“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented – Elie Wiesel”
Here is a list of facts which highlights the Indian positive story, a definitive ‘Silent Revolution’ being ushered in India by the ‘System’ itself. Facts can only be measured, but can’t be denied.
It is not because the poor belonged to a certain caste or religion that the central government provided a guarantee for rural employment to over 48 million households. The government had not checked before providing food security to 67% of our population whether this would feed a particular religious group.
India became the 3rd Largest Economy in the World and 2nd Fastest Growing, despite Global Meltdown. A decade of economic prosperity has allowed millions and millions of families to realize their upwardly revised aspirations and life experiences (average GDP 8% in last decade. India’s Per Capita Income in 2004-05 was Rs 24,143. It is now increased to Rs 68,747 in 2013. Only 2.7% pay tax, though we have one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios).
Food for all: subsidized food grain to 67% (81 crore people) of India’s 1.2 billion people by Food Security Bill. Beneficiaries under the scheme would get rice at Rs.3, wheat at Rs.2 & coarse grains at Rs.1/kg. Food is now a ‘Right’ NO INDIAN SLEEPS HUNGRY. Food Bill will help wipe out menace of bogus ration cards, reach desired beneficiaries.
What’s cheap food for the poor in India is healthy and expensive nutrition for the rich in the west. India’s cheapest grains, disappearing in most of the country, are now much sought after cereals in America. They are priced in (US) some 500 times more than what New Delhi will supply its poor under the food security legislation at Rs.1 per kg. That’s less than two US cents per kg at current exchange rates. In contrast, the same coarse grains in the US are priced at a staggering $10 (Rs.630) and above per kilogram.
“If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives; The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. It is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway”
Social Inclusion: Under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA – Last Year – 5 crore accounts have been opened in 97000 villages in the country, 8 crore New Bank Accounts For Rural India, Land Bills, Mid-Day Meal Scheme, 10.52 crore school children provided meals daily. No where in the world, this has happened. 32 Lakh New BPL Electricity Connections and 8000 Villages electrified in last 1 Year. More than 2 lakh kilometers of new roads have been added to the rural road network in 9 years. With around 96.5 crore telephone connections, India is the second largest telecom market in the world today. Nearly 38 million houses obtained tap water connections during the last decade. More than 44 million families moved into own houses during last two 5 Year Plans. Aadhaar scheme, Direct Cash Transfer Enabled Service Delivery system identifies target beneficiaries of Govt’s schemes. do you really want to compare central government, which pulled 138 million Indians out of poverty in a decade to any other
Women Empowerment: The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 has been passed by the Parliament. It’s a strong Anti-Rape law which advocates death penalty in rarest of rare rape cases. Government initiates time-bound action plan to strengthen the police and administration to combat sexual crimes against women. An amount of Rs. 7515.72 crore has been projected for various schemes/programme relating to women to be implemented by the Ministry in the 12th Plan. Today, about 40% of the elected representatives in panchayats are women, compared to a reservation of 33% mandated for them. This is quiet a revolution. Do we really need to compare central to a party whose mothership, doesn’t even allow women to become members.
Anticorruption: All parties need to get on board to defeat corruption. India ushered in a revolution of transparency and fight against corruption by RTI Act. In the last year itself close to 10 lakh people, in all parts of our country sought information from the Central government authorities. Lokpal and the Lokayukta bill have been already introduced in the parliament. Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, Foreign Exchange Management Act etc., to tackle Black Money and many more bills passed.
Agriculture: Storing capacity of 1.5 crore tons of food grains created in last 1 year.
Education: Right to Education Act for every child should attend school education. Almost 5 lakh new schools were built in India in past one year. 6.8 lakh teachers have been appointed during the last 2 years. 7 NEW IIM’S, 8 NEW IIT’S and 10 NEW NIT’S were recently established.
National security: Government established a National Intelligence Grid NATGRID for security. Visible reduction in Naxal Related Incidents and Terror Related Incidents in Kashmir is a witness for national security.
Balanced agenda: Loan waiver for poor farmers and rural jobs guarantee. By US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, FDI caught the fancy of urban India. All these developments and many more achievements in Health (Rs 27,000 crore in 2011-2012), science and technology, defence (over 2 Lakh crore) etc., despite Parliament supremacy is obstructed by many who believe in anarchism and pessimism with no constructive suggestions.
Largest Democracy:“The Constitution declares India to be a sovereign, secular, democratic republic”. Over 92% people living in India are not the original inhabitants of India. Their ancestors came from outside, mainly from the North West. There is tremendous diversity in India, so many religions, castes, languages, ethnic groups, etc.
“Indian nationalism is not based on language, geography, ethnicity and religion, but is that of an idea of an ever-ever land emerging from an ancient civilization, united by a shared history, sustained by pluralist democracy”.
False Equivalence: We cannot have a national leader someone suspected of ethnic cleansing, a euphemism for mass murder along sectarian lines. Pseudo-religious, power hungry, bigotry, intolerance narrow and sectarian (which drew inspiration from Hitler’s ideology of racial purity) ideologies led to divisiveness. A State claim vibrant development model standing at 13th out of 17 big states in Hunger Index, 11th in the Per Capita Income having high malnutrition, school dropout rate, zero interest loan to capitalist, high farmer suicide ,twisted lokayukta, fake encounters . The list of false claims and lopsided growth is endless.
Change in me: There are many challenges like many steeped in casteism, communalism, superstitions, backward, feudal ideas and practices. It is not the change of government but a change of conscious of every individual for the Himalayan miracle to happen. Activist is not someone who says river is dirty, but someone who cleans the river. If Shouting and screaming at every evening could produce solutions to difficult and complex problems, India would have been the most efficacious and working corner of planet earth.
(written in 2013)