With eyes full of hope and desire, India elected you as the Prime Minister of our country. What was the mandate given to the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)—a party often targeted for its communal moves? What was the reason behind your selection as the strongest leader of world’s most diverse nation?
Was it to run a massive publicity campaign in which you spent nearly ₹712 cores? Or was it about portraying the image of a strong leader? Someone, India needed the most at the time to assure a population of 1.3 billion that you have the solutions to our existing problems? It was a hopeful mandate given to you by people who were fed up of scams and poor governance in the nation. People needed a solution to the internal issues that our country was facing. India wanted a corruption-free government that would work towards the benefit of the rural masses. The youth wanted employment. We needed someone to hold peace talks with the Naxalites so that they can be brought into the mainstream. It was the hopeful eyes of the poor tribal people, Dalits, and Muslims who were assured, through several speeches and rallies, that you will improve their quality of life.
When the results were declared everyone was happy, except for the Congress party. It was the first time in Indian history that the BJP had won with such a huge majority. Many claimed this victory as the victory of truth over corruption. On May 27, 2014, Narendra Damodardas Modi took charge as the Prime Minister of India. When the portfolios were distributed among different ministers, it felt like a wave of fresh air is flowing throughout the country. The media was co-operative towards the government. And the government soon started implementing several new policies in different sectors.
The modification of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan to Swach Bharat Abhiyaan was praised and promoted but it was all in vain. The government mostly concentrated on the publicity campaign and no proper implementation was seen at the grassroots level. Although the government claims that the sanitation coverage area has gone up from 42% in 2014 to 64% in 2017, in the cities and smaller towns, tonnes of garbage is still being dumped in improper locations. Even the Swach Bharat survey done to rank cities their cleanliness and sanitation levels had several loopholes in it. They were purely based on public opinion. The deprived sections of the society were also ignored in the campaign.
Another major initiative taken by the government was the Digital India campaign. Its objective was to make monetary transactions as well as grievance redressal systems completely digital, but due to the lack of understanding and accessibility of digital devices, several women and villagers suffered at the time of Demonetisation. The ‘Smart Cities’ campaign and the bullet train project are still a distant dream for a country whose large population still lives in slums and in hazardous locations.
What disappointed us the most was the government’s inaction in the field of education. The results of states boards in Bihar showed loopholes in the government run schools of our country. The decision to scrap the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) program, and continue with the old assessment system for CBSE affiliated schools, all done in the name of a new education policy, shows how we are moving backwards. Our universities fail to find place in the world rankings. Despite being centres for intellectual growth, our universities have turned into war zones for political fights and ideological suppression.
Among the 42 central universities looked after by the UGC, which falls under the HRD ministry, several have faced serious issues which still need addressing. Faculty shortage, lack of funds resulting poor infrastructures, and lack of promotion of research in academics are just a few of the factors pulling us behind. Lack of planning, the bureaucratic attitude of the governing agencies, and lacklustre performance of the concerned state governments have hampered the growth of the newly established central universities. A more serious challenge faced by these institutions is the recruitment of senior faculty members, mainly because of reasons like faculty mobility. During the elections, you had assured us that you’ll create two crore jobs but you have managed to provide job opportunities to 2.75 lakh people only. And the IT sector is struggling hard to create more job opportunities.
As a young citizen of this country, I have great hopes for our educational institutions and don’t want hooligans to turn our universities into war zones for different groups. I don’t want my country to lose another Rohit Vemulla. I don’t want the lynching of another Akhlaq in the name of protecting religion. I want you to speak up against these barbaric acts which are spreading hatred and violence among the different communities. I believe it’s not the time to celebrate anything. It is not the time to spend crores on advertisements and organization of festivals commemorating your three years of governance.
It is the time to create a platform for the marginalized so they can speak up for their rights. The states should work on improving the quality of life in rural India. We need to enhance our academic infrastructure, fill teaching positions and create a healthy environment for students and promote research in our colleges and universities. Only then can we prepare the youth of this country for the challenges that await them.
I want you to fulfil all the promises you made during your rallies prior to the 2014 elections. This way you won’t have to spend crores on advisements; your work will speak for itself through the development of the country.