Everyone saves the best for the last. The government too, it seems, saved the best jumla for the last, less than six months before its term ends. Going by the ‘loan in 59 minutes’ project, announced recently by none else but Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one can safely say it takes the cake. As the details of the scheme emerged in bits and pieces, it has turned out to be a ‘flop show’ enacted under the patronage of the Central Government. The scheme is ‘simple’. Small and medium enterprises can avail a loan up to Rs 1 crore from any public sector bank in 59 minutes, to be precise. Go to a particular online portal, apply for the loan submitting a few documents and get the loan sanctioned. But the sugar-coated announcement turned out to be a jumbo jumla as many applicants reportedly realized it the hard way. The applicant will get an ‘in-principle’ approval letter. There ends the scheme. Then he/she has to make rounds of the banks and it may take days or weeks before the loan amount reaches the applicant. The process is as cumbersome as it is with any loan application.
Beginning 2014, there is no dearth of surprises. The thumping majority the BJP got in the general elections of that year was only a beginning. With Narendra Modi government in place, a series of surprises was unleashed. Even before people came to terms with the impact of one surprise, another one was let loose. The lead was taken by none else but the ruling party chief Amit Shah who came out with the stunning disclosure that Mr. Modi’s promise of Rs. 15 lakh will be deposited in every bank account was nothing but an ‘election jumla’ (idiomatic expression). Slowly, a barrage of promises made by the party was proved to be similar ‘jumlas’. The assurance of one crore job a year has come a cropper. Figures released by the government itself prove that the achievement in this regard is nowhere near the promise. Amit Shah’s tongue-in-cheek remark that all 125 crore people cannot be given jobs lets the cat out of the bag. Adding insult to injury, the Prime Minister himself chipped in with the comment that even selling pakoda is a job.
The promise of containing price rise, especially fuel price, has been honoured more in breach than in observance. The promise of doubling farmers’ income is seeing its ‘result’: More farmers are committing suicide. Bringing black money back into the country within 100 days of coming to power has borne fruit: More black-money holders have left India taking more black money out of the country. As jumlas, one by one, fall by the way side, the government is trying to clutch at the last straw: polarization on communal lines. It has proved to be the ruling party’s amulet many times. After Gujarat, U.P. tested it successfully in the last State elections. Who can do it better than U.P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath? His recent assertion in Telangana that leaders like ‘Assadudin Owaisi will have to flee India’ has to be seen in this context. The increasing violence by ‘gau rakshaks’ as it happened again in Yogi-land leading to the cold-blooded murder of a police officer sets a dangerous trend. In a democracy, the road to power should be result-oriented policies and programmes, not jumlas.(Published on 10th December 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 50)