By Dr.Â Amrit Patel:
The Sunday’s [8th December, 2013] Assembly election results of four States of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh clearly reflect the public mood against the Congress rule under the banner of UPA-2 since 2009-10 in general and 2012-13 in particular. Like Ms. Mamata Banerjee of the TMC who uprooted 25 years’ rule of communist parties in West Bengal, Shree Arvind Kejriwal of the AAP unseated Ms. Sheila Dixit, who had been the Chief Minister for three terms, with more than 25,000 votes. Besides, the congress failed to retain their presence in two states of Delhi and Rajasthan and failed to capture other two states.
The issues of continuing food inflation hurting the housewives accompanied by sky rocketing prices of most consumer goods, and disillusioned youth of 20 to 35 years age not being cared of by the Government to impart the requisite vocational and professional skills that can help them earn their livelihoods in particular, exploded against the congress candidates in these four State Assembly elections primarily, leave alone the misrule of the congress leadership in two states of Delhi and Rajasthan. Even though the poor constitute a vast majority of Indian voters, they have been shut out of public discourse. In fact, a democratic system depends largely on what issues are brought into political engagement. The Indian media have indeed rendered yeomen services to bring out a number of issues viz. financial scams and scandals involving huge amounts, rising food prices, mismanagement of food stocks, storage and distribution system and focusing sharply on the agenda for a country with the largest population of seriously undernourished people in the world.
It is unfortunate that even after more than 65 years after the country’s independence a majority of Indians are still shackled to their deprived lives in a way quite rarely seen in other self-respecting countries that are trying to move ahead in the world. A large numbers of Indian -primary-school students are unable to write a simple sentence or do basic arithmetic. Literacy among children above 15 years in 2010 was 63% as compared to 94% in a most populous China, 67% in a Muslim Indonesia and 93% in Malaysia, 88% in Thailand, 91% in neighbouring Sri Lanka and 93% in Vietnam, Female life expectancy in 2010 was 67 in India as against 75 in China, 77 in Brazil and 75 in Russia. Per capita income in 2011 was $ 3203 in India as against $ 7418 in China, $ 10,279 in Brazil, $ 12,000 in Russia.
The demonstrated inability of the Government to make institutions providing public services accountable has been responsible for country’s trailing much behind its neighbours in South Asia in every social indicator that matters, from literacy to child malnutrition to access to toilets. In respect of education and health India remained behind countries of East Asia. There is scant attention paid to India’s dismal rates of child immunization, which are among the lowest in the world,
Mrs. Sonia Gandhi representing three topmost positions viz. as the Chairperson of the Congress party, the UPA and the National Advisory Council and her son Shree Rahul Gandhi as the Vice president of the Congress party must accept the verdict of the voters most gracefully and quit from the leadership forthwith as for the first time voters voted in large number and a significant number of them rejected the congress candidates fielded by the mother and the son.
The Congress party under the latent/hidden dictatorship of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi after 2004-05 has grossly neglected the most pressing issues concerning the people, more importantly Aam Adami, and the country. It is shocking that the country had to witness total chaos, misrule and dictatorship under this leadership. For the first time in the political history of India, the country has a Prime Minister since 2004-05 who has been totally loyal and faithful to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi rather than the constitution of India.
The arrogant congress leaders including ministers did not even care to read these writings on the wall and continued behaving shamelessly as if they are the semi-gods and nobody can touch them. Only they can unilaterally frame the policies and pronounce socio-economic programs after being suffixed Nehru, Indira and Rajiv Gandhi for implementation.
Believe it or not, these two boiling issues of inflation and unemployment among youths in particular have now assumed such a scale and size of seriousness that Governments in these four States shall have to devote significant amount of resources to deal with them in a time bound program, monitor, evaluate and redesign to yield expected results. The political leaderships in these four States shall have to demonstrate their concern for the people and commit to fulfil people’s expectations and be accountable to the people in particular and to the State Assemblies in general.
The basic structure of the Government with an oversized council of ministers and bureaucracy involving about 3.45 million staff and the salary budget of around one per cent of the country’s gross domestic product could not deliver the mandated services to the people. India’s problems can’t be attributed to a lack of tax revenue. Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka with fewer resources, have made solid progress in improving health and education while India stagnates. The Governments under the Congress rule for over five decades have been wasting tax payers’ money in unproductive administrative establishments and subsidies rather than investing in agriculture and productive sectors.
The political leadership has to ensure that [i] the Government should be both lean and efficient [ii] quality and composition of the staff to effectively improve the governance [iii] the governance must continuously be better and more responsive to people [iv] It must establish a rule-based system for implementing public policies.
It reminds us today what Sir Winston Churchill, war-time Prime Minister of England said, when Mr Clement Attlee, Prime Minister of United Kingdom in June 1947, introduced the Indian Independence Act in the British Parliament. Sir Winston Churchill said: “Power will go onto the hands of rogues, rascals, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw… They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.” Perhaps Dr. Rajendra Prasad in his speech in the Constituent Assembly on the eve of the adoption of the Constitution aptly emphasized, among others, “India needs today nothing more than a set of honest men who will have the interest of the country before them…”