“I dream of an India that is prosperous, strong and caring. An India, that regains a place of honour in the comity of great nations.”
-Late Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee
This nation has been fortunate enough to have had many great sons take birth on its soil and one such son was the Bharat Ratna Late Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a 3-time Prime Minister of India ( at first, for a term of 13 days in 1996, secondly for a tenure of eleven months from 1998 to 1999, and finally, for a full term from 1999 to 2004). A poet at heart and a man with a silver tongue, his skillset as an economist was unmatched. Not only did he have a different approach towards politics, but at the same time he was courageous enough to implement his decisions despite stern opposition and the fact that he ran a government of coalitions.
Despite facing hurdles and challenges all across his way, he beat all odds and rose up to the top. The reforms which he brought about changed the whole idea of India. Despite all the political risk, he put everything at stake and revolutionised the sphere of economy. He was able to put through a major agenda of strategic sale and privatisation of several public sector undertakings like Hindustan Zinc, IPCL, BALCO and VSNL. He excelled at handling sensitive issues like the Jammu and Kashmir issue. His motto of Insaniyat, Jamuriyat and Kashmiriyat is still deeply seated within the hearts of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
His achievements among many include:
- It is a lesser known fact but it was Late Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee Jee who initiated the idea of G.S.T. The Vajpayee government constituted a task force which in 2003 submitted a report stating central and state levies should be merged.
- Golden Quadrilateral which linked the four Indian metros; Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai moreover it was Vajpayee Ji’s regiment that envisioned and laid down the first physical lines of Delhi Metro.
- Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana which linked the villages with proper roads.
- The Pokhran nuclear test which was carried out despite tremendous opposition from the international community led India on the path of becoming a nuclear power.
- Operation Vijay which is by far one of the largest military operations by the Indian Armed Forces where the armed forces without crossing the line of control regained territories of Muskoh Valley, Tololing hilltop, Dress etc.
- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan which aimed at providing free and compulsory education to children between 6 to 14 years is one of the largest education programs in the world.
A few of the many indispensable contributions to legal apparatus made under his regiment were:
- Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.
- Trade Marks Act, 1999.
- Information Technology Act, 2000.
- Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) 2000.
- Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
- Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Rights Act, 2001.
- Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interests Act, 2002.
- Competition Act, 2002.
- Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
- Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.
- Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2003 which aimed to bring down fiscal deficit. This led to a boost in public sector savings which progressed from being 0.8% of GDP in 2000 to 2.3% in 2005.
A magnanimous, splendid and a sterling leader who was admired all across the globe made huge contributions to the foreign policy of our nation. In the words of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Late Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji played a pivotal role in enabling India to have good relations to the U.S. What more to say, he was a leader who cannot be described in words, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif went on to the extent of saying that Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji’s speech won over so many hearts in Pakistan that he could even win an election there. But unfortunately, like all good things do not stay forever, our Bharat Ratna also took abode in heaven on August, 16th 2018. But one thing that is here to stay is his fond memory which in the heart of every citizen of India.