This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Pradyut Hande. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Road To Redemption: A Look At What The Congress Must Do In Order To Retain Power

More from Pradyut Hande

By Pradyut Hande:

With the 2014 general elections fast approaching, the UPA-II Government led by the beleaguered Congress; is gradually swinging into overdrive. The realisation that it has been unable to achieve much of note during its embattled tenure thus far, coupled with flagging public confidence in the face of numerous scams that often appear to be brushed under the “political carpet” with precious little ado; may have finally stirred the Congress into some semblance of positive action. Further; plagued by gross mismanagement, ambivalent long term socio-economic planning and the well founded perception of its “policy stasis/paralysis” (choose your pick!) ways have cost the Congress dear; gradually eroding the carefully built goodwill during its previous tenure. Its inability to contain and counter rising inflation, unemployment, falling productivity and growth has seen the Congress meander precariously near the precipice of political disaster.


Set in this backdrop, the Congress has finally awakened from its “reformatory reverie”. After throwing caution to the wind by green lighting a slew of reforms which would finally open the floodgates to further FDI in the Retail, Aviation, Information and Broadcasting, Pension and Insurance sectors; earlier in September; the Congress is looking to consolidate on that promising front and consequently enhance public and investor confidence while keeping a firm view on a dogged opposition in the BJP. The recent major Cabinet reshuffle was undertaken to facilitate the Government’s policy execution and further augment its ties with critical allies in the coalition framework. Despite these recent positive developments, the Congress is well aware that it requires a major “game changer” if it wants to remain in power. The UPA-I Government bore the fruits of landmark initiatives such as the passing and execution of the Right to Information Act, 2006 and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2009. What was critical was that the Congress had judiciously timed the implementation of the aforementioned so that its resultant benefits could actually be experienced by the citizens by the time the general elections came around. Thus; for any Government, it is imperative that it gives its initiatives ample time to come to fruition. The idea is always to make the maximum positive impact and thus, sow the seeds of goodwill in the minds of voters that eventually germinate into a collective wave of favourable public sentiment.

This time around, the Congress has bet big on the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) facilitated “Aadhar” programme. Set up in 2009, the UIDAI is tasked with the unenviable responsibility of creating centralised database driven unique ID cards for India’s 1 billion plus population. The UIDAI has been able to allot Aadhar cards to 210 million Indians thus far. Given the immense investment of both monetary and non-monetary resources in the gargantuan project, the Aadhar is considered to be a major step towards the provision of social security, capable of changing the lives of scores. However, this is solely dependent on uniform execution and the Government’s flexibility with regards to extending the Aadhar’s mandate. Now, from being just a standalone nationally recognised piece of personal identification, the Aadhar would in time facilitate cash transfers, LPG and Kerosene subsidies to the tune of almost Rs. 200,000 crore in the future; empowering card holding citizens like never before. For this ambitious plan to actually translate into tangible trickle down benefits, the authorities need to address a few serious impediments that presently hamper the system from achieving its true potential. I shall throw more light upon those challenges in my subsequent article. My objective on this one was to highlight the need for the Congress to really step up to the plate and achieve something enduring that remains in the public consciousness by the time the next general elections come calling.

As of now, the Aadhar initiative and its developmental manifestation offers the Congress its best bet at making a real difference to its citizens. The other potential “game changers” in the Food Security and Land Acquisition Bills, presently remain submerged at various levels of drafting. The progress on these has been less than satisfying and the swifter the Government is able to pass them as major laws, the better it is for all stakeholders concerned. More also needs to be done by way of continuing with greater developmental reforms to breathe more life into a stagnating albeit steady economy. Instead of holding the bleak global economic scenario responsible, the policy makers ought to view this as a major opportunity to bank on the country’s consumptive strengths and accordingly stir the “development cauldron“.

At the end of the day, it would come down to choosing the right initiative to drive home widespread incremental impact at both the rural and urban level. One way to speed up the process, especially the registration for Aadhar, would be to mobilise greater numbers in Congress ruled states. Whether we the people are able to derive maximum benefit from Aadhar and consequently, whether the Congress is able to benefit from its long term success is all a matter of conjecture at this point in time.

However, one thing is for certain. Unless the UPA-II relegates lethargy and half hearted measures to the backburner, and focuses significantly on citizen welfare; it will find it hard to shake itself free from the shackles of negative sentiment harboured against it by a public whose patience and faith has been stretched to the limit; in the face of scam after multi-million dollar scam. Positive change may well be the Congress’ sole shot at redemption.

About the author: The Writer is a Business student with a degree from NMIMS, Mumbai. He is presently working as a Senior Executive with a leading Public Relations firm in Mumbai. Through his writing; he attempts to address myriad issues of both domestic and global consequence, ranging from Business and Economics to Geopolitics…from Sports to Arts and Culture. He has over 200 publications to his credit in some of the leading national dailies and weekly magazines across the country. He is also a keen debater, munner, quizzer, painter and amateur freestyle rapper. His other interests include Sports, Music, Reading, Travelling and Social Entrepreneurship. For his latest postings, follow his blog . To read his other posts, click here.


You must be to comment.
  1. Anuva Kulkarni

    Very informative and a good read !

More from Pradyut Hande

Similar Posts

By Fazlu Raheman


By Mayank Aswal

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below