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Not Much Vikaas

Not Much Vikaas

Good governance was one of the key promises made by PM Narendra Modi during his election campaign in 2014. As a part of its election manifesto the BJP had vowed to put an end to the jungle raj and radically improve the law and order situation in UP. Performance of Yogi Adityanath’s government in hundred days does not give any hope of fulfilling this promise in UP. There has been no let-up in the crime rate in UP. The UP government has admitted that the crime has spiked during the 100 days.  The Thakur-Dalit clashes and rising incidents of rapes have exposed government’s failure in maintaining law and order. Several incidents of lynching, honour killing, cow vigilantism and the like have hit the state over the past two months.

The following major crime incidents as reported in Hindustan Times on June 26 prove that the Yogi Adityanath government failed miserably on the law and order front.

·       May 2: Activist of Hindu Yuva Vahini allegedly killed a middle aged Muslim man Mohammad Gulam in Sohi in Bulandahahar after a Rajput woman eloped with a Muslim.

·       May 9: Two young sisters, daughters of a retired soldier, were murdered with their throat slit inside their Ram Vihar colony residence in Para. 

·       May 15: Two jewellers, Megh and Vikas Agarwal, were shot dead and two others seriously injured at busy Holi gate market of Mathura city. Assailants fled with jewellery.

·       May 15: In a gruesome case of alleged honour killing, a couple hacked to death in Saidpur area of Badaun.

·       May 17: Anurag Tiwari, 2007 batch Karnataka cadre IPS officer, found dead on road under mysterious circumstances on Meera Bai Marg.

·       May 21: Alleged Hindu Yuva Vahini members drag a couple out of house in Meerut and thrashed them.

·       May 22: A Muslim cleric was shot dead in a mosque at Naseerpur village in Mau.

·       June 1: Vice-President of BJP’s minority wing of Bareilly, Raees Ahmed, was shot dead in broad daylight.

·       June 23: A 19 year old girl was killed after being thrown out of a taxi in Madiaon allegedly for resisting a rape bid.   

One of the reasons for the increasing crimes is the government’s soft corner towards the right wing groups who take law into their hands. In spite of the bold statement of the CM that the law breakers will be dealt with an iron hand irrespective of their party allegiance, the government has failed to take action on the hooligans belonging to BJP.

 The transfer of a courageous UP cop, Shreshtha Thakur, circle officer in Bulandshahar district, to the remote district of Bahraich is a proof of the government’s failure to take action against the law breakers within the BJP fold. The 34-year-old police officer had stood up to a group of unruly BJP workers and sent five of them to jail for breaking the law. On June 22, Thakur and her team stopped Pramod Lodhi, a local BJP worker, for not wearing a helmet while driving a motorbike. He was joined by his supporters who misbehaved and obstructed her in carrying out her duties. Thakur refused to budge. Local BJP leaders made this a prestige issue and a delegation of party MLAs and MPs even met chief minister Yogi Adityanath demanding action against her, which soon followed.

There has been no respite in the crimes during the BJP rule of three years. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the crime rate in India -crimes reported per 100,000 populations – increased to 581 in 2014 and 582 in 2015 from 456 in 2005. “The law and order has gone for a toss under the three years of BJP rule at the Centre. There has been a marked increase in the number of rape, murder, loot and lynching incidents,” said Randeep Surjewala, the Congress spokesperson after visiting the kin of 15-year-old Junaid who was killed by a mob on board a Mathura-bound train recently. 

Corruption was the main plank on which BJP fought 2014 Lok Sabha election and BJP came to power with promise of rooting out corruption. Global perception about corruption in India according to Transparency International’s corruption ratings for 2016 remains very high. There has been only a marginal reduction in corruption. India has improved perceptions regarding its degree of corruption by 10% since 2012. Although no major corruption cases at the top level have been unearthed during the Modi regime, people continue to suffer from the demon of corruption at the lower level. The government’s dilution of the Whistleblower’s Act and dilly-dallying on the Lokpal and Lokayutkas seem to indicate that it is not determined to root out corruption.

