formalization and revenue growth. From ?8.76 trillion in 2018-19 to ?13.25 trillion in 2022-23, GST collections have seen a steady 11% annual increase, solidifying its role as a catalyst for India’s economic journey.

Yet another major reform was the Women’s Reservation Bill. Passed on September 19th, 2023, it reserves one-third of seats in Lok Sabha, state legislatures, and the Delhi assembly for women. This historic law applies to seats for Scheduled Castes and Tribes as well. Though implemented only now, the journey began in 1996 under the Deve Gowda government. While India boasts of female leaders like Indira Gandhi and scientific minds like Chandrayaan-2 scientists, gender disparity remains stark. With a low 39.5% female labour force participation and societal taboos hindering progress, India ranks 135th in the global gender gap. The new law is a step towards bridging this gap. While reservations are crucial, they must be part of a larger strategy. Promoting cultural change, education, and economic empowerment will pave the way for a truly equal and inclusive society where women contribute fully to India’s development and reach its dream of becoming a developed nation.

The abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 was the third major reform which further strengthened India’s growth story. The constitutional transformation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh, has paved the way for their deeper integration into the national fabric. Citizens there now enjoy the full spectrum of rights and privileges accorded to all Indians under the Constitution and Central laws. This shift has sparked socio-economic progress in both UTs, empowering individuals, abolishing discriminatory practices, and ensuring long-overdue equality. Through the successful conduct of elections for village councils, block development councils, and district development councils, the essence of grassroots democracy has now taken root in Jammu and Kashmir, marking a significant step towards a peaceful and prosperous future. The G-20 Tourism group meeting in May 2023 presented a useful platform for the Indian government to shine a light on Jammu and Kashmir’s blossoming progress since the abrogation of Article 370.

2023 witnessed a remarkable architectural surge in India, driven by Prime Minister Modi’s emphasis on speed and solidity. In September, a mere 28 months after construction began, the nation saw the inauguration of a new Parliament complex. This “superfast-track” project, rising beside the familiar, 96-year-old circular Parliament, symbolizes a blend of tradition and modernity. Designed to accommodate future expansion for a century and beyond, it reflects the country’s evolving needs. Not far away, Pragati Maidan, another iconic landmark, underwent a monumental transformation. A brand-new, world-class convention center aptly named Bharat Mandapam now graces the premises, completed swiftly enough to be unveiled during the prestigious G20 summit. Finally, under Modi’s watchful eye, the Ram temple in Ayodhya stands ready for consecration on January 22, 2024. Through these architectural feats, 2023 has etched itself onto India’s landscape, leaving behind a legacy of ambition, progress, and political significance.

At the same time, a slew of welfare measures have been put in place during the last ten years. During the first term of the UPA government, the spotlight shone on improving essential living conditions for the underprivileged. Toilets were built, free gas connections brightened hearths, healthcare access increased with insurance cards, and homes were provided for the most vulnerable. Then, as his second term dawned, a bold mission called Har Ghar Nal was launched. It aims to bring piped drinking water to a staggering 192 million households with a colossal investment of 3.5 lakh crore rupees.
Recognizing that job creation and income growth are pillars of national development, India has opted for a bold strategy in the wake of the COVID-19 economic shock. Instead of merely offering temporary handouts, the government has turned to substantial infrastructure investment as a catalyst for growth and job opportunities. Budget 2023-24 reflects this decisive shift, with capital expenditure skyrocketing from Rs 1.88 lakh crore in 2013-14 to a staggering Rs 10 lakh crore. This translates to infrastructure development – highways, airports, railways – accelerating at an unprecedented pace, promising a robust foundation for India’s future prosperity.

India’s economic engine continues to roar, reaffirming its title as the world’s fastest-growing major economy for the second consecutive year. This is no mere achievement. The International Monetary Fund predicts India’s real GDP to stay above 6% in both 2023 and 2024, solidifying its lead over China’s projected 4-5% growth. In stark contrast, the global economy is poised for a sluggish 3% expansion, with advanced economies like the US chugging along at a meagre 1.5%. Prime Minister Modi counters criticisms of jobless growth and inflation with a barrage of statistics. He proudly showcases a fall in unemployment from 5.8% in 2018-19 to 3.2% in 2022-23, alongside a surge in labour force participation rates, from 50.2% in 2019-20 to 57.9% in 2022-23. Taming inflation is another highlight, with Modi citing an average of 5.1% during his tenure compared to a whopping 8.2% under the previous government. These figures tell a story of remarkable economic momentum, cementing India’s position as a beacon of growth in an otherwise faltering global landscape.

*The author is an eminent scholar in the field of India’s Foreign Affairs and Global Politics. He contributes regularly on critical issues.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *