As the cultural and military power of India was showcased on Rajpath on a foggy Thursday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s imprint on the show was clearly visible.
Modi’s pet scheme for imparting skill trainings for the youth found a separate tableau. This is the first time that skill development, which was made into a separate ministry when Modi came to power, was displayed in a Republic Day tableau.
Soon after the Kaushal Vikas Yojna, the Goods and Services Tax, which is caught in a political tussle, appeared as the theme of the Central Board of Excise and Customs. The roll out of the new tax regime has been delayed again and faces an uncertain future, but it didn’t deter the government from hailing the country’s biggest tax reforms before the large audience that also comprised of foreign dignitaries.
While many of the state tableaux tried to represent a mix of their cultural heritage, BJP-ruled Haryana focused on the theme of ‘beti bachao beti padhao’ (Save and Educate the Girl Child).
Modi had launched this scheme from Haryana’s Panipat three years ago and the state continues to retain it as a the dominant theme. Kushti (wrestling) too, found a mention in the Harayana tableau. But again, the state projected the women power in state wrestling—weeks after Aamir Khan’s Dangal, a film based on the lives of Phogat sisters of Haryana.
“Republic Day means the celebration of, “we the people”. But this has become another costly exercise for image building for Prime Minister and the government. The GST has not yet rolled out. The government has so far failed to bring even the states on board, let alone bringing the bills in Parliament. But there is a tableau. It shows that whether or not a scheme is implemented, a tableau can come out on it,” said CPI(M)’s Lok Sabha leader Md. Salim
Ganga rejuvenation, another ambitious project of Modi, and Make in India found little display in this year’s Republic Day parade, but the Prime Minister’s rural housing scheme made a gorgeous entry. On New Year’s eve, Modi had announced interest subvention for building residential houses in rural areas while increasing the target of building rural houses by 33%.
Almost all schemes, except Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, have been designed to cater mainly to rural areas. At the Republic Day parade, in the heart of Delhi, the grand display of these schemes was also a reminder of how the government is looking at measures to reach out to the vast rural population.