Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the government has not only focussed on improving the Ease of Doing Business where India witnessed a massive improvement in the past five years as its ranking improved 65 places from 142nd in 2014 to 77th in 2018. Emphasis has also been placed upon improving ‘Ease of Living’ for citizens across different sectors. This has been brought about by lesser government interference and simplification of cumbersome processes.
The government took up certain governance reforms with innovative approaches to chronic problems while eliminating corruption and ensuring ease of living, such as :
–Interviews were abolished for all group C and D, non-gazetted group B posts leading to a shutdown of the entire system of ‘recommendations’, thereby reducing the menace of corruption in jobs.
–Self-attestation of documents was allowed reducing the hardship faced by citizens.
–Red beacons on VIP cars were removed ending the long-established VIP culture.
–There was a simplification of the Driving License Application Procedure and the procedure for obtaining passports was streamlined by removing unnecessary delays.
–Before 2014, there were 77 Passport SewaKendras. This number has now increased to more than 400. People are no longer required to repeatedly visit other cities for getting their passports.
–The PAHAL scheme for direct benefit transfers for LPG was effectively implemented. This meant the LPG subsidy arrived in bank accounts of beneficiaries directly, with no middlemen involved.
–Authenticity of online documents was ensured through the Digital Locker System for sharing e-documents through registered repositories.
–The National Scholarships Portal was set up as a one stop solution for an end to end scholarship process. Not only this, scholarship grants were transferred to students via direct benefit transfer.
–100 accessible websites of various State Governments/ UTs under Accessible India Campaign were launched easing their access to Divyangs.
–Long hectic queues at toll plazas are now becoming things of the past. The introduction of Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) ensures seamless movement of traffic and collection of fee as per notified rates.With a total number of 440 Toll Plazas, more than 34.3 lakh FASTags units have been issued.
–There will be further easing of transportation of goods with plans to link e-way bills with FASTags.
EASE OF LIVING FOR THE POOREST SECTIONS OF SOCIETY
–As per an estimate, healthcare costs land more than 5 crore India into poverty, with 3.8 crore fell below the poverty line due to spending on medicines alone. In this context, many steps taken show how Modi government has brought ease of living for the people:
–The launch of Ayushman Bharat is reducing expenditure of poor people, as healthcare is now affordable for all. More than 15 lakh beneficiaries have beenadmitted to hospitals and treated for free. Some treatments availed include Cardio-thoracic & vascular surgery, urology and neurosurgery.
–Nearly 5,000 PM BharatiyaJanaushadhiKendras are providing affordable medicines and are functional across the country. These provide medicines at vastly lesser than the market price of medicines.
–In the past five years the price of stents and knee implants have reduced greatly owing to proactive measures by the NDA government to cap their prices.
EASE OF LIVING FOR THOSE ARRIVING IN INDIA
–An Online Event Clearance System has been introduced to grant security clearances to conferences, seminars or workshops organized in India. This has eased the issue of Conference Visas for foreign nationals and delegates intending to attend such events.
–The ‘e-Visa’ facility covers approximately all the countries of the world.
–The foreigner arriving does not have to interact with any Indian official till his arrival at the immigration counter, making it easier to reach India. With the implementation of this facility the number of foreigners who visited India on e-visa have gone up from 5.17 lakh in 2015 to 21 lakh in 2018.
–All these reforms illustrate the government’s effort towards making a New India as per 21stcentury expectations, aspirations and hopes to bring about a qualitative improvement in lives of people.
Ease of Living for Millions of Indians
–Eating out is more inexpensive under the GST regime. Taxes that used to range anywhere between 15-20% earlier are a thing of history. Today, there is only a 5% GST on eating out.
–With elimination of checkposts, trucks carrying goods are travelling faster, reducing logistics costs and delays. Small traders benefitted with the end of multiplicity of taxes while registration filing, assessment, refund are online under GST replacing inspector raj with a transparent system. Consequently, due to the GST reforms by Modi government, overall reduction of prices has ultimately benefited the end consumer.
–The big move to ensure that people with net taxable income up to Rs. 5 lakh incur no tax liability, has benefited crores of taxpayers. Nowadays, getting an income tax refund is no longer a matter of years but of just a few days. Furthering the effort to Ease of Living, Modi government, as announced in interim budget, is working on giving refund in 24 hours. Easing the lives of taxpayers, 99.54 per cent of income-tax returns were accepted as they were filed in the current year.
–Pension provides security in second innings of the life. The time taken for processing pension papers reduced with the simplification of pension claim procedure by Modi government. Jeevan Pramaan Aadhaar-linked Digital Life Certificates have provided Ease of Living to pensioners by doing away with requirement to be physically present before the certification authority. About 2.5 crore pensioners have availed this facility since 2014.
–Efforts like Atal Pension Yojana, PM Vaya Vandana Yojana are steps taken for benefits to old age people with minimum investment, maximum benefits for Ease of Living.
–Unlike earlier times, obtaining a passport is no more a hassle. There has been rapid increase in the number of Passport Service Kendras from 77 in 2014 to 490, which has made delivery of passport services easy and convenient.
–Apart from these, with Digital India initiative and push for digital transactions, seamless transactions have eased the process of payment of utility bills and many different kinds of payments. For the first time, as on January 2019, the volume of UPI transactions crossed 672.75 million with an amount of more than Rs. 1.09 lakh crores transacted.
–When a government caps cardiac stent prices and knee implants, slashing prices by 50-70%, it means more people can afford stents to tend to their ailing hearts and knees.
–If generic medicines are available, sometimes at far lesser price than the market price across around 5,000 Jan Aushadhi stores, then the medicinal expenses of people vastly come down.
–Home loans became much more inexpensive than before. For example, in November 2013, the SBI home loan interest rate was around 10.30%, which, in 2019 stands at around 8.5%.If you consider a home loan of Rs. 20 lakhs over 20 years, savings due to lower interest rates would be about Rs. 26,000 per year & about Rs. 5 lakhs over full tenure.
–Similarly, even education loans have become more affordable.
–Many people put their life’s savings into buying an apartment. Sometimes they ended up feel cheated by builders. Some builders would delay delivery or even change plans without consent. Real Estate Regulation Act – RERA, was passed to empower homebuyers and reform the real estate sector.
–Now, builders are required to create a separate escrow account in which significant part of the amount received from the buyers will have to be deposited, thus ensuring that the money is not diverted elsewhere. The withdrawals will depend on the extent of work completion and will only be allowed to cover the cost of construction and the cost of land.
With aspirations of homes, education, health and an easier daily life being fulfilled, Ease of Living is becoming a reality in the lives of crores of Indians after the advent of the Modi government.