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Priority Issues For The Modi Government
With the monsoon session of the 16th Lok Sabha under way, even as the Modi government gets ready for addressing the challenges facing the nation in the wake of the disastrous performance of the UPA government that has been unceremoniously voted out by the people, fresh trouble is brewing for BJP. The economy of the country is in a shambles. The long family rule at the Centre has resulted in the reducing of the Opposition in Lok Sabha to a mere apology. Defence preparedness of the country is in tatters. Foreign policy has become a frighteningly retrograde issue. To make matters worse, senior BJP leader and Minister for Rural Development, Mr.Gopinath Mundey, died in a car crash, leaving the party leadership poorer by his absence.
Seat Of Power
Women Protesting Against Violence
The Agony Of Uttar Pradesh
The law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh has become a source of great shame and deep embarrassment both at home and abroad. In the face of a series of horrendous crimes against women, the state government has been adopting a brazen attitude and a mulish stand. It seems to be on a blinkers mode. It does not even want to make the right noises and seems to be hell-bent on a course of political hara kiri. In any case, no government which can't protect its people from criminals and anti-social elements, has the moral authority to stay in power. Besides, the state government is doing nothing to provide even basic civic amenities like toilets and electricity to the people who gave them the mandate to ameliorate their conditions and not to rule like the long-gone-by colonial masters. Countries like the US which welcomed the Modi government and expressed their willingness to do business with India, and the UN have condemned the unleashing of reprehensible violence in the state and the state government's unwillingness to correct the situation. The whole country has been seething with righteous indignation at the cruelties heaped on helpless poor women. The women of the state have been protesting against the administration's apathy to their plight. How long do the daughters of the country have to live in wretched conditions and indignity? How long would the Modi government remain a mute spectator to the goings on? This issue has captured the imagination of the people of the country like no other issue in the recent past.
Crimes Against Women
There have been heinous crimes committed against womenfolk in some other states also, like West Bengal and Meghalaya. Violence against women, whether it is rape, sexual harassment, stalking, eve teasing, harassment over dowry or discrimination on the basis of gender, should be ruthlessly put down. Perpetrators of such crimes should be meted out exemplary punishment. Erring or conniving law enforcement officers deserve no consideration and should be treated as partners in the crimes and punished accordingly.
Realignment Of Economy
The Modi government should put the country's economy on the right track and give it a boost by creating the right investment climate and business-friendly atmosphere. Sluggish growth rate of industrial output and gravity-defying inflation rates need special attention. Infrastructural development and growth in exports are other areas for focus as these are directly linked to creation of employment opportunities. Social infrastructure areas like Education and Healthcare are priority areas for substantial investments. Ever escalating fuel costs need to be brought under control. A watchful eye on continued availability of essential commodities is imperative. So are the measures needed to ensure that there is no hoarding which creates artificial scarcity of commodities.
Fighting Extremism Positively
Extremism has been draining our resources, hurting our national pride and weakening the will of the people. This problem has become endemic in the eastern and north eastern belt. The government should realize that no extremist movement could last long, let alone succeed, without support ftom the local people. Since we can't be fighting wars on the home turf which would knock out the bottom from integration of the people of regions who feel neglected from the economic advancement of the country as a whole, the government should set up a mechanism to address the fears and concerns of the people of the extremism-infested areas and bring them along to become active partners in the task of nation-building. Extremism and militancy are evils for which there should be zero tolerance. People should be convinced that the government will not only get rid of extremism but substitute it with economic and sicial development. The day the tribals and other people who inhabitate the hotbed of terrorism are convinced of the good intentions of the government and their lands and forests are not looked upon as easy meat by plunderers of the national wealth of natural resources, support and sympathy for extremism would wither away. Fight against terrorism calls for a relentless struggle against the evil, without the people of the affected areas becoming suspicious of the government's intentions towards them and becoming hostile.
In Defence of Defence Preparedness
India's defence preparedness leaves much to be desired. Procurement of dence supplies and equipment should be rid of corrupt practices and political and extraneous considerations. More than anything else, the morale of our defence personnel should be kept high by creating right conditions. We have had an awful number of accidents, sabotages, malfunctioning of equipment, and shortage of supplies and witnessed such gaping holes in our defence preparedness during the tenure of the last government. No more leaking-boats and earth-grabbing flying machines, please.
In Furtherence Of Foreign Policy
We have never been known to be pro-active in foreign policy matters. If we start off now, it would be a quantum jump. Relations with small neighbouring countries need to be assiduously nurtured. India should make deliberate efforts to shrug off the big brother image in the eyes of our small neighbours which need to be assured that they are our development partners.
Picking On Pakistan
A hostile and vulnerable Pakistan would be a perpetual thorn on our flesh. India should cultivate people-to-people contacts with that country and render the rabid elements and mealy-mouthed politicians become infructuous. Helping Pakistan build democratic institutions and salvage its teetering economy would help India win the goodwill of the right-thinking people of that country who have been held hostage by the military hawks and power-hungry intelligence apparatus. India should engage Pakistan in the process of joint economic and social development which would be in our mutual intetests. This a dexterous act which calls for a fine balancing act in our relations with Afganistan and China. A speedy normalization of our relations with Pakistan would result in the withering of that country's export of terrorism to and proxy war with India and enable us to fight terrorism at home successfully.
The Chinese Foreign Minister is expected to visit India next week. Mr.Modi has already extended an invitation to the Chinese President for a visit. It is hardly likely that any substantial issue would be discussed in these meetings. But these meetings may be expected to provide a lot of scope for sending right signals to our north eastern neighbour, with whom our relationship is currently based on suspicion. Mr.Modi would be required to convince the Chinese that India has no ambition of expanding its borders or nurturing hegemonistic ambitions. This would be a pre-requisite to create the right atmosphere for a friendly dialogue for increased trade relations with China.
Pakistan or China, our initiatives for a friendly engagement would be taken seriously by our collaborators only if we speak from a position of strength and authoriy. Hence the need for a higher threshold of defence preparedness.
Foreign Minister Of China
Need For Quick Resolution
These are some of the issues which Mr.Modi's government is required to address for a successful resolution. The longer any of the issues is left to fester, it would become that much more difficult to redress the situation and prevent conditions from getting out of control. For the issues have already been neglected for long, some even forgotten.
© 2014 Kalyanaraman Raman