The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as the most followed world leader on photo-sharing app Instagram with a whopping 6.9 million followers, surpassing US President Donald Trump and Pope Fancis. Modi, who has put out 101 posts till date, is also the most "effective world leader" on the platform.
Similarly, in December 2015, Forbes Magazine declared Narendra Modi as the ninth most powerful leader on the planet.
The popularity of Modi has been growing ever since he assumed the office on 26 May 2014 and is expected to grow if the BJP continues to win elections and the government continues to do well on the administrative front.
Having said that, Now, the legitimate Question is – “How the growing popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is helping India in achieving its growth objectives and the Constitutional mandate of the Government?”
As an answer to this question, we present the following list of 5 initiatives of the Modi Government that were successfully implemented on the back of the popularity of Narendra Modi.
1. #GiveItUp Movement: India is a country of have’s and have not’s. Moreover, in recent years, social and economic inequalities have increased to a great extent. To bridge this gap, the government has been offering subsidies to disadvantaged sections to improve their quality of life.
However, due to discrepancies in the policy framework, these subsidies reach the rich also. And, most of the times, these rich people, who are availing the subsidy benefits, understand that the subsidised goods and services are not for them and should reach the deserved. To make this happen, they need some ‘external push’ for voluntarily giving them up.
Against this backdrop, the Prime Minister launched the #GiveItUp Movement in March 2015 to encourage rich people to give up the subsidy on LPG. This movement was much appreciated across the board and has a created a record of sorts. And, so far, the movement has motivated more than 1 crore beneficieries to give up LPG subsidy.
In order to distribute these ‘given up subsidies’ among the deserved, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana in May 2016, which is touted as the only social welfare programme ever launched by the Ministry.
2. Demonetisation: In order to curb the use of black money, on 8 November 2016, the Union Government and the RBI declared that Rs 1000 and Rs 500 rupees notes would cease to be legal tender from midnight 8-9 November 2016. In order to implement this ‘unpopular’ (at least for a few) decision with courage, the popularity of Narendra Modi among masses helped the administration to tide over the discomfort.
3. Goods and Services Tax: The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill has seen many hurdles in its life time especially in the Rajya Sabha. In garnering the support of the opposition parties to the bill, including that of Congress, in the house as well as the GST Council, the popularity of Narendra Modi became handy for his Cabinet colleague Arun Jaitley.
4. National Security: A series of attacks on Indian armed forces, including the Pathankot Attack and the Uri Attack in 2016 and Naga militants attack in 2015 called for retaliatory measures from the Indian side.
As a response, the “hot pursuit” and “surgical strikes” were launched by the Indian Army in Myanmar and Pakistan respectively. For the successful completion of these measures in a swift manner, making the neighbours understand the compulsions and priorities of India and stopping Pakistan from resorting to reactionary steps, popularity of Narendra Modi in India, the Region and across the globe was a shot in the arm.
5. Global Alliances and Diplomacy: There is no disagreement on the fact that India’s interests are intertwined with the interests of the global community. In order to leverage the benefits offered by the globalization, including the investments and technology and communicate India’s interests to the Committee of Nations, Modi’s popularity among the Indian community abroad and among the heads of Governments’ is helping a lot.
The launch of the International Solar Alliance in partnership with France on the sidelines of the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in 2015, India’s accession to Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), deepening friendship with the Middle Eastern countries in the last couple of years, signing of Nuclear agreements with Australia, Japan and Canada and the South Asia Satellite wouldn’t have become a reality without the popularity enjoyed by Narendra Modi abroad.
In the era of ‘Minimum Government’, the role of the Government has been redefined to reflect the changing social, economical and technological conditions of the society. The financial resources and the political and administrative authority are no longer sufficient to meet the growing expectations of the Indian society, which has been facing innumerable social, political and economic challenges.
In order to face these challenges in an effective manner and garner legitimacy to the path to be adopted, the popularity of the Head of the Government i.e. the Prime Minister is a boon for the country.