As India observes 70 years of its Independence from the British Raj since August 15, 1947, and celebrates 71st Independence Day on 15th August 2017, it’s time to pause and review our achievements and failures. Looking back, one finds big strides made by the country in all walks of life, social, economic, science and technology so much so that it is now one of the fastest growing economies in the world. At the same time, point to ponder is that
India is pre-occupied currently with imposing cultural norms on its unwilling people resulting in mob violence against Dalits and minorities with ever rising social discords.
The country’s minorities and Dalits are living in fear, insecurity and deprivations, notwithstanding the Constitutional postulates of Justice, Equality and Fraternity without any discrimination of castes, creed, religions and sexes.
Inclusive development does no longer exist, demolishing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan, Sab Ka Saath Sab Ka Vikas. Kashmir is on the boil with its people alienated and communal tensions have overtaken the nation.
Corruption is on the rise as never before. According to official sources, there is an increase of 65 per cent in all types of corruptions since 2014. There is no checks and balance although façade of anti-corruption watchdog is in every Ministry/Department with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) at the apex. Lokpal (Principal Anti-corruption Watchdog) continues to be decommissioned despite law to this effect legislated in 2013, so much for seriousness to end, much less curb corruption in the Union Government. The size of corruption is 24 per cent of country’s GDP including 40 per cent corruption in arms trade, legal and international trade, 92 per cent corporate frauds and major covert corruption in electoral funding and political finances. Corporate frauds have increased to 80 per cent in 2015-16 from 69 per cent in 2013-14. In a collusive culture, only 0.06 per cent corruptions is reported.
At the cutting edge of public governance in the States at village panchayat, police, block, taluka, judiciary, district, divisional, state levels, corruptions continue to be unabated despite regular rhetorics and nauseating bombasts by political class and governments to the contrary.
Demonetisation of high-value Indian rupees on November 8, 2016 proved disastrous and disruptive resulting in the killing of small scale industry and major unorganized sector. It failed to curb terror funding, counterfeiting, Naxalism and cash based social economy, much less black money. A large number of people were rendered unemployed.
Education, health, social and other vital sectors like SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities related Government expenditure has been reduced by the NDA Union Government thus raising doubt about country’s further leap as a major economic power. Education is commercialized and the most vital infrastructure for any country’s all round development, which is education, has been adversely impacted by the NDA Union Government. GDP is down by 2 per cent with negligible domestic investments. There is joblessness in country’s growth. One is left with a doubt about India’s economic growth with recessionary world economy and a growing domestic regressive political economy.
Coming to foreign relations, India’s relations with its neighbours have worsened as never before. Deepening bonding between Russia and China, growing ties between Russia and Pakistan and ever increasing economic and defence relations between China and country’s neighbours, India appears to be besieged by China. Prime Minister Modi’s unprecedently highest number of foreign visits, have rendered country’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj ineffectual, reducing her as a mere public relations authority to rescue Indian citizens abroad in distress. Country’s foreign policy has reduced to mere optics. Even growing US-India ties appears to be tactical designed to act as a counter balance vis-à-vis China. There is a growing concern over the inconsistent conduct of the Trump administration.
India’s media world has come to a sorry state where both the major electronic and print media are hounding dissidents at home by calling them anti-national and holding the opposition to account for the government’s shortcomings. Media are terrorized as never before to praise government. Owners are arm twisted to toe the official line. It seems media have abdicated its primary role to play adversarial of the government of the day, scrutinize functioning of the government denying, in the process, people’s inherent right to fair and objective news. The news is mostly fake, paid, trolled and regimented. A fascism like the situation has gripped the nation with ever increasing intolerance. With a deteriorating foreign policy, growing social turmoil indulged in by Sanghis (Hindut forces) patronized by the NDA Union Government and BJP ruled States, ever increasing communal violence against Dalits and minorities over cow protection and other misconceived polarization of people along religious and castes line, have not only strained the very idea of India as envisaged in its Constitution but also strained country’s law enforcing agencies and security forces. India now stands at cross roads where it is sinking into chaos and mobocracy from the heretofore held rule of the law based system of democratic governance with diversity, co-existence and tolerance being its core values as enshrined in the Constitution of India. There is a growing public perception that country’s democracy is a mere election centric, so much for the state of the nation on its 71st Independence Day!