While India may be one of the fastest growing economies, it is the slowest to get off the mark when it comes to policy development & execution.
We have become a country of quick fixes. Such has been the personification of us, ‘we the people’ & our governments from time to time that we are off the screws only when we have been either pushed to the wall or when the challenge is breathing down our neck. There is an apparent abhorrence of the purpose at play or job at hand that has besieged our conscience like cobwebs & the beast in us is only unleashed when there is a brazen attack on either India’s integrity & security or when its people get sickened to frustration by a opportunistic rule.
India has problems galore & that is simply to be expected of country of such epic population. From inadequate resources to access to education, money, healthcare, jobs, industry, infrastructure, housing etc, India has miles to go in terms of providing for such basic amenities & opportunities to its 130 crores & growing populace. What hasn’t helped matters is the ostrich like attitude of our lawmakers who have been slack in their approach & negligent of their duties, induced by partisan politics & a flagrant bypassing of statutory postulates & conventional wisdom, so essential for a functional democracy. The current government is no exception to the rule of such sinful negligence.
Gone are the preamble issues from the cupboards of a Hindutva polity that at one time bred & sustained itself on the bulwark of RamJanambhoomi, Article 370, Article 35 A, uniform civil code & swadeshi business. In come the Triple Talaq, reservation politics, minorities’ appeasement, compromised identity, opaque election funding, OROP, cow vigilantism, SC/ST activism, so on & so forth. Just like the alleged appropriation of concern for Muslims, backward classes, marginalised & low caste Hindus is now refurbished into a new narrative of upper caste Hindu appeasement, newfound love for farmers, dalits, women & a confused counter-intuitive polity of nationalism.
Nobody seems hassled by lack of jobs for the youth & employable. This is uppermost in the minds & heads of people regardless of which government has been in power. Without getting bogged down by statistics, one can see the growing frustration & unease among engineers, medicos, technocrats, academicians, skilled labour as well as small time entrepreneurs. BJP president Amit Shah is on record saying that not all of 125 crore Indians can get jobs. PM Modi even went to the extent of saying that selling ‘pakodas’ is also employment. No guesses then, for how our employment scenario is what it is today.
Take the case of funding of elections. This government brought in a legislation that allows contributions through bonds without either the duty by the donor to reveal such information in his books or the disclosure by the beneficiary party of either the amount or the identity of the donor. It is no guess who stands to benefit from such opacity. All this by a nationalistic party that has been wanting whole of India to believe in its core jingoistic policy of Nation first & zero tolerance towards corruption; By bringing in this law, BJP has only color coded black to white just like it did by way of demonetisation, when all those flooded with slush money converted that into white overnight. All this defeats the watchdog (Chowkidaar) stance by our PM Modi.
Take our brave soldiers for example. OROP which is being so hyped by the current dispensation has been in the eyes of ex-army men hogwash. This sentiment was echoed by none other than Major General Satbir Singh, Chairman of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement & advisor to the United Front of Ex-Servicemen, The government may have hiked the pension of Army men, the issues pertaining to OROP are still pending. This is consistently been said by the Army personnel who have been spearheading this movement. Essentially meaning what the government has been saying is brazen lies as corroborated by the Maj. General
Take a look at the aviation sector. We are in a mess. Seeing what Jet Air, the torch bearer of this sector has been going through; we are instantly reminded of now dead Kingfisher, the almost dead Spice jet & the extinct Modiluft times. Not that there didn’t exist scope for these businesses to run concurrently & successfully, however the absence of a comprehensive Aviation policy along with a retrograde bureaucratic functioning, this has worsened the situation further. The result is the insurmountable losses & failure by airlines like Jet to tide over its worst crisis of its history. With worldwide ban on 737 Boeing Max & promoters indifference towards a failing airline & the government’s dithering strategy, all these can see the downfall of once a great airline flying over oceans. We now hear that BJP government is keen to convert Jet’s staggering debt of over ₹8500 crores into equity by the lenders.
Nationalism Vs Opportunism
BJP has gone a step further with its much touted appropriation of nationalism. It aligned with PDP, one of the known supporters of secessionist ideology (The Hurriyat) in Kashmir only to see its footprint in the Muslim dominated Northern most state of Jammu & Kashmir. All caution & nationalistic spirit was thrown to the winds, in what most would argue was a self goal by the Hindutva right wing party. What we see today by way of a terrible influx & indoctrination of local youth by enemy forces is a direct consequence of BJP’s choosing to look the other way. Nobody would have bought this reformist avatar of local outfit (PDP), whose very identity is owed to the support & succour by the fundamentalist forces. That Amit Shah & co. would get inclined to court itself to such an inherent danger that could only get graver with the PDP using the cloud cover of its partner to pander to the local sentiment & let them have a field day, was in itself blasphemous. Thus the pardoned stone-pelters became gunners & gunners graduated to suicide bombers, some might argue. By the time, Delhi learnt about this in greater detail, it was too late.
Leave aside the failed promise of taking Pandits back to Kashmir. Neither has Article 370 been abrogated despite the BJP ruling the state for the first time in alliance with the PDP.
We are past masters in knee –jerk reactions, quick fixes, Jugaad whenever the situation demands. We couldn’t have a flood preventing mechanism but we shall go head over heels, once some region gets flooded. We wouldn’t care for any changes to the Macaulay system of education for ages, but we would alter the whole syllabus to promote a particular ideology in hours. We would do nothing to fix the menace of unemployment, farmer’s distress and soldier’s woes for decades but we shall go all out to celebrate one small step towards mitigating any of such problems.