At 1 year mark, 62% citizens feel Modi Government 2.0 has met their expectations
- • 79% feel the Government effectively handled the parliament & delivered key bills
- • 69% citizens feel optimistic about their family’s future in India
- • 90% feel Government of India has effectively handled the COVID-19 pandemic
- • Only 29% feel Government was able to address unemployment issues
- • 52% felt harassment by tax officials had reduced in the last year
28th May 2020, New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Government will soon be completing the 1st year of its second term. In a year that has been full of ups and downs, the Government has made many bold moves, some of which have also been highly criticised by other political parties. 1 year after electing PM Modi by a big mandate, citizens via LocalCircles – India’s leading community social media platform, have looked at 15 key areas of Government functioning and rated the performance of Modi Government 2.0.
LocalCircles conducted its 1 year of Modi Government 2.0 performance survey from April 30th - May 14th 2020, a period when most of the nation was in lockdown mode as the COVID-19 continued to impact India with number of cases rising each week.
In the survey, citizens were asked for their feedback on the Government’s performance in 15 different areas in the last 1 year. The survey received 1,27,000+ votes from over 65,000 citizens across 280 districts of the country.
This year, a total of 62% citizens said that the Government has either met or exceeded their expectations in the last 1 year. Around 26% citizens said the Government has exceeded their expectations while 36% citizens said that the Government met their expectations. This means that in the first year, many citizens have rated Modi Government 2.0 as meeting or exceeding expectations. This could be due to a variety of factors like:
1) Government’s tough stance against terrorism
2) Government’s efforts to improve relations with foreign countries and India’s growing global influence
3) Many important and pending bills being passed in the Parliament
4) India’s promptness in taking tough steps early to control the COVID-19 pandemic
In January this year, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme implementation predicted that the Indian economy would grow at the rate of 5% in 2019-20, which was the lowest in the last decade. While the Government was already fighting the economic downturn, the novel Coronavirus pandemic has pulled the economy back even further. 4 phases of lockdown have already been announced and all, small, medium and large companies have suffered huge losses, leading to job losses and business closures.
The Government also announced a Rs. 20 lakh crore Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan economic stimulus package to revive India’s economy track after the COVID-19 pandemic which led to a nation-wide lockdown of more than 60 days.
All of this being said, citizens of the country have placed their belief in Narendra Modi and majority of them continue to feel optimistic about India post the COVID-19 situation. This report gives a clear indication on where the Government stands on their expectations.
State of the Economy
Many things determine a citizen’s quality of life in a country. Some of these are rate of inflation, income, cost of living, public amenities, transport, infrastructure etc. However, only 36% citizens in the LocalCircles poll said that prices of essential commodities and cost of living has reduced in the last 1 year.
India jumped to 63rd position in World Bank's Ease of Doing Business 2020 report, compared to the 77th spot in 2019, marking an improvement of 14 places. However, the Government fell slightly short of its target of being in the top 50. India has done substantially well in areas like starting a business, import-export trade permits, resolving insolvency etc. and businesses have appreciated these efforts. When asked if they feel doing business has been easier in the last 1 year, 43% said yes and 33% said no. 24% were unsure.
Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, India’s unemployment rate saw a major spike in March and April 2020 which is the highest in the last few years. Although through schemes like Make in India the Government encouraged manufacturing of masks, PPEs and testing kits and has been reasonably successful. However, the near 2-month long COVID-19 lockdown is forcing many businesses to cut back, or in some cases shut down thereby leading to many companies laying off employees and contributing to unemployment numbers. Various sectors have been demanding a bailout package from the Government to prevent their businesses from folding up. In a poll, citizens were asked if India has been able to address the unemployment situation in the last 1 year. 29% answered in a ‘yes’ and 56% answered in a ‘no’.
When it came to tax harassment, 52% said they believe harassment by tax officials has reduced in the last 1 year.
