BY SUNIL DANG, Editor-in-Chief
The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was started inorder to create a platform to expand and deepen the global family of Indians in 20 or 30 dimensions. It saw a number of high-profile speakers like Nobel laureates Amartya Sen and VS Naipaul, management guru CK Prahalad and former McKinsey chief Rajat Gupta adorning the event. In diplomatic world, New Delhi’s initiative was seen as an attempt to enable the mimicking of Chinese Diaspora, which is the main investor in China— source of Seventy percent of China’s FDI. On Chinese line of approach, Pravasi Divas was expected to work as a bridge to access Indian knowledge capital overseas and also bring in investments. However, after near 18 years of its inception, its goals are far from achieved. Today, it has become a mere token of celebration and gathering of the low profile NRIs attending the celebration. Ironically, when a good number of NRIs are getting elected in their respective countries in various capacities of their parliamentary system, we have failed to gauge those influential Indians at these celebrations. Hope, in Varanasi, we will have a concrete road map and proper regulatory system that would kick-start the missing link in Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebration.
When Narendra Modi led government took over, saffron nationalists were expecting proper placement of its icons like KA Hedgewar, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, MS Golwalkar etc., in the history book. However, to their surprise, Modi led NDA government became busy in hijacking the opposition icons like Vallabh Bhai Patel. Their morale hit the nadir when BJP shared power in J&K with PDP and not a single work was done by its state leadership to glorify the martyrdom of Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee in J&K. In fact, all the opposition parties including Congress made their stand clear on Article 370 and 35A but BJP remained mum on both issues. It gives an impression that BJP is recognizing its icons as passing remark. Hope, they don’t do the same with father of the nation Mahatama Gandhi whose 150th Birth Anniversary is getting organized at global level with programs being organized in South Africa and the UK.
By the looks it seems that BSP chief Mayawati is frightened by ED, Income Tax, CBI etc., otherwise I don’t find any reason for her to cut into anti-BJP votes in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. But, the BJP shouldn’t be celebrating her decision to dump Congress as chemistry doesn’t work when the whole political geography has changed. The ‘party with difference’ has a Himalayan task to counter the long 15 year anti-incumbency in MP and Chhattisgarh while in Rajasthan, voters and BJP workers are highly dissatisfied with the working style of CM VasundharaRajeScindhiya. So, Mayawati must realize alliances are successful when it reflects the public sentiment. Her alliance in UP by-polls was a public demand, which paid dividends. Being supreme of a party one can’t superimpose ones views as NCP chief Sharad Pawar did while giving alibi for Modi government in Rafale Deal. In this conduct, Pawar lost his founder member Tariq Anwar, who got miffed to an extent where he not only resigned from the party but from his Lok Sabha seat too, which he had won as NCP candidate in 2014.
Taking cue from the Obamacare, Indian government has introduced its flagship health initiative Ayushman Bharat, which Modi supporters are calling Modicare. In this program, a nationwide network of 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centers will be created by transforming the existing sub-centers and primary health-care centers by 2022. But, people of India must know that it caters to only 15 percent of our requirements. Various news channels are buzz with Ayushman Bharat is the National Health Protection Scheme which aims to provide health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year for hospitalization in secondary and tertiary care facilities. For their kind knowledge, program will cover half a billion people and would align with what the State governments are doing already, with significant resources coming from the Centre. Many State governments would extend the benefits to additional beneficiaries through their own resources. Probably, this could be the reason Arvind Kejriwal, Navin Patnaik and K Chandrashekhar Rao declined to implement Ayushman Bharat in their respective states as its benefits are already reaching to the people there.
Post emergency, a good number of university leaders joined politics and reached parliament after election. In 2019 too, series of student leaders like Kanhaiya Kumar, Shehla Rashid, Alpesh Thakor, Jignesh Mewani etc. are expected to give Narendra Modi run for his money. Whether they are product of ‘emergency’ or not the 2019 verdict will tell.