Another big scheme, another poll promise
NEW DELHI: PM Narendra Modi on Monday, 25th September 2017, unveiled his latest big-ticket scheme. The Saubhagya Scheme that he launched was another visible policy initiative that ties in with his messaging for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The Saubhagya Scheme is aimed at ensuring electrification of every household in the country. The Rs 16,000 crore project proposes to use solar power to sidestep grid connectivity to remote areas, which has been the biggest challenge to last-mile electricity connections.
The electrification of every household in the country was a key, and high-visibility promise that Narendra Modi had made as part of his campaign in 2014.
This is hardly the first big-ticket announcement that the PM has used to link back to his poll promises. His government’s unprecedented announcement of the surgical strikes against Pakistan-backed terrorist infrastructure across the Line of Control had tied into his message of taking a hard line on terror.
He had then followed up with his November 8, 2016, announcement of demonetisation. This had been packaged into his promises to crack down on black money and corruption.
Another major economic agenda that the Modi government had used to bolster its reform narrative was the rollout of the Good and Services Tax (GST) beginning July 1.
Having won the last election at least in part because of a promise of economic growth, Modi has turned every large announcement of his government into an extension of the development narrative that propelled him to power.
At the launch of the Saubhagya Scheme, Modi claimed the government had ensured the creation of a sufficient manufacturing backbone to ensure the programme’s success.
However, it is probably not mere coincidence or fortune that the project’s deadline is set for March 31, 2019. That would probably be just months before the next Lok Sabha elections.