Eliminating corruption was an important part of the Modi Government’s election manifesto of both 2014 and 2019. Although many steps have been taken by them to fight corruption, questions have been raised over their effectiveness. In 2019, India dropped two spots to No. 80 in the rankings of the Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International that ranks 180 countries. The Prevention of Corruption Act has acted as a deterrent for Government employees to indulge in bribery. The Government has been compulsorily retiring officers like CBIC officers, IRS officers, CBDT officers of higher ranks against whom there were charges of corruption, showing their commitment to the cause. In the corruption related poll, 49% citizens also believe corruption in India has reduced in the last 1 year. The Government has also introduced electronic scrutiny system where there is no manual intervention of any Government officer and the entire interaction would be faceless.
Foreign Affairs, Communalism and Terrorism
India attracted an estimated $49 billion of FDI in 2019, which is a 16% increase from the $42 billion recorded in 2018. India’s relations with other countries have been on a high for the last 6 months with the US President visiting India in late February, followed by India helping more than 50 countries like USA, Brazil, Malaysia, France, Netherland, UK etc. with Hydroxychloroquine as grants as well as on commercial basis to treat Coronavirus. India’s image got negatively impacted somewhat due to the Delhi riots but the Government has done well to restore normalcy. Even during the lockdown, Delhi Police has been busy cracking down on rioters who were involved. When citizens were asked if they feel India's image and influence in the world has improved in the last 1 year, 79% voted in its favour.
In the last 12 months, the Indian Army has been in a heightened state of alert and multiple intelligence agencies have been working together to foil any major terrorist attack. Citizens were asked if they believe terrorism and acts of terror in India/against Indians have reduced in the last 1 year. 73% said yes while 23% said no.
The verdict of the Ayodhya case, which has been bitterly contested for decades due to religious sentiments, was announced by the Supreme Court in November 2019. Ahead of the verdict, there were fears of violence but the Government handled the situation very well and no communal incidents were reported. However, the Delhi communal riots negatively impacted Government’s image as the riots went on for 48 hours with Delhi Police unable to control the situation. Only 56% citizens felt that the Government has been effective in handling issues related to communalism in the last 1 year.
Functioning of the Parliament
The Parliament took some bold decisions in the last 1 year. This included the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir and the scrapping of Article 370, bringing in the Triple Talaq Bill 2019, Consumer Protection Act 2019 and Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, just to name a few. In just the Winter Session of the Parliament, the productivity of Lok Sabha turned out to be around 116% and that of Rajya Sabha around 100%. PM Modi also mentioned that in the 17th Lok Sabha, the Parliamentarians broke the 60-year record and were very productive. On this key parameter, 79% citizens felt the Government has been able to effectively handle Parliament and deliver on key bills in the last 1 year.
Mood of the Citizens
Some experts say that India has done well in containing the spread of Coronavirus by locking down early. Stats show that after completing 10 lakh COVID-19 tests, India has the lowest numbers of COVID-19 positive cases compared to most countries in the world. The 3-week lockdown announced in late March and extended thrice with various relaxations will total to 70 days of lockdown till May 31. Many from around the world have commended India’s total lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For a country with the second largest population in the world, India has done reasonably well, as compared to Europe, China and America in controlling the infection and death rates due to COVID-19. India’s death rate per lakh of its population stands at 0.3, compared to an average of 4.1 worldwide. The massive challenge that India faces now is balancing safety from the virus with the economic well being. As jobs and salaries are cut and earnings for the year FY20-21 decline for a large majority of the citizens, consumer spending and economic growth is set to take a hit.
When it came to the future outlook, 69% citizens in the survey said they feel optimistic about their family’s future in India. India was already witnessing an economic downturn when the Novel Coronavirus shook the entire world, but citizens are surprisingly positive about the future outlook for themselves and their families in India and feel that India will be able to overcome all hurdles to emerge victorious at the end in this fight.
Delivery to Promises Made & Overall Ratings
Before the Modi Government got re-elected in 2019, the NDA manifesto promised many things to the citizens. In January this year, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the Government had delivered on 90% of the promises made in their election manifesto. He also said that the Modi government takes decisions not to make people feel good, but to make their lives better. A section of the citizenry does seem to agree with the Home Minister as 59% people in the survey said that they feel the Government at 1 year mark seems to be on track to deliver on the promises made in its pre-election manifesto.
Overall, 25% citizens in this year’s survey rated the 1-year performance of Modi Government 2.0 as exceeding expectation while 36% rated it as meeting expectation. 38% said that the performance was below expectations. This means that 62% citizens approve of the work done by the Modi Government 2.0 in its first year.
