NEW DELHI: The Assembly election of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh were well swept by the Bhartiya Janta Party, where Congress closely followed them in both the states. It was a win-win situation for the Narendra Modi led government, as these results have bundled Congress to only four states now.
Apart from the results, there were other things which made the cult and worth appreciating. Following are the few of them:
All Women staff
The recently held assembly elections were the first of its kind where all the polling staff, police and security personnel were all women staff. Almost 182 women were responsible for the smooth conduct of the election operations. This initiative will help in bridging the gap between gender inequality.
All the contesting candidates were asked to open a new bank account and manage all election expenditures from the same. This measure helped in bettering the check on all the spending on election campaigns.
The maximum limit per candidate was set at 28 lakhs and Directorate of Income Tax Department was the supervising authority in this.
To shun any kind of malpractices by the contesting parties or candidates, the polling booths were fully covered by CCTV cameras. Even the filing of nomination papers, first level checking, dispatching of postal ballot papers, the polling process and storage of EVMs and VVPATS before and after the polling were done under the watch of cameras.
The event like Assembly elections calls for a lot of advertising practices. Be it a banner or pamphlets, these thing becomes a direct threat to our environment. So, to ensure the safety of environment during these elections, Election common directed all the candidates against the use of any polythene, plastic and other harmful materials
To make the whole event a success, voters were well informed 7 days prior to their enrolled polling station. Even to cater the needs of everyone, candidate’s photos were displayed on all the EVM machines, so that there should be no room for any confusion.
The fall of the currency of India to record lows and rising global oil prices have raised worries that the world’s fastest growing economy faces headwinds that could hurt the fortunes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party in next year’s general elections.
From people filling fuel at gas stations to thousands of students heading out to study overseas, the impact of the slumping rupee is sparking discontent.
Having plunged by about 12 percent against the dollar this year, the rupee is one of Asia’s worst faring currencies, and as in other countries, the slide has accelerated since the crash of the Turkish lira.
“The reasons are global. We must bear in mind that in last few months, dollar has strengthened against almost every currency,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently as he tried to send out reassuring signals that India’s economy is on track.
The rupee’s sharp depreciation comes at a time when the economy had recovered from a slowdown and surged to a two-year high in the quarter that ended in June. Forecasts put growth for this year at 7.5 percent.
Economy will slow
But economists warn this momentum will be difficult to sustain as the tumbling rupee, along with rising crude oil prices, takes a toll on growth. India, the world’s third largest oil importer, gets almost 80 percent of its fuel needs overseas.
“The government needs to mellow down on growth aspirations,” said N.R. Bhanumurthy, economist with the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. “The growth needs to come down to a little less than 7 percent.”
Even as the government faces the prospect of a slowing economy, it is under pressure to lower taxes on gas and diesel to bring down the sharp rise in prices. Fuel is one of the most heavily taxed items in India, with rates as high as nearly 50 percent. Prices vary from state to state, but they have gone up by about 14 percent this year.
Hoping to cash in on the growing disaffection over the surge in fuel prices and the sliding rupee, opposition parties led nationwide protests that shutdown offices and schools in several cities this week.
The government dismissed the protests, saying that although people faced momentary difficulties, they understood they were because of factors beyond its control.
Political analysts are not so sure, pointing out that fuel prices are a politically sensitive issue in India and usually result in a spike in inflation.
“Anger is rising, there is resentment,” said Satish Misra at the Observer Research Foundation, warning the ruling party will face a backlash “Obviously that is going to have a negative impact on the electoral fortunes of the Bharatiya Janata Party, there is no doubt about that.”
Warnings from economists
Among those who are upset with the high fuel prices is Rajesh Kumar, who commutes 30 kilometers to the advertising agency where he works. Hit by the higher prices that eat into his income, he has started sharing the ride with another employee.
“I have given up the idea of buying another car,” he said despondently. “I will not be able to afford the cost of running it.”
Economists however have warned the government against giving in to populist pressures ahead of a series of state polls later this year and general elections around April next year. They say lowering taxes on fuel or taking measures to prop up the currency will strain the country’s finances and hurt the economy in the long run.
“One needs to be more careful and vigilant,” Bhanumurthy said. “It is easy for India to stay with low growth than experiencing the high deficit.”
But there is also some good news for the Indian economy. The falling rupee has given a boost to some of India’s most lucrative exports, such as software services and pharmaceuticals, which add up to billions of dollars. (VOA)