In spite of a pandemic and the countrywide lockdown, the Narendra Modi government’s popularity remains high as it completes one year of its second term in office. A recent survey shows that the government enjoys the support of 62 per cent of respondents, which is lower than year.
According to the survey, conducted by LocalCircles in first half of May among 65,000 citizens in 280 districts, 62 per cent of respondents felt the government either exceeded or met their expectations in the past year. While 26 per cent said it exceeded expectations, 36 per cent felt it managed to meet expectations.
The government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, got the highest approval rating, with 90 per cent of respondents saying they were satisfied with its efforts. While 59 per cent said the handling of the situation was very effective, 31 per cent felt it was somewhat effective, and 10 per cent felt it was ‘not effective’ or of ‘quite poor’.
The survey suggests that four factors have worked in the government’s favour. Its tough stance on terrorism, efforts to improve relations with other countries, smooth passage of legislative Bills in Parliament, and promptness in taking tough steps to control Covid-19. However, even though the government enjoyed popularity six years after it first came to power in 2014, data showed the approval rate had fallen compared to last year (at 75 per cent). In 2019, only 25 per cent felt unsatisfied by its overall performance, against 38 per cent now. Of the 15 parameters in the survey, the government’s rating improved in only one —its handling of Parliament and passage of key Bills — from 65 per cent in 2019 to 79 per cent in May 2020. The ratings fell significantly on key economic parameters, like addressing unemployment, ease of doing business, reduction in cost of living and start-up environment.
In the latest survey only 29 per cent said India had been able to address the unemployment situation, the number was 48 per cent a year ago. In 2020, only 43 per cent felt doing business was easier, compared to 63 per cent in 2019.
Last year 57 per cent of respondents felt cost of living had come down and prices of essential commodities had fallen, the figure was 36 per cent in the latest survey. Only 37 per cent now believe establishing, operating and growing a start-up has become easier, compared to 66 per cent in 2019.
Approval fell on other parameters, too, even though ratings remained well above 50 per cent. Nearly 73 per cent Indians believe the government has been efficient in handling terrorism and reduced in-land terrorist activities in the past year, compared to 85 per cent earlier.
In 2020, 69 per cent Indians are optimistic about their future and that of their families’, down from 82 per cent. And 56 per cent felt the government’s handling of issues related to communalism were satisfactory, compared to 69 per cent in 2019. Only on the parameter of reducing corruption (49 per cent), it failed to achieve the support of the majority.
India’s foreign affairs strategy and its status on the global arena played a crucial role in the citizens’ positive feedback. A whopping 79 per cent of respondents said India’s image and influence in the world had improved in the last year — nine percentage points lower than 2019.