Details of the Polls:
Poll 1 – Reduction in Unemployment
The first question asked if India has been able to address the unemployment situation in the last 1 year. 29% said yes while 56% said no.
Poll 2 – Ease of Doing Business
When asked if they feel doing business has been easier in the last 1 year, 43% said yes and 33% said no. 24% were unsure.
Government has said that many key reforms for Ease of Doing Business are in the pipeline including direct listing of securities by Indian public companies in permissible foreign jurisdictions. Government has also announced suspension of fresh initiation of insolvency proceedings up to one year and has also decided to exclude COVID-19 related debt from the definition of “default” under IBC.
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: Only 43% citizens believe Doing Business has become easier in the last 1 year
Poll 3 – India’s image in the world
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: 79% citizens believe India’s image and influence in the world has improved in the last 1 year
India’s relations with other countries have been on a high for the last few months, especially during the COVID-19 crises after India helped more than 50 countries like USA, Brazil, Malaysia, France, Netherland, UK etc. with Hydroxychloroquine as grants as well as on commercial basis to treat Coronavirus. Citizens were asked if they feel India's image and influence in the world has improved in the last 1 year, and 79% voted in its favour while only 15% voted against it.
Poll 4 – Handling the COVID-19 Crisis
This poll asked citizens how they felt the Government of India has handled the COVID-19 pandemic so far. 59% said it has been handled ‘very effectively’ while 31% said it has been handled ‘somewhat effectively’. Only 7% said the handling has not been effective while 3% said it has been handled poorly. This means that whopping 90% citizens believe India has effectively handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: A whopping 90% citizens believe India has effectively handled the COVID-19 pandemic
Poll 5 – Reduction in Corruption
Eliminating corruption was an important part of the Modi Government’s election manifestos of both 2014 and 2019. Although many steps have been taken by them to fight corruption, questions have been raised over their effectiveness. In the corruption related poll, 49% citizens said they believe corruption in India has reduced in the last 1 year, while 43% said it had not reduced. 8% did not have an opinion.
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: Only 49% citizens believe Corruption in India has reduced in the last 1 year
Poll 6 – Reduction in harassment by Tax Officials
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: 52% citizens believe harassment by tax officials has reduced in the last 1 year
52% citizens said they believe harassment by tax officials has reduced in the last 1 year, while 22% said it has not reduced. 26% were not sure about it. Several reforms were introduced by the Government in the last 1 year to eliminate human interfaces with electronic interfaces such that the room for harassment is minimised. It is also expected that in the coming years, the Government will continue to introduce additional technology and data intelligence such that it can go after the tax evaders in a much more targeted manner without any harassment of the tax complaint citizens and businesses.
The Aatmanirbhar Bharat scheme, announced to provide assistance to citizens and businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced TDS and TCS withholding rates by 25 per cent with immediate effect till March 31, 2021, to create liquidity for businesses and citizens. While the tax has not been reduced and ultimately the individual or the business will have to deposit the tax amount at the year end, it does provide some liquidity in the immediate term. Also, the due date of all income tax returns was also extended from July 31 and October 31 to November 30, 2020. Tax audits were extended to 31 Oct 2020.
Poll 7 – Handling Communalism Issues
The verdict of the Ayodhya case, which has been bitterly contested for decades due to religious sentiments, was announced by the Supreme Court in November 2019. Ahead of the verdict, there were fears of violence but the Government handled the situation very well and no communal incidents were reported. However, the Delhi communal riots negatively impacted Government’s image as the riots went on for 48 hours with Delhi Police unable to control the situation. As a result, only 56% citizens felt that the Government has been effective in handling issues related to communalism in the last 1 year. 40% citizens disagreed and 4% did not have an opinion.
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: 56% citizens believe the Government has been effective in handling issues related to Communalism in the last 1 year
Poll 8 – The Startup Sector
The Startup India Mission was launched to help startups in India get an inclusive environment and foster their growth. With around 20,000 registered startups (per Startup India website), India has the world’s 2nd largest startup ecosystem, which has also been a large employment generator for the country for the last decade. When asked if establishing, operating and growing a startup become easier in the last 1 year, 37% answered in a positive while 31% answered in a negative.
