We are proud and responsible citizens of a republic, which claims the world’s largest democracy. I was a child when the idea of a republic got ingrained in my mind in the chapters of Civics as: of the people, by the people, and for the people.
On January 26, 2020, we as a nation, gear up to celebrate the 71st Republic Day. It is high time that introspection should be done.
Today, as a state, does India qualify for the words, “of the people, by the people and for the people?”
A republic is a form of government in which a state is ruled by representatives of the citizen body. The sovereignty rests with the people, though who is included and excluded from the category of the people has varied. The term republic may also be applied to any form of government in which the head of state is not a hereditary monarch.
The persons whom we have chosen as our representatives to head the state, run the government and make policies for the development of the nation as a whole, do they really carry out their responsibilities without any selfish goals and vested interests?
India in the past few years, has received a reputation which no Indian might feel proud of. The corruption levels are touching a high, the GDP is low, the unemployment index is high, and we are notorious for being as a nation where the safety of women is at utmost risk. Is this the kind of republic dreamt by the makers of our constitution and our freedom fighters?
The current unemployment graph is a reality check which the government needs to take serious action against and bring a stop to tall claims and propaganda. I would like to share the trauma of someone I know personally, who has faced the brunt of the recession which the country is facing due to the economic policies and demonetisation from close quarters.
This person belonged to a farming family in a remote village. He worked hard in the farms and studied in the village school. Aspiring for a better life, he not only finished his schooling, but also cleared the entrance exam for engineering course. With an engineering degree from a reputed institution and dreams in his eyes, he got a placement in a large indigenous manufacturing company. Years rolled by, and his life got better. He was now making around 40K monthly.
However, as soon as the economic downfall of the nation began, it hit major industries and his company was no exception. He was laid off from the job with an advance salary of only one month, along with 400 other employees.
Now, as an engineer who used to earn 40K, after a lot of job hunting, he is trying to meet the expenses and liabilities of his family by selling flowers in front of a temple in Pune. He is not alone. There are lakhs of Indians who are undergoing a similar terrible situation.
The canteen wala of the manufacturing unit is scared that if the employees are laid off like this, how will his businesses survive? Especially because he has taken a heavy loan to establish his own setup. The factors in economic development are connected to each other in a chain. If one is affected, the other one is bound to get hit.
Similarly, I recently came across a circular that no Omni-vans or autos shall be allowed to commute for ferrying school children back and forth. Only registered school buses can be employed for the transportation of school students.
On one hand, this kind of change ensures the safety of school children but at the same time, a grave question arises about the future of these auto-rickshaw and van drivers, most of who have purchased their vehicles through bank loans. They will not be in a position to pay their EMIs and sustain themselves in the market. Does the state have an alternative policy to ensure the future of these people who will be losing out jobs due to change in policy?
Skilled and unskilled labour, both are facing a drought of jobs. The increase in unemployment results in a rise in crime rate, corruption and lower GDP. Disguised unemployment is another issue which is often neglected.
In today’s scenario, as the common man is the one who suffers the most, his voice and protest should reach out and contribute to bringing out a change. Ironically, today our attention is directed more towards the issues which are religious or communal in nature. The basic needs of a citizen are neglected and before he could raise his voice, he is misled in the cobweb of divisive politics.
Though, as a republic, elections successfully take place in our country, but the EVM machines are casting a grave question on results. While many countries in the world are doing away with the EVM system and returning back to paper ballots to bring back transparency,, India is still sticking to the controversial method.
To make a republic successful and dynamic, the first and foremost requirement is the awareness of the citizens of the nation, which can be achieved only through education. For a proper education system, sound financial policies are needed. This brings us back to the necessity of employment generation.
A free voice, alert citizens and a fearless atmosphere can bring the nation on the path of becoming a republic in the true sense. I hope with the kind of awareness which the students have shown in the recent times of crises against the imposition of CAA and NRC, we can emerge as an exemplary republic to the world in the 21st century.
Happy 71st Republic Day!