In the latest joint-parliamentary meeting, the Hon. President of India clearly stated the blueprint of the new government. It is a laudable to-do list! They have covered the much needed points, especially about the Infrastructure, corruption, and black money. Infrastructure is an indispensable part of an economy, and India is leagues behind from its contemporary rivals China, Brazil, Taiwan, and South Africa. Corruption is the grass-root level of decay in India, so yes, it has to be weeded out of the system. Black money again is a big problem. It must be brought back in circulation and steps should be strictly taken against it in future. There are many more big problems like brain drain, illegal immigration, a moldy education system, messy town planning ( I think it should be a whole different department), environmental degradation, e-governance, etc.
But what about the small problems? What about the problems that we see every day and have grown so used to that we have learned to live with them? What about the problems that have direct effect on our peace of mind? Let me jot down examples to remind you.
If you are in Mumbai, you know about how dirty the railway terminals are. You would know about the nallas, the slums, Juhu beach loaded with filth, to point out a few. These are supposed to be grand and sparkling as they are in the Financial Capital and Bollywood centre of India, where thousands of people gather every day, including tourists. What does it do to our thought process? No amount hit movies or tall buildings can fix this image.
Delhi- ites know what a black and white city Delhi is, with clean and neat metros and roads in contrast with jammed and crammed, stinking market places and localities. The old and the New Delhi are two different worlds. So are CP and areas like Kamla market. What does it makes people who see the mess everyday think? No number of metro rails or even bullet trains can reduce this difference.
Bhopal, my very own city, could be an international favorite only if the town plan wasn’t messy, if BRTS was introduced AFTER widening the roads (possible only and only with a good town planning!), if the areas around the lakes, dams and heritage sites could be built in a modern standard and saved from encroachment, if only people didn’t throw garbage wherever they wanted… No amount of building malls will correct the tainted scenery.
You begin to think- this mess is the reality, and that’s how it’s going to be. Deal with it, or migrate to a foreign land.
TO ALL INDIANS. You know how many throw garbage out of the train. Simply because there is no dustbin in the coach. Why can’t we complain, or collect the mess in a bag and keep it in a corner?
You know how many spit and dirty public places even if there are dustbins.
You know how you ignore complaining to the authorities when public toilets, places are not clean. That’s because the authorities don’t care, I agree.
But can this cycle of ignorance and blame game continue? It’s like a wheel in zero gravity; spinning without moving forward, eternally in one place.
The development in Infrastructure, manufacturing industry, and in every other sector will mean NOTHING if the walls are covered in pan spit and garbage, and if the toilets stink. Can you imagine entering a world-class railway terminal with stained walls and garbage all around, with no proper services? Zero corruption level will not help if people don’t wake up and realize that clean and beautiful cities are their RIGHT and they should demand it. Visuals have a deep affect on a human’s psychology. What you see is what you believe in. You see garbage, you believe that that is the reality. Ignorance settles in, but subconsciously you want out. This leads to unsatisfied and frustrated citizens. No amount of increase in GDP and PPP will satisfy these frustrated masses. If they don’t see the development, how will they believe in it?
So what can Policy- makers do?
With a new enthusiasm and energy, they can set a special department or team for reaching the roots of this mess. It starts from the higher ups in bureaucracy. Give them targets, give them incentives, give them strict instructions to keep a check. TRAIN them as per the modern needs and international standards. As you go lower, give the workers, cleaners and other people doing odd jobs training and equipment. Make their work respectable!Good administration and effective communication is very important here. What happens is, that people with seemingly insignificant jobs like cleaning, sitting on counters, making rounds to check on others, labour jobs, etc. are not educated, trained, informed, or equipped. Even if they know what to do, no one checks if they are doing their jobs right (For an example, the general and sleeper coaches in a train is a mess. Let’s not even bring up the toilets!) As people already have no expectations, there is no strict action. The cycle thus again goes to the higher ups.
I propose that at least half the jobs regarding administration, implementation and grievances/ complaints should be given to management students. The lack of training and proper standards for government jobs recruitment at railways, ticket counters, public hospitals, various registration centers should be corrected. Proper checks must be ensured, and their performance measured. Complaints should be quickly handled.
Cleanliness, government and citizen communication, quick solutions to the problem are the basic structure of growth besides trade and economy. The newer cities should be planned with future in prospects in mind to avoid repetitions of the present problems. These are the little services that make a ‘beautiful’ economy. The policy makers should introduce reforms and policies, to make what already exists, better!
What should citizens do?
AWAKE!! Realize that the higher standards of life can be reached for the rich and the poor alike if public areas are clean and beautiful! It is your right! The standard of living rises with better hygiene, more happiness, and communication with a government that responds and helps. A beautiful house can give you peace only until you stay in. But once you step out to work or just for a stroll, it depends on your surroundings to either frustrate or invigorate. Promote environment friendly culture, use bicycles whenever possible, stop treating your cities and towns like garbage cans or washbasins or toilets, be an active citizen! If every person keeps his area of the town clean, if every municipality does its work like it should be, the day isn’t far when we will ‘feel’ India becoming a superpower instead of just reading about it in newspapers. Society is another name for tolerance, patience, and unity combined. It can either strive to move forward or starve and die.
I am going to start an awareness revolution by questioning the authorities and telling them about what I see wrong. I will take advantage of the newly formed government’s energy, and help them it in reaching the bigger goals through small steps. It won’t matter if I’m in Bhopal or outside. I will do my part. Will you?