Thursday, August 5, 2010

POVERTY AND HUNGER- 2 ISSUES BUT COMMON CAUSE- APATHY


I really feel myself in a very complex state of mind when i hear about people dying due to starvation. I feel helpless and sad on the sorry state of affairs, on the callousness and insensitivity being shown by our politicians and bureaucrates, which is cardinal cause behind such deaths, which can easily be brought down drastically, if our politicians can pay small heed to the causes, which are mostly due to gaps and holes in distribution mechanism. If central goverment can allot a little time and effort to plug this problem, it can be resolved ( only if and a BIG IF here, if goverment is serious and willing to consider it a cause of worry, as those who die, do not constitute as big a might or threat to shake the power equtions in Delhi). The big question is that inspite of the resources, these conditions arise and arise regularly, which raise very serious questions on the intent of the government as it does nothing on its part, besides paying mere lip service. Time and again such deaths take place with regularity, but do not give sleepless nights to politicians as those who fall victim to the apathy and indifference are not so powerful and potent to topple the governments.
What is more appalling is that those who die due to starvation can be saved, for the want of foodgrain which they starve is in adequate quantity, but due to the negligent and lax attitude of the officials and politicians, it does not reach to real needy, who needs it most. Millions of ton of foodgrain is left to rot each year, which if utilised can feed half a million people for a year. In a shocking news, Empowered group of ministers did not permit the distribution of millions of tonns of wheat despite food ministry and FCI's approval for the reason that it was going to cost 5000 crores on the exchequer. Ultimately the proposed wheat rotted as it was thought more appropriate to let it rot than spend additional amount to feed famished people. How can such blatant examples be justified at all, especially given the fact that this government boasts of being pro-poor and pro-people, which after this and diversion of funds from SC/ST account to commonwealth games negates and falsifies all its claims. If India was running short of food, it would not have been such a big issue, but when we have such huge storage of food grain, we, as a nation, ought to feel ashamed at such instances of people dying of starvation.

Monday, July 27, 2009

NREGA- THE TRUTH & CORRECTIVE MEASURES

NREGA, a scheme with a view to provide relief to labourers and workers was launched with a lot of fanfare, and gave people a ray of hope that getting work in one’s village or near-by area would be a reality. But after 4 years, picture has not changed much from the past except those who are in charge of work under NREGA have made their fortunes. It is this very fact that has been stopping the realization of such welfare schemes, which needs a proper understanding as how this (the siphoning off money) can be stopped so that the real needy get the benefit of such schemes.

It is this nature of these schemes which requires an altogether different model so as to stop this unchecked malpractice. And it is urgently needed at this stage of NREGA to put the brakes on this mushrooming business of siphoning off the huge sums, which in reality ends up prospering those who are made guardians of such schemes, but instead become the real beneficiary of these welfare schemes! So these state sponsored welfare schemes need a serious re-look whether they are doing any service or just emptying state coffer.

A metamorphosis in the approach towards implementation and monitoring is must at this point of time as these two areas need a serious overhauling. The earlier it is understood, the better. Centre should devise some novel ways to ensure that such schemes do reach to the people for which they are aimed at. And this really needs a strong will on the part of those who have to call the shots in this matter. What is perplexing is the way these schemes are formulated keeping those who really need them, but end up shattering their hopes by the humungous embezzlement and swindling. Rahul Gandhi, the chief architect behind NREGA, confesses the siphoning off but amusingly doesn’t provide any remedy to this cancerous malady, which tantamounts to maintaining status quo. This is where we need some out of the box thinking which can at the least reduce the percentage of the amount being siphoned off. This year central government has increased the allocation to NREGA by almost 240%, but has not looked at the better and more efficient delivery mechanism to ensure that this massive amount is put to use with greater transparency. It is these above-mentioned steps which need to be taken care of rather than increasing the amount by a huge margin.

Minister of rural welfare Mr. Pradeep Jain blamed state governments for the mess on account of inefficient handling and lack of monitoring as well as their reluctance in implementing the scheme. But this isn’t the way out as it shoulders all the responsibility on the state, which is an erroneous approach as this approach leaves zero accountability on part of central government right after the allocation of funds to the states. It is this where central government needs to come forward and take more accountability and responsibility in ensuring that the huge amounts are utilized fairly. If even 30 to 40% money reaches to the intended destination, it would certainly make a huge impact in the conditions of the villagers and would prove to be catalyst in bringing about social justice to the forefront through such schemes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

CELEBRITY BASHING- A FAIR SOLUTION!.

