Business News

Modi's maiden year: 10 key milestones

Getty Images

It's been a year since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the helm of the world's largest democracy.

Modi wasted little time getting down to business, going on an over a dozen official visits abroad to strengthen bilateral ties and launching ambitious campaigns to move the country forward including 'Clean India' and 'Make in India.'

Arguably, his largest success as Prime Minister so far has been restoring India's global credibility - politically, diplomatically and economically.

Modi's first 365 days in office, however, have not been without hiccups, with his government's attitude towards dissent and stance on environmental protection coming under criticism.

His approval rating slipped to 74 percent in May, down from 82 percent last August, according to an opinion poll published by InstaVaani earlier this month.

Still, there is an overall sense of optimism that the country is getting back on track under his leadership, with India projected to overtake China as the world's fastest growing emerging economy in fiscal year 2015-2016, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Click ahead to view 10 key highlights - and lowlights - from the leader's first year in office.

By CNBC's Ansuya Harjani
Posted 26 May 2015

Taking the helm

Ajay Aggarwal | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

Narendra Modi, former Gujarat chief minister, is sworn in as Prime Minister on May 26 after a stunning election win earlier in the month. He was elected on his promise to put India's moribund economy back on track.

The globetrotting begins

STR | AFP | Getty Images

Less than a month after taking office, Modi makes his first foreign visit to the neighboring Himalayan nation of Bhutan, a move seen as an attempt to assert his country's influence in the region.

In his first year, he traveled to a total of 15 countries including Japan, the U.S., Australia, Germany, China and most recently South Korea to strengthen ties with neighbors and world powers.

Bank accounts for all

Education Images | UIG | Getty Images

Modi launches a landmark initiative to bring banking services to the poor, in an attempt to boost financial inclusion

Just 145 million of India's 247 million households have access to a bank account, according to the AFP, which cites census data. His goal is to provide bank accounts to 75 million more households by 2018 and to have two account holders per home.

A bromance is born

Toru Yamanaka | AFP | Getty Images

Modi's visit to Japan in August not only resulted in a $35 billion pledge from the country's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to invest in India over the next five years, but also cemented a strong bond between the two leaders.

During the visit, Modi and Abe exchanged bear hugs and numerous tweets of mutual admiration – conjuring an image of kindred spirits.

Come one, come all

Arvind Yadav | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

The 'Make in India' campaign to transform India into a global manufacturing powerhouse launches in September.

The program aims to cut red tape, develop adequate infrastructure and make it easier for companies to do business in India.

Manufacturing currently accounts for around 15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The government aims to raise its contribution to 25 percent.

Rockstar reception

Don Emmert | AFP | Getty Images

Modi speaks in front a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York during his visit to the U.S. in September.

More than 18,000 people packed the arena to hear to the charismatic leader's speech – a feat no other Indian leader has accomplished outside India, according to the Times of India.

Hoping to strike an emotional chord with non-resident Indians (NRI) in the audience, he called on them to join him in his mission to build an India of their dreams.

Get your brooms out

Saumya Khandelwal | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

Modi launches a nationwide campaign to clean up the country in October.

On the day of the launch, four million federal government workers and millions of students were ordered to pick up their brooms and sweep away the dirt and dust in their offices and schools, the BBC reported.

Modi himself was seen with a broom in his hand, sweeping a street in the nation's capital New Delhi. Improving sanitation and cleanliness was a key feature of his election campaign.

'The Suit'

STR | AFP | Getty Images

This is arguably the most controversial suit in politics.

Worn by Modi during U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to India in January, the flashy outfit had his full name – Narendra Damodardas Modi – stitched in gold pinstripes.

The ensemble, estimated to cost close to 1 million rupees ($16,000), created a huge stir on social media, with citizens blasting the leader for being overly extravagant and egotistical. The suit even earned its own hashtag on Twitter: #ModiSuit.

The suit was eventually auctioned off for charity, fetching almost $700,000, the Associated Press reported.

NGO crackdown

Sajjad Hussain | AFP | Getty Images

The Modi government comes under attack from civil society groups for canceling the registrations of nearly 9,000 nonprofit organizations in April.

Their registrations were scrapped on the grounds that they had failed to declare details of their foreign funding for three years starting from 2009/10, according to Reuters.

Critics, however, contend that the government's decision to restrain foreign funding of local charities is an attempt to muffle the voices of those who oppose Modi's economic agenda.

Weibo diplomacy

ChinaFotoPress | ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images

Modi opens an account on Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblogging site, ahead of his visit to the mainland.

His debut provoked a range of responses, from praise to mockery.

Many cited China's territorial dispute with India over Arunachal Pradesh - the northeast Indian state which Beijing refers to as "South Tibet."

Regardless, the visit was viewed as a success, with India and China signing business deals worth $22 billion.