While the Government has eased out administrative processes to register a startup, apply for patents, doing business with the Government or Indian corporates and getting paid on time continues to be a challenge for startups. Most Government departments continue to be reluctant in working with startups and awarding contracts to them and most of the payments are late creating a liquidity crisis for revenue dependent startups. On the funding front, early stage investments continued to decline in 2019 due to the macro environment and have literally come to a standstill post COVID-19. There is an urgent need for the Government to step in to save the Indian startup ecosystem where per an earlier LocalCircles survey conducted in the last week of April, 71% startups have less than 3 months of cash left with them and almost no funding deals in the pipeline.
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: Only 37% citizens believe establishing, operating and growing a startup has become easier in the last 1 year
Poll 9 – Reduction in prices of essential commodities and cost of living
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: Only 36% citizens believe prices of essential commodities and the cost of living has reduced in the last 1 year
36% citizens said they feel the prices of essential commodities and the cost of living has reduced in the last 1 year while 56% felt it had not happened. While average inflation in 2019 was 4.5%, prices of essential commodities have largely been in control. However, post the lockdown since March 22, prices of essentials paid by consumers on the ground have been higher than usual due to the lack of supply availability and in some cases overcharging by traders and retailers.
Poll 10 – Reduction in Terrorism
In the last 12 months, the Indian Army has been in a heightened state of alert and multiple intelligence agencies have been working together to foil any major terrorist attack. Post Pulwama attack in February 2019, there were no major terrorist incidents in 2019 barring a few attacks in Jammu and Kashmir in March and June 2019. Citizens were asked if they believe terrorism and acts of terror in India/against Indians have reduced in the last 1 year. 73% said yes while 23% said no.
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: 73% citizens believe terrorism and acts of terror in India/against Indians have reduced in the last 1 year
Poll 11 – Government’s handling of Parliament
The Parliament took some bold decisions in the last 1 year. This included the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir and the scrapping of Article 370, The Triple Talaq Bill 2019, Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 and the Consumer Protection Act 2019. In just the Winter Session of the Parliament, the productivity of Lok Sabha turned out to be around 116% and that of Rajya Sabha around 100%. PM Modi also mentioned that in the 17th Lok Sabha, the Parliamentarians broke the 60-year record and were very productive. On this key parameter, 79% citizens felt the Government has been able to effectively handle Parliament and deliver on key bills in the last 1 year. 19% felt that they weren’t able to effectively handle the parliament and deliver on key bills.
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: 79% citizens believe Government has effectively handled parliament and delivered on key bills in the last 1 year
Poll 12 – Delivering to Manifesto Promises
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: 59% citizens believe Government is on track to deliver to the promise made in its manifesto (pre-election 2019)
The NDA manifesto included key items like abrogation of article 360 and Triple Talaq and bringing in the National Register of Citizens. All 3 of these were delivered by the Government in the last 1 year. When people were asked about Government’s delivery to manifesto, 59% people said that they feel the Government is on track to deliver on the promises made in its pre-election manifesto.
Poll 13 – Optimism about Future
Pre COVID-19, India was one of the fastest growing economies in the world. An aspirational society, lifestyle in India for especially the hardworking and the educated has significantly improved in the last 2 decades. While COVID-19 has put a temporary break on things, the people of India are still largely optimistic about their future and many strongly believe that India is yet to arrive. Citizens were asked if they feel optimistic about their and family's future in India. A whopping 69% answered in a positive while 25% answered in a negative.
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: 65% citizens feel optimistic about their & their family’s future in India
Poll 14 – Tackling Pollution
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: Only 39% citizens believe Government has taken enough measures to improve air quality in the last 1 year
Pollution in the country has been a big talking point over the years. 10 of the cities with the worst quality in the world are in India led by none other than the National Capital Region of India. With PM 2.5 hitting 1000+ for many days in the months of October and November each year, Indian needs an urgent solution to this crisis. The solution requires ensuring an end to burning of farm stubble by making sure crop sowing cycles have timely availability of water and stubble is either decomposed naturally or picked up by a Government facilitated service. This along with modern street cleaning equipment, restricted vehicular movement, etc must be implemented. When citizens were asked about the efforts taken by the Government to reduce pollution, 53% citizens said the Government did not take enough measures to improve air quality in the last 12 months. 39% said they felt enough steps were taken.