The BJP had vociferously supported the ‘India Against Corruption’ campaign spearheaded by Anna Hazare with the demand for putting in place an anti-corruption watchdog, Lokpal. Although the Lokpal bill was passed in 2013, the BJP government has been sleeping over the appointment of Lokpal, giving the excuse of not having an opposition leader in the Lok Sabha. A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi on April 28, 2017 stated unequivocally that absence of opposition leader in Lok Sabha cannot be an excuse for appointing the Lokpal. “As a policy of zero tolerance against corruption, the bill seeks to establish in the country, a more effective mechanism to receive complaints relating to allegations of corruption against public servants,” the court said, underlining the necessity to have the watchdog. Even then the Modi government has not taken it seriously. It is a big question mark on the sincerity of the government to implement its own promise of a corruption free India.

Demonetization was imposed on the people of India with the promise of unearthing black money. But the government has not told the people of India how much black money was unearthed as a result of the most painful process the common people of India had to undergo. Many studies have brought to light that one of the root causes of farmers’ unrest and suicide in different parts of India is the adverse impact of demonetization. Because the traders do not have enough cash to purchase agricultural produce the price of many items like tur, onion, potato etc. crashed, even though the farmers got a bumper crop.

It does not seem that the slogan of sabka saat sabka vikas has been translated into reality. According to the Human Development Report (HDR) released on July 6 India is ranked 131 out of 188 countries in a list that is topped by Norway. India ranked third among the South Asian Countries behind Sri Lanka and Maldives. According to the HDR 2017 India’s Human Development Index score fell to 27% due to regional disparities in education, health parameters and living standards within the country. Inequalities in the country are increasing at an alarming rate. The latest study by Oxfam, an international NGO, shows that one percent of the population of India holds a huge 58% of the country’s wealth, higher than the global figure of 50%.  Just 57 billionaires in India led by Mukesh Ambani, now have the same wealth ($ 216 billion) as that of the bottom 70 per cent population of the country. The CEO of India’s top IT firm earns 416 times the salary of a typical employee in his company.

India ranked 97 out of 118 countries on the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) Poverty Index in 2016, behind Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, among others, but ahead of Pakistan and three other Asian countries. It was positioned 80 out of 104 countries the previous year. India had the lowest rank among the BRICS nations: with Brazil in the top at 16, Russia at 24, China at 29 and South Africa at 51. As per the report two out of five children below five years of age are stunted in India.

The economic policies pursued by the BJP government at the centre are accentuating the gap between the rich and the poor. At the same time the government with the support of a large section of the media has succeeded in creating a mirage that the policies of Modi government are going to build a glorious future for the poor of India.

Some of the policies of the Modi government are in the direction of good governance. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has contributed to considerably improve cleanliness in the urban centres. Digital India for making available government services to the people electronically and GST (Good and Services Tax), if implemented properly with sensitivity to the poor, can contribute to good governance.

The promise of good governance will become a reality only if the life and security of all citizens are ensured. If this is to happen the government has to give up its soft approach towards the vigilante groups and take stern action against the groups which have the strong support of the Sangh Parivar. Secondly, the BJP has to discontinue its strategy of polarizing Hindus by fomenting communal riots, as it is happening in West Bengal. The opposition parties have to expose to the public the game played by the BJP behind the communal flare ups, especially in the non-BJP ruled states.  Thirdly, a robust Lokpal is to be put in place without any further delay. Fourthly, the government has to initiate strong agriculture friendly economic policies that benefit small and marginal farmers as well as landless labourers in view of preventing migration of the rural poor to the urban centres. Fifthly, industrialization has to focus on labour intensive industries in order to provide jobs to the ten million youth added every year to the labour force. Sixthly, budget allocation for education and health is to be enhanced so that the common people will be able to access quality education and quality healthcare.  Finally, the ruling party and the opposition have to commit themselves to adhere to the core principles and values of the Indian Constitution. The BJP has to say goodbye to its Hindutva ideology because it is diametrically opposed to the very foundation of the Indian nation: pluralism, equality, justice, liberty and brotherhood.

(jacobpt48@gmail.com)

(Published on 17th July 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 29)