TWO simultaneous scenarios: the government is spending Rs. one lakh crore for the Commonwealth Games; the Food Minister does not want to distribute rotting food grains to starving millions, he would rather let them rot and dump them in the ocean. Just these two instances speak of the priorities and preferences of the UPA. As part of beautification and cleansing of the city before the Commonwealth Games the beggars and homeless are being moved out, even as structures put up for the grand show are crumbling one after another, the unusually heavy rains washing them away.
Two international reports released last week – one on quality of death and the other on quality of life place India far far below several smaller and poorer countries. In the quality of death report, India is the last in the list of 40 worst nations to die in. The quality of death ranking is based on such factors as health care and social and family support given to dying people. The attention and care these patients receive in the last days of their lives, what is known as palliative care. According to the report by the Economic Intelligence Unit, even Uganda and Iceland are better places to die in than India.
In another recent survey by an international weekly, India has been positioned 78th among 100 best nations. It has hardly moved up in position in the last several decades. The survey took into consideration education, health, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and political environment. In the UNDP human resource development index 2009, India was 134th among 182 countries. In the past several decades India has been nearly maintaining its position, indicating lack of initiatives and implementation.
And on the farcical side, our Prime Minster has been voted as one of the best ‘statesman-politician’ in an opinion poll among world leaders! He heads a government that is one of the most corrupt independent India has seen. Scams after scams running into mind-boggling thousands of crores have been unearthed by the media and enthusiastic social activists. The UPA rule I and II have seen unprecedented destructive activities by anti-nationals going in several names like Maoists and jehadis. The core sectors of developments like health and education are being addressed only with the rich and the able in mind. Almost every locality in the capital city boasts of three star and five star hospitals, but women deliver in streets and hospital corridors.
India endlessly boasts about its youth strength. It is supposed to be the envy of the world. And yet, as a survey pointed, India has the oldest prime minister among major countries with a cabinet filled with people who are well past their use-by date. Bureaucrats are never retired and are again and again given extensions or alternative chairs. Their number is too long to list.
When the MPs staged a high-decibel nauseating mock drama for a salary hike-at least one rupee above the Secretary to the government of India-we saw the spectre yet again of our decorated soldiers returning badges of medals of honour because the government and the politicians were not even willing to listen to their long standing, simple and single demand of one-rank one pension. The defence minister brushed it aside as a ‘complicated issue.’
A recent newspaper report pointed out that a large number of our members of parliament have never ever opened their mouth in the House, or even put up questions. In the Congress the ‘non-participating’ members’ list is led by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi. The most privileged member of the ruling party says that there are two India. One for the rich, other for the poor. No prize for guessing where he belongs.
It is not as though the public is not seething or reacting. They have not got the right political leadership that would express their angst. A recent SMS doing the round shows what the public thinks: “A shooter wins gold medal and gets Rs three crore from the government. A soldier shoots to defend the nation and gets killed, he gets a few thousands, Jai Ho.” The entire nation has to take the blame for this state of our nation, not just the government of the day, because after all we chose them, corruptible EVMs notwithstanding.
At the end of the monsoon session of parliament, the ruling party condescendingly assured that several ‘pending bills’ including ones like safeguarding enemy properties would be passed in the next session. The opposition in the meanwhile lamented and taunted that the government could not pass as many bills as it promised despite complete support from them. It sounded as though for both the government and the opposition the tally of bills passed alone was the issue or mark of ‘success.’ These bills hardly have anything to do with the common man and his little concerns. One is reminded of the great poet WB Yeats’ words:
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.