United Progressive Alliance (2004-09)
Major work, Initiatives & Implications
The UPA said that its objective was to trigger a development process which ensured broad-based improvement in the quality of life of people, especially the poor, the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, and minorities. The government also sought to bring about a more regionally balanced development.
- The average person’s spending in urban areas went up 12.9% under the UPA (2004-2009) compared to a 6.7% jump under the NDA regime (1999-2004).
- The years after 2004 saw the government waive unpaid farm loans, an announce pay hikes for government employees through the sixth pay commission and put in place its flagship rural employment guarantee scheme (NREGS). The National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme was extended to all rural districts across the country.
- The period from 2004 onwards saw a rise in consumer durables industry and other allied services.
- With the launch of its flagship Programmes, namely, Bharat Nirman, National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme. National Rural Health Mission, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, modified “Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan” with expanded Mid-Day Meal Programme. The Government put in place an “architecture for inclusive growth” during its four years in office.
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- In meeting these objectives the Government gave high priority to a revitalization of agriculture. The empowerment of our farmers and the modernization of the rural economy. Terms of trade have improved for agriculture, in particular by increasing the minimum support price for foodgrains, increased investment in irrigation, agricultural research and rural infrastructure.
- The Government ensured that the rate of inflation brought down from around 6% in 2003-2004 to a little over 3% in the years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006.
- The sharp escalation in oil prices and in the price of metals, especially steel, and foodgrains impacted our domestic economy. The Government took several measures to deal with this challenge. Controls were imposed on commodity exports, tariffs reduced to encourage cheaper imports, fiscal and monetary policy initiatives were taken by the authorities.
- The special emphasis laid on the empowerment through education of scheduled castes. And also scheduled tribes, other backward classes and minority communities and women.
- The Government also took important initiatives in the fields of healthcare, urban development and the modernization of infrastructure.
UPA 2(2009-14): Major work & initiatives & implications
The UPA government completed 5 years in office in its second term in May 2014 amidst uncertainty over passage of key economic legislation. And the crisis of confidence in the bureaucracy, corruption charges eroding its already tattered credibility. And raging inflation and an overall economic situation marked by a downturn in manufacturing and investments.
Economist-turned-politician Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, who even risked his government in the first term on the Indo-US nuclear deal, appeared to be buffeted by scams, especially the 2G and Coal scandal.
Despite obvious signs of failure, the government appears unwilling to accept its underperformance. The Prime Minister can credit with achievements as a sharp decline in poverty. Also higher growth rate in agriculture, record food grain Production (crossing 250 million tonnes for the first time). Loans worth more than Rs 2 lakh crore to small farmers, reforms in education and increase in power generation capacity.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi listed MNREGA as a vital instrument of rural transformation, social security schemes. And insurance for workers in the unorganized sector, several women-centric schemes, easy loans to farmers and Adhaar as solid steps for the welfare of the common man. The UPA chief allayed any doubts about the commitment to economic reforms. Stressing the importance of high growth to sustain social sector investments.
Following is a look at the government’s achievements
Right to Education
- In April 2010, the government notified a scheme of free education for all children up to 14.
Skill development programme
- A Programme to develop specific skills and meet labor shortfalls till 2022 launched.
Unique Identification Number Authority
- It was the Big Idea of the UPA Government have a biometrics-based identification system that would prevent leakages, duplication, and corruption. Headed by technocrat Nandan Nilekani UID or Aadhaar mired in controversies ranging from cost overruns to turf wars with agencies engaged in similar work. But is now making steady progress.
Relations with Pakistan
- Normalisation of relations with Pakistan has proceeded apace.
National Food Security Bill 2013
- This law aims at providing subsidized food grains to two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people. According to the law, 75% of rural. And 50 % of the Urban population entitled to 5 kg food grains per month at Rs.3, Rs.2, Rs.1 per kg of rice, wheat and millet respectively.
Land Acquisition Bill 2013
- This act has provision to provide fair compensation to those whose land taken away, brings transparency to the process of acquisition of land to set up factories and assures rehabilitation of those affected.
Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill
- This will help extend person cover to more citizens of the country through PFRDA’s new Pension Schemes.