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UPA II Report Card Has More F's than A's

MAY 23, 2013

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Amid a plethora of scams hwich have dented its image enormously, the ruling United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) second innings has been disastrous even if judged by the standards of the worst sequels. The government has simply hurtled down from one crisis to another. Newer scams have been emerging from its closet so fast than even the Opposition is are finding it difficult to keep track. The economic growth rate has dropped from nearly double digits to a poor 5% while inflation continues to burn pockets.


To add to its woes, there have been many irritants - like desertions by allies, terrorist attacks and foreign policy faux pas, not to mention the rise in crimes against women that had triggered widespread protests.


Ironically but very aptly, a senior Union minister described "survival" as the biggest achievement of the UPA in its second term. It summarises the four years of UPA-II more accurately than the glossy, colourful 92-page report card released by the government at its high-profile celebration dinner.


With a resounding mandate in 2009, the UPA was expected to consolidate the achievements of its first term and take the country to new heights. Instead, what it gave are two words that have come to dominate the political discourse in the country - policy paralysis.

A major reason for loss of its credibility. To many people, UPA-II is synonymous with corruption. 2G, Adarsh, CWG, Coalgate and Railgate are only some of the biggest scams to have singed UPA-II.



Oil price deregulation has ended up being the same politically hot potato it has always been. Around the Karnataka elections, the government had told oil PSUs to hike prices after the polls - meaning not much has changed.



Price rise is the most emotive factor for voters, a fact that should worry the UPA. The inflation rate has remained high, clocking over 9% last year.



Many high-profile international relationships saw contentious incidents and problematic dealings. India was unable to force Pakistan into making any headway in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Maldives and Sri Lanka were seen as getting closer to China.


FDI in multi-brand retail was top on the UPA's to-do list but the government messed it up with its messy handling. Trinamool's opposition to it triggered a U-turn in its stance in 2011. They did finally bite the bullet, but the riders have kept big investors away.




Much of UPA-II tenure saw an ideological rift between PM Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, despite the party managers trying their best denying it.



Along with the falling GDP numbers, high current account and fiscal deficits have left India at the mercy of credit rating agencies. Although the government has made efforts, the country's bond remains at 'negative' status, a notch above 'junk'. To worsen it, S& P has recently threatened to keep India on constant watch for a possible degrade to junk status over the next 12 months.



UPA-II had spouted promises of reacting to the act the way the US managed to clamp down on terror activity following 9/11. But the steps taken have become the focus of intra-governmental disputes.



With the parliament getting no work done, one expected the executive to get cracking. Instead, coalition arguments and the post-2G worry made policymaking come to a halt for a couple of years.



UPA-II had evoked grand hopes of double-digit growth. Today, the growth rate stands at 5%. Although the UPA managed to hit 9.6% growth, the slump has revealed that the government didn't make the right cuts.



The least productive parliament ever.  Although the Opposition should take a large share of the blame for the loss of productivity, the government cannot shy away its failure to manage the floor.



PM Manmohan Singh's reputation as a weak puppet, who simply turned a blind-eye to the sins of those in the Council was cemented. Over the course of UPA-II, the government could not shed flighty, volatile allies.


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