By Ankan Bose:
India is considered to be amongst the fastest growing economies in the world, the recent economic slowdown would have one believe otherwise but the situation can still be reversed. However, with all the globalization and the number of companies setting base in the country, there is another India which is still stuck where it was a decade back. Therefore, it’s no wonder that the phrase “An India within an India” holds a lot of significance and we need to take a rather serious look at the other side of the coin.
Leaving the cities behind and moving towards some of the most backward districts in India, a rather gloomy image emerges. With no electricity and even basic facilities out of bounds, people have to struggle everyday for what we take for granted in major cities and towns, globalization has had very little effect on these remote areas of the country, and Congress’ slogan “Garibo Hatao” also doesn’t seem to hold any meaning, once you visit these areas.
With the elections just around the corner, once again the slogan is making rounds and people are being reassured that the situation will improve and they too would get to live a life of dignity. However, after decades of independence these hollow promises don’t seem to hold much weight anymore, and people have begun to lose their patience, the point is that someone needs to take charge and deliver what the people of this country expect, something that the current government seems unable to deliver.
The issues plaguing the country:
A Jobless Growth
The government seems to be very impressed with the progress we have made; however, the reality on the ground is much different than what one would have us believe. Over the years, the rise in unemployment has been a major setback for the country, and the youth of the country is growing restless due to not being able to live a dignified life. Whatever the reasons, the point is, the rising number of youth in the country is on a lookout for jobs and not everyone can migrate to the major cities where most of the jobs exist. Therefore, the government needs to find alternatives to generate job opportunities for the people living in smaller towns and villages where most of the country’s population is concentrated.
This is one of the major hurdles in the development of the country and has plagued the nation ever since we gained independence, and it is going to take some serious measures to curb this menace as it exists from the grassroots to the highest levels of the echelon–2G and the CoalGate scam being two of the most recent examples. It has been eating through the minds of the general public, urban or rural, everyone is affected by it and there is no way to end this unless a proper administration is put in place and people are held accountable for the decisions they make.
Therefore, the government needs to ensure a level of transparency in every department, so that the public in general is aware of their rights and corruption can be brought down. Also, it needs to seriously think about establishing an ‘Ombudsman’ to look into serious allegations of corruption against every accused, be it a government servant or someone who holds a key portfolio in the government. The point being that everyone needs to have a sense of accountability and ownership, and the fear that they can be held liable for the decisions they make and they aren’t immune.
Law and Order
Law and order literally seem to no longer exist in this country anymore, criminals are roaming free, riots are rampant and people have lost their sense of liberty. The situation is even worse in villages and towns which are not in the glare of the media. The recent rise in the number of sexual assaults in the country is testimony to the fact that people have lost fear of the law and feel that they can easily get away with whatever they do, cases are often dragged for decades and victims often back out due to the lengthy legal process or fear of backlash from the society.
At a time when crime rates are increasing, the judicial system of the country lacking the resources to deliver judgments within a specified timeframe and the police lacking sensitivity to the plight of the victims, the government needs to take steps to strengthen the judicial system by increasing the number of judges and courts to ease the burden the judiciary is facing right now and also needs to ensure the police is sensitive to the plight of the victims and don’t victimize someone who’s already undergone an act of violence.
At a time when women are being raped and then murdered in the most grotesque manner, the Delhi gang rape being the most violent example in recent history, the government needs to take a serious note of the situation at hand and needs to take steps to make the people of this country feel safer when they step out of their homes.
External and Internal Security
The current government seems to have a very lenient approach to the internal and external security of the county. Every other day news of incursion by foreign forces hog the limelight and in spite of the outcry, the government fails to take a hard stand on the issue; the government needs to understand that the sovereign status of the country cannot be taken for granted and that apart from diplomacy, other options (including military) need to be exercised if required. The reason our neighbors keep making repeated attempts to infiltrate and kill our soldiers on our land is because they feel that no matter what they do, India as a nation will only condemn and hold talks to sort the issue. This could have a negative repercussion on the security situation, as the inability to send a strong message could make us appear weak, vulnerable and open to future incursions; thereby opening up our nation to possible invasion in the future.
When it comes to the internal security; the situation isn’t good either. Homegrown terror outfits like the Indian Mujahedeen, SIMI, Naxals and the Maoist threat have increased manifolds over the years, the recent spurt in the outrageous show of strength by these outfits in the form of bomb blasts and elaborate displays of firefight with the paramilitary forces of the country show how much these outfits have grown in terms of weaponry, logistical support and intelligence gathering, even their area of operations have increased in the recent years, so much so, that they have seriously started threatening the very fabric of democracy.
The government seems to be unable to control the rising levels of inflation in the country, with even the basic necessities like the price of vegetables, pulses and other commodities going out of reach for the common man, the future seems bleak if the situation is not brought under control. Households all over the country are running pillar to post to make ends meet; the government claims in the growth of per capita income but ignores the fact that increased prices almost renders that growth insignificant. Therefore, it needs to take serious steps to keep the prices in check and punish hoarders responsible for holding back essential commodities, which in my opinion is a crime against society and the nation itself. If prices are not brought under control at the earliest, very soon the common man’s plate will go empty.
If India is to regain its lost sheen, then the government needs to take steps to check these issues before they grow out of proportion failing which, there will be chaos and anarchy in the country and it’s ‘we– the common citizen on the country’ who will be at the receiving end of the policy paralysis of the government.