I’m really in a fix as what to do with these self-proclaimed patrons of public sentiments, who they aren’t from any stretch of imagination. India is only second to China in terms of readership, so it has lot to do with the above-mentioned scenario as there are no dearth of attention seekers writers who do write with this very purpose. And so is the case with newspapers, who in the race to get maximum readership do pander to such gimmickry by giving these writers a valuable space where they indulge in every possible effort in the world to get noticed. And this number has been on a meteoric rise for quite some times. These so called attention seekers will take help of celebrities to get themselves noticed. And this is in vogue these days, where these writers denigrate and make false accusations against the celebrities, which gives them an instant popularity as they piggyback on their name (Celebrities name) to make their name known. This short route to getting famous is gaining a lot of ground lately and publications are to blame for this. Publications do have to differentiate between right and wrong without any exception which is the need of the hour and it is high time that this practice is put to an end. I read an article recently which had nothing but celebrity bashing all over just to garner readership. This is where line needs to be redrawn to make it more rational and less news-mongering. Celebrities are the ones who have to bear the brunt of from either side. If they do something for a cause, it is reckoned as publicity stunt, and if they do it and keep it to themselves, even then they are blamed for doing nothing. So what ought to be done to get them freed from such allegations, is a million-dollar puzzle? Celebrities are the same persons as we are, except for the fact that they are much more known and their earning is also more than ours, so first and foremost thing should be to avoid being judgmental about them. Let them do things of their choices without putting too much pressure on them. Democratic rules should be applied in this regard and celebrities should be given free domain to decide on their own free of any external pressure. This would be an ideal state which will open myriad other avenues for both sides to share a healthy rapport with each-other without the help of the moderator or should i say broker to put it bluntly.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Secularism-Myths & Reality!

For years i have been reading a lot of stuff regarding communalism and secularism and candidly have not been able to decipher what it takes to be a real communal or an authentic secularist.To make matters worse, every newspaper or party has different set of norms to be categorized in to these two categories.but most of them concur on one thing that to be declared a real secular or if put differently, that to be demonised as communal, one ought to take sides with minorities without any exception.This is something which is a must to pass the litmus test of being a secular, and very few who do not accept this definition automatically qualify to the second category, no exception or flexibility granted here as well.So here i am nonplussed regarding my own standing as to which category i belong to! I have my own set of norms for these above mentioned categories and if applied, i am a non- conformist who do want to be grinded between these very narrow and shallow definitions.first,what is more important, being secular and indulging in all sort of illicit activities ranging from hoarding uncountable money to harbouring criminals or being communal and giving development issues a priority and staying honest.Given a chance i would choose later over former any day any time.Hey at least wait for this post to be completed before declaring me communal.I am not going to defend indefensible as most of you might have made it out from my aforementioned sentences, a resounding no to you all, if my initial lines have given you this impression. I am not here to justify innocent killings irrespective of their religion or cause of their killing.Nor this author will ever try to indulge in such irrational views.I would liketo channelise my energy and positivity towards constructing something productive,if i can in any which way. For me, such categorization does not do any good to the society, instead it divides the society in to pro and anti communities.And this makes the situation much more intricate than ever before.sorry for diverging from main issue, i am getting back on the track to continue with the thought i commenced.What perplexes and irks me most is the way when these categories are used to deliver and cow maximum benefits.And when all else is forgotten conveniently to suit their own ends leaves me exasperated.Is this the same country which would have conceived at the time of independence by those who made the dream of free India a reality.If they were alive today, would have felt egregiously shameful for the kind of country it has been made in to, a place full of chaos, disorder and darkness.Hope no freedom fighter is alive to witness such an ignominious state of affairs.I have problem with those who profess secularism for the sake of it, just to garner minority vote,they will stoop to any lowly act,be it supporting SIMI or Jama masjid's shahi imam Bukhari(who once called Bharat mata a Dayan).Is this the real secularism our freedom fighters thought of? We have 20 crores Muslims in our country, only second to Indonesia in terms of sheer number. we have had Muslims leading us in almost every walk of life from movies to politics to sports to singers.but inspite of this we have to prove our secular credentials before failures such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and myriad others.Why? Because we are a Hindu majority nation, so majority would have to make sacrifices just to prove their secular credentials! this really makes a mockery of a nation which is the most secular nation in the world.We feel ashamed of Godhara Riots, which is natural, but to make it larger than what it was, is as questionable as questioning our secular credentials. Pakistan is a Muslim State, yet sectarian clashes are a day-to-day phenomenon there despite their being a Muslim nation? The likelihood of strifes where there are several communities residing along is natural, not as if India is an exception. Tell me a single country which is blot-free in this regard, yet western countries do pose questions on this facet of our democracy! I find it risible that we have to prove our credentials before such countries who are involved in genocides, massacres and carnages themselves.U.S.A., a country which itself has very opprobrious human rights record, rejects Narendra Modi visa application on the basis of 2002 riots during his tenure. What human rights are they talking about, when they have killed more than 1 million people in Iraq in the name of WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION(which were never there in the first case). Do they have the right to ask anything regarding human rights from us? a HUGE NO as far as i am concerned.do we need to prove our secular bona fides to such countries, who themselves are neck-deep in the violation of human rights! inspite of their sorry state of affairs, they play the role of judge which is laughable as well as non sensical.If something is bad, we can repair it or improve upon by ourselves, but we do not need models, which are flawed and warped.One more thing which i have not comprehanded yet is the reiteration of almost all parties about their secular records and their pledge not to support COMMUNAL BJP, and this can be seen in the manner they ask voters to save country by not casting their votes for BJP.And this is also evident when they readily agree to support a party, which once was their prime enemy in pre poll scenario, just to SAVE THE COUNTRY FROM THIS MENACE CALLED BJP! these kind of non-sensical and irrational things make me laugh as this above mentioned scenario puts development on the back burner just to SAVE COUNTRY being ruled by COMMUNALS! If one has never seen a foe turning in to a friend, one can see this by being an active observer of Indian elections(Pre and Post both). It will certainly make one marvel at sudden change of hearts after the declaration of results which is nothing sort of miracle.