The first reforms launched by the government of Manmohan Singh (formed after the 2004 elections with the external support of the Left Front) and aimed in particular at the agricultural sector, the one less involved in economic growth and more exposed to its negative repercussions, only reached partially the expected results. In particular, the law of August 2005 (National rural employment guarantee act, which entered into force in 2006), which provided for the guaranteed minimum wage for rural families, proved on the whole inadequate to cope with the growing hardship of a large part of farmers., on the one hand subject to the expropriation of land for the construction of new industrial areas, on the other hand crushed by debts and victims of usury due to difficulties in accessing credit. The crisis in the countryside must, in large part,
A controversial role in this critical context was then represented by the establishment, in 2005, of the Special economic zones (SEZ), or special development areas, aimed at attracting foreign capital through special tax incentives. The creation of these areas led to an extensive expropriation, often forced, of arable land whose owners, largely poor peasants, were suddenly uprooted from their reality with insufficient compensation and above all without a credible alternative, such as work. industrial for which they possessed neither the professional skills nor the cultural tools. A further element of impoverishment for the most disadvantaged sections of the population, such as the Dalits (individuals of the lowest condition, placed outside the traditional castes) and tribal minorities (ethnic groups descending from the oldest residents of India), was then constituted by the extension, again for economic reasons, of the prohibitions on access to forest resources, previously open to the use of communities. Not surprisingly, precisely in the poorest regions, concentrated above all in the central and north-eastern states (Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh), the armed movement had regained strength already in the early years of the 21st century. of Maoist inspiration of the Naxalites. The gravity of the situation prompted the government, in March 2008, to launch important measures that included a large budget for the cancellation of the debts of 40 million farmers, the abolition of all taxes for the weakest segments of the population, the increase in allocations for social expenditure (20% for education and 15% for health), the increase in the tax rate on financial capital gains. A new law, passed in 2008 and entered into force in 2009, the Unorganized workers social security act, also aimed to extend the welfare system to day workers, housewives and other particularly vulnerable categories. This last measure, however, did not have significant effects. In a context, however, marked by strong elements of social crisis, intercommunal clashes were often repeated, which in August 2008, in the State of Orissa, as had already happened in Gujarat in 2002, took on a particularly violent character,
On the international level, the government continued its policy of good relations with the United States, so much so that it asked for trust in July 2008 for the definitive ratification of the agreement on the supply of nuclear technologies, even knowing that it would lose the support of the Left. front, which has always been critical of these choices (the majority was guaranteed by the support of the Samajwadi party, a regional party of Uttar Pradesh). In April 2008, New Delhi hosted the first India-Africa forum summit, testifying to the interest of the UI in expanding its commercial sphere of influence. Relations with Pakistan remained alternating. For India 2005, please check ehealthfacts.org.
Demonstration against the government
India, in transforming itself into a world economic power, capable of playing a role in the international chessboard, therefore remained a country full of contradictions which, in 2007, hosted a third of the planet’s poor and the largest population of malnourished children, who it boasted a high-level university education, but a very inefficient basic school system, and which in the Human Development Report, drawn up by the UN in 2007, was 128th out of 177 countries. The growth of social inequalities was also impressive while government policies did not seem to be able to reduce the now historic regional differences. According to economists Amartya Sen and Jean Drèze, looking at India one could see “islands of California in a sea of sub-Saharan Africa”.
The legislative elections of April-May 2009 saw the confirmation of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the Indian national congress (I), which won 262 seats out of 543, the defeat of the conservative grouping of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which received 159 seats and that of the Third Front, the coalition of left-wing parties (79 seats), which fell heavily in the two states it ruled, Kerala and West Bengal. In particular, the Congress obtained 206 seats against 116 of the Bharatiya janata party (BJP). For the Congress and its allies it was a clear-cut, albeit not overwhelming, affirmation due to a skilful electoral campaign that had involved the sons of Sonja Gandhi, Priyanka, brilliant and charismatic, and above all Rahul, who had been appointed general secretary of the party in 2007 and had pledged to give the Congress a party image of the people. The new government found itself operating in a context of unfavorable global economic conditions that determined a marked slowdown in GDP growth, below 5% in 2012, and an increase in inflation, which exceeded 10% in the same year. The crisis once again hit the poorest part of the population, which was suffering from an increasingly difficult access to social services, especially health services. The government seemed struggling to give convincing answers as it was undermined by numerous corruption-related scandals. This phenomenon was at the center of a vast mobilization of civil society and saw the birth of movements and parties, such as the Aam aadmi party (AAP, the Party of the Common Man), founded in November 2012 and which, in the local elections of New Delhi, came out as the second force. In December 2013, Parliament approved a new anti-corruption law, and according to the Transparency international index of the same year, the UI occupied 94th place out of 177 (85th out of 175 countries in the 2014 ranking). Slow and inadequate then appeared the government response to the group rape of a girl, which took place in New Delhi in December 2012, which brought thousands of demonstrators to the streets and brought to the attention of the it occupied 94th place out of 177 (85th out of 175 countries in the 2014 ranking). Slow and inadequate then appeared the government’s response to the group rape of a girl, which took place in New Delhi in December 2012, which brought thousands of demonstrators to the streets and brought to the attention of the it occupied 94th place out of 177 (85th out of 175 countries in the 2014 ranking). Slow and inadequate then appeared the government response to the group rape of a girl, which took place in New Delhi in December 2012, which brought thousands of demonstrators to the streets and brought to the attention of the average the dramatic condition of women in India is international. In a very uncertain situation and marked by the immobility and lack of political courage of the government, the general elections for the lower house were held in April-May 2014. The victory went to the BJP, led by Narendra Modi, who obtained an absolute majority of the seats, 282 (the conservative NDA grouping a total of 336), while the Congress suffered the most sensational defeat in its history, winning only 44 seats (at the progressive alliance, UPA, 59 left). Modi was, since 2002, governor of Gujarat which under his administration had experienced a notable economic development, albeit marked by strong inequalities. Standard bearer of privatizations, great speaker, skilled in the use of social networks, A decision-maker and authoritarian, he had run an election campaign with unprecedented availability of funds, promising millions of jobs and growth. The son of a tea seller, he had been able to exploit his origins to testify a closeness to the people in contrast with his opponent, Rahul Gandhi, who was represented as the scion, rich and bourgeois, of a dynasty that has always been linked to power. However, Modi’s reputation was tainted by accusations of having allowed, or even encouraged, Hindu extremists during the violence that broke out in Gujarat in 2002, charges for which the United Kingdom and the United States had denied him an entry visa, a measure revoked in 2012., after a special commission of inquiry, appointed by the Indian Supreme Court, had acquitted him. However, many shadows remained on the actual responsibilities of the BJP leader, especially if one takes into account his ideological background: Modi had been a well-known militant of the far-right movement, Rashtriya swayamsevak sangh, pillar of Hindu nationalism. The first months of the Modi government were marked by intense diplomatic activity: foreign policy, as clearly stated in the electoral program, was instrumental in the search for new foreign investments, the make in India that Modi himself had experienced in Gujarat. Japan, China, the United States, Australia were the first interlocutors of this strategy. In this new context there was also the problem, which arose with Italy and bequeathed by the previous government, concerning the two navy riflemen, on anti-piracy service on a merchant ship, arrested in February 2012 on charges of murder for having killed two Indian fishermen, mistaken for pirates.