Being a responsible Indian citizen, this idle banter by our esteemed Prime Minister without saying anything concrete is a serious concern for the country. What he effectively said was I will do this, don’t ask me the timelines, I did this, which according to me is a great achievement and I don’t care how the world thinks of me. Is coalition dharma a bottleneck for national security? If yes, then you being the head of the state, why are you thinking of saving your chair and the inflow into your pocket instead of concentrating on the national security? No mention to the national fiascos – bomb blasts, civil unrest, cross border implications. Only thing he tried to say is and he said it atleast three times, foreign investment is good for the health of the country. How and why, someone tell me. Below is the main stuff of what he said and what I thought of what he said.
We would achieve independence in the true sense only when we are able to banish poverty, illiteracy, hunger and backwardness from our country. This would be possible only when we learn from our failures and build on our successes.
You are aware that these days the global economy is passing through a difficult phase. The pace of economic growth has come down in all countries of the world. Seen together, the European countries are estimated to grow at 0 percent this year. Our country has also been affected by these adverse external conditions. Also, there have been domestic developments which are hindering our economic growth. Last year our GDP grew by 6.5 percent. This year we hope to do a little better.
I would request the government to publish a white paper as to what are the measures which the government is taking to insulate Indian economy from what’s happening in the world and what is being done to boost up the GDP instead of wishing for the better of all
While doing this, we must also control inflation. This would pose some difficulty because of a bad monsoon this year. However, we have taken many measures to deal with the situation. In districts where there has been a deficit of 50 