Poll 15 – Overall Performance
In the final question, citizens were asked about overall performance of Modi Government 2.0. Overall, 25% citizens rated the 1-year performance of Modi Government 2.0 as exceeding expectations while 36% rated it as meeting their expectations. 38% said that the performance was below expectations.
1 year of Modi Government 2.0: 62% citizens believe Government has met or exceeded expectations
Comparison of Year 2019 vs Year 2020 – Citizen Assessment of Modi Government performance
LocalCircles had conducted a similar survey last year to assess that performance of the Government in 2019. If we compare the last year’s results with this year’s results, it looks like the citizen ratings for the Government have gone down in many areas.
Last year, only 39% citizens had said that the Government has not been able to address the unemployment situation. This number has jumped to 56% this year. COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns have had a drastic effect on the already struggling Indian economy resulting in business disruption and massive job losses. This has partially contributed to the downward trending ratings on addressing unemployment in the survey.
43% this year, compared to 63% last year have said that doing business in India has become easier.
When it came to India’s influence in the world, the ratings have marginally reduced from 88% last year to 79% this year, but the approval ratings continue to be high on the backdrop of American President Donald Trump’s India visit as well as India’s move of providing Hydroxychloroquine to many countries.
Effectively handling the Parliament and delivering on key bills is one area which has seen a marked improvement. 75% this year have said that the Government has done well in this space, compared to 69% last year who said the same thing.
64% citizens last year had said that corruption in the country had reduced. This percentage has reduced to 49% in this year’s survey, indicating that lesser number of people feel that corruption has reduced in the last 1 year.
The startup sector of the country has struggled in the last 12 months. This is evident from this year’s survey results where only 37% citizens, compared to 66% last year, have said that establishing, operating and growing a startup has become easier in India. COVID-19 has also had a tremendous impact on the startup ecosystem which is now staring at a blackout.
Last year, 57% citizens had said that they feel prices of essential commodities and the cost of living had reduced. This number has dramatically dropped down to 36% this year. Some of this could be attributed to the fact that during the 4 phases of the lockdown, many consumers had reported an increase in the prices of essential commodities.
Overall, the citizen approval rating of Modi Government performance in one year has dropped from 75% in 2019 to 62% in 2020. However, its noteworthy that 69% citizens are still optimistic about their and their family’s future in India.
Summary and Way Forward
In summary, the delivery to manifesto promises like abrogation of article 370, introduction of Triple Talaq law and Citizenship Amendment Act and Ayodhya resolution along with effective handling of COVID-19 pandemic has helped Government secure the ratings that it has from citizens. Areas where the citizenry is greatly concerned and has expressed dissatisfaction include employment generation, stagnant earnings, health of small businesses, economic impact without and with COVID-19, poor air quality and handling of Delhi riots.
With the COVID-19 daily cases already at 7000 a day and an urgent need to contain the spread, an unemployment rate of 27% and fast deteriorating health of Indian businesses, the Modi Government 2.0 has its work cut out for the second year - “Contain the spread of COVID-19, minimise loss of livelihood and shutdown of business and revive the economy”.
Over 1,27,000 responses were received from over 65,000 unique citizens located in over 280 districts of India. 67% respondents were men while 33% respondents were women. 49% respondents were from tier 1, 31% from tier 2 and 20% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. They survey was conducted via the LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.
Approximately 69% of respondents were males while 31% were females. Approximately 45% of the respondents were from Tier 1 cities, 29% from Tier 2 cities and 27% from Tier 3 cities and rural locations. The average age of the poll participants was 35 years.
LocalCircles, India’s leading Community Social Media platform enables citizens and small businesses to escalate issues for policy and enforcement interventions and enables Government to make policies that are citizen and small business centric. LocalCircles is also India’s # 1 pollster on issues of governance, public and consumer interest. More about LocalCircles can be found on https://www.localcircles.com
Akshay Gupta - firstname.lastname@example.org, +91-8585909866
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