As a part of International centre’s series on good governance Harsh Mander ex-bureaucrat, novelist and a social—what shall call him activist came to deliver a talk, he was to talk on reclaiming the governance for the poor, looked like he got it poor governance. Anyway that is my opinion. Of course being a former bureaucrat he is very articulate, and a not so subtle advocate for the congress. Not that it matters to me when I see multiple choice the only thing I can tick is either none of the above or all the above.
He opened his speech with interesting information to create awareness, about the project Nano being rescued by Gujarat. He laid bare, how the nano worked, three-quarters of the cost of Nano was subsidized by the govt. This he claims will be the model of Modi governance. He then explained that the Modi model of development had left Gujarat in the rock bottom of education and healthcare.
He then brought forth that since 1995 the governance has shifted from what it does for the interest of the poorest to what it does to the interest of the richest. I belong to the large populace of middle class which is so grossed in the mundane that I actually thought we had a congress government!
Governments he claimed could be nurturing, taking care of the weaker segments and strengthening them, or could be authoritarian and dictatorial; he claimed that Modi govt. would be the later…. Brutus of course was a nobleman.
As Mr.Mander put it, India was a country of contradictions on one hand we had hospitals that billed people in lakhs, and there were the poor to whom medical aid was not accessible. He spoke of no schools to one set of children, and air conditioned classrooms to the other, he spoke of Ambani’s 27 floor house in Bombay for 4 people, and every third Indian being homeless, this Mr.Mander is the direct effect of the congress globalization. Where does anyone else come into the picture?
The IAS officers he tells us are genuinely confused, and industrialization and resource grabbing to feed the industrial sector takes priority over the marginalized and their needs.
The food bill is crazy; we need to increase, production and distribution. What we need is technology in the farming sector, assistance for farming, removal of middlemen and corporate agricultural involvement. Enormous funds in creating IIT’s need to divert to create agriculture universities, the IRMA, Veterinary and forest resource development. Fisheries, this way we do reduce the displacement of indigenous people,
Yes dole is something that makes people complacent. Mr.Mander claimed that the food bill upset the middle class because—-
- It made people lazy
- It made people corrupt
- We cannot afford it.
There was an us and them kind of thinking. People sleeping on empty stomach, learning to eat less is just as criminal as throwing food out. But handing out substandard food is not the solution. Let me emphasize, people throwing away food is just as criminal as people having to sleep on an empty stomach. Our focus should on recreating the green and white revolution.
Mr. Mander felt that healthcare was available only for the rich, that is not strictly true. Yes AIMS, (incidentally the only institution more pseudo-hyped than IIT) and such institutes agree, certain kind of healthcare maybe, but by and large hospitals do their best, so what we are talking here is the need to create primary health centres, for which we have a constitutional provision. And senior citizen care.
Every child’s right to education, I do not see BJP or AAP objecting to it. of course the system is warped, if we have an entire district surviving on air-conditioned coaching classes on one end and lack of schools in the other the system is definitely warped. So why don’t we have school zone system. After all the heaven on earth America follows the system.
Actually what came to me over Mr.Mander’s talk was that, we have resources, but with the shift to globalization, and opening to foreign markets our focus went from an agrarian nurturing society to an aggressive, insecure grab while you can society. The need of the hour is DECENTRALIZATION and strengthening of local governing bodies with NO participation from central government so that the local issues are looked into and cared for that’s what will bring about a nurturing govt.
If not congressman Sharath Pawar will continue to destroy our forest resource to build Aldeide de Goa, displacing fisher folk, and taking away their land by arm twisting. And some IAS officer from batch of 420 will facilitate the process by covering up the loopholes, what we need at the end of the day is citizen awareness, and taking of responsibility. That is the social movement that is required.
We don’t need, Harvard scholars or Fulbright scholars creating our bills,Mr.Mander, we need that boy you spoke of to come up with the solution of the problem his community is facing, someone who is in the situation and knows what is the need of the people. The answer is localized governance.