I grew up with the notion that actions speak louder than words; so I try not to be impressed with speeches, announcements, pledges and promises until I have seen them deliver the result.
Needless to say, I’m terribly disappointed with the present government. If you are a BJP supporter, I suggest you stop reading now. My views won’t make you happy, and it’s in our mutual interest that you exit this article. To those of you who expect more from your elected representatives, read on.
Demonetization proved to be a massive failure.
Demonetisation was supposed to be a masterstroke against black money, terrorism funding and fake currency. Its poor implementation, endless tweaking of rules ended up in nationwide chaos. Lakhs of people stood in km long queues for 50 days to access 4000₹ from their own bank accounts. Eventually, it ended up slowing the economy, made 4 lakh people lose their jobs and not a dent was made on black money, terrorism or fake currency. What may have started with good intentions and grandstanding, was a total disaster. Nothing came out of it except some middlemen making a lot of money by changing notes.
GST was something that BJP opposed when they were in the opposition, supported when they came to power and instead of a single simplified tax went on to make the most complex tax system on record. The federal tax system has crumbled with the centre not disbursing states’ share of GST over several months and states having to resort to higher excise on fuel, the one thing being kept out of GST. Several home run businesses with a turnover of less than a lakh a month shut down as the cost of keeping an accountant to file 3 forms of GST every month was more than the profit they were accruing. More unemployment followed.
Doing business in India has always been a challenge for international players. Now when China has become a global pariah, India is still not the top destination for foreign investors despite cheap labour. We would love to become the electronics manufacturing hub of the world but will our reputation defeat our goals? Will Make in India or Atmanirbhar Bharat achieve its lofty goals or become another lost opportunity. Only time will tell.
Revocation of article 370 in Kashmir was something I wholeheartedly supported, as did many in the nation. But many days after revocation, the valley still has limited internet, no tourism or industry and no concrete steps have been taken to open up the economy of Kashmir. The social, economic, and mental crisis affecting people of the entire state has been forgotten by mainstream media and the parliament. How do they plan to normalise and integrate the people of Kashmir? No one knows.
Indians have had a taste of a prolonged lockdown. We were extremely grateful to be locked safely at home until we began to see the food crisis unfold in the urban poor. The government’s distribution network was unable to provide food to everyone despite surplus reserves and the civil society has been feeding more people than the government in most states. A society that pays taxes should not be needing charity. But every crisis from floods to terrorist attacks to pandemics, asks and sometimes forces citizens to donate to the government’s unaudited funds.
The dillydallying on providing public transport saw the trickle of migrants increase to a stream until it has become a national crisis in itself. After 2 months of being stuffed in one-room tenements, the workers have no money, no food, no patience and no belief in deliverance and have set about heading home- by trains, buses, trucks, cycles or even on foot. The nation has been seeing heartbreaking visuals of poor migrants heading home with children on their backs. What can citizens do except set up food and water kiosks on the way? Anything more significant has to be organised by the people we chose to govern us.
Migrants forced to walk back home due to the government’s poorly managed lockdown.
We people are easy to please. Give us grand words, eloquent dreams and then nothing else is needed. No one holds the government accountable for anything they promised. We expect to be fooled and let down. We do not hold our Councillors, MLAs, MPs or PM to higher standards. We understand that our duty is to pay taxes and theirs is to make promises and not deliver. That is why they don’t need to work too hard. Election after the election is won on grandstanding, sloganeering, pitching one community or caste against another. And all pre-election promises forgotten in the 5 years of governance.
We refuse to ask questions, do not demand answers. So afraid we are of standing up, that we forget we deserve better. Can we, a nation of 138 crore people produce leaders who can govern us better? Or have we simply stopped looking for excellence?
Dr Sarika Verma
ENT surgeon, Gurgaon.