LocalCircles has conducted a national survey on three years of Central Government with the objective to understand what’s working and where efforts need to be put in going forward. Over 40,000 unique citizens participated in the polls and over 200,000 votes were received in the survey. Approximately 68% of respondents were males while 32% were females. Approximately 42% of the respondents were from Tier 1 cities, 28% from Tier 2 cities and 30% from Tier 3 cities and rural locations. The average age of the poll participants was 32 years. An excerpt from the LocalCircles report, titled “Citizens’ Assessment of 3 Years of Central Government: Engaging Citizens for Better Governance”:
Around 44% citizens this year said that government met their expectations; this is marginally down from 46% last year. Dissatisfaction has also risen – last year only 36% citizens said the performance of the government was below expectation. This has gone up to 39% in the third year. While last year 18% said that the government had exceeded their expectations, this year 17% say that. Overall, as change hasn’t come fast enough for most people, there is a decline in citizens rating of the government in most areas as compared to last year. If we combine met expectations and exceed expectation there are 61 % who are satisfied with the government. Around 59% of the citizens who polled believe that the government will fulfil the promises made in its pre-election manifesto, which is a fairly high trust factor.
Government has also been able to handle the Parliament and opposition benches better in the third year. Therefore, 65% of the citizens say the government has effectively handled the Parliament and delivered on key bills. Passage of crucial GST bill happened in the third year, before which there were frequent log jams by the opposition in the Parliament. Government might have done well in some areas, but individual MPs still remain disconnected with their constituencies. Around 69% of the citizens who polled say that their local MP is not engaged with the constituency.
Citizens’ Life under the Government
Around 66% of the citizens believe that the price of essential commodities and cost of living have gone up. This is in spite of the fact that inflation has come down to 3%. Only 28% of the citizens believe that the prices of essential commodities have come down for them. This is much lower than 38% citizens last year. This means there is difference between citizens’ perception and official inflation indicators.
Only 28% of the citizens believe that crime against women and children has come down in the last one year. While police is not a central government subject, perception about safety is linked to central government. And 60% citizens believe that crime against women and children has not come down, this is up from 38% last year, a substantial rise.
Indians, approximately 69%, remain optimistic about their family’s future in the country, though this percentage has come down from 76% last year. Only 23% citizens believe that healthcare facilities and services have improved in the last 3 years. Though, 58% did not agree with it and 19% said they were not sure about it. Health is a state subject but it has a huge role to play in quality of life of citizens.
Though Swachh Survekshan 2017, released recently reported that 75-80% citizens find their cities cleaner, when asked whether their city had become cleaner in the last 3 years due to Swachh Bharat Mission, only 35% agreed with it, 57% disagreed with it and 8% were unsure.
State of the Economy
Around 65% citizens believe that new infrastructure development in the field of irrigation, roads, telecom etc. has taken place in the last 3 years. Only 27% voted negative and 8% were not sure. The number of citizens who felt that there has been a growth in infrastructure development as a result of the NDA has reduced from 72% last year to 65% this year. Citizens were asked if they felt that doing business had become easier in the last 3 years on which votes were divided. 36% citizens said yes, while 36% said no and 28% were not sure. This perception has changed from last year when 60% said that doing business had become easier.
A large number of citizens 63% said the unemployment rate has not reduced, 21% said that it has definitely reduced and 16% were not sure about it. In last year’s poll, 43% people in 2016 said that the unemployment rate had not reduced in India under the leadership of the NDA Government. This year, this number has jumped up to 63%. There has been spate of layoffs in the e-commerce and IT sector this year, which were absent last year. New jobs are not being created leading to limited career opportunities and earnings growth for most professionals.
Only 36% citizens believe that harassment by tax officials has reduced in the last 3 years. An equal number 36% said that tax harassment has not reduced and 28% chose not to comment.
Corruption and Demonetisation
The general perception among 47% citizens is that corruption has reduced in the last 3 years whereas 43% believe that it had not reduced at all. While 10% chose not to comment.
The Demonetisation of Indian currency of higher denomination was one of the biggest step taken by the central government to reduce corruption. When people were asked if corruption has reduced as a result of demonetisation, only 39% agreed with it. While 49% citizens said that corruption had not reduced since demonetisation and 17% chose not to comment.
In the second question on demonetisation, citizens were asked if the demonetisation exercise was successful in cracking down on black money. A majority of 51% agreed with it. 37% disagreed with it while 12% were unsure about it.
Communalism, Terrorism and Foreign Affairs
A massive 81% citizens feel that India’s image and influence in the world has improved under the leadership of the current government in the last 3 years only 19% did not agree with this while 6% were not sure. Last year 90% citizens believed that India’s image and influence in the world has improved though this number has come down, it is still a massive reaffirmation.
Citizens were also asked if they approved of the way Government of India has handled Pakistan in the last 3 years. Around 64% citizens agreed with it. 30% did not approve of the Government’s methods and 6% were unsure. In the last year poll, only 34% citizens approved of the way India handled Pakistan. This number jumped almost 2-folds to 64% this year may be due to the surgical strike carried out by the government against Pakistan.
Terrorism has been a huge issue in India for the last few decades. The current Government has taken some tough stance on terrorism in the last couple of years. People were asked if they felt that acts of terrorism and related activities have reduced in the last 3 years. 51% citizens agreed with it, 42% disagreed with it and 7% chose not respond. In last year’s poll, 72% citizens believed that terrorism in India had reduced under the leadership of the NDA Government in the 2 year poll. The number slid down to 51% in this year’s poll.
Around 61% citizens believe that issues related to communalism have been handled well by the Government in the last 3 years. While 31% believe that it has not been handled well by the current government. The question on communalism showed almost similar responses in the 2nd and 3rd years poll. Last year 63% citizens felt that communalism related issues were handled well by the NDA government. This number stood at 61% in this year’s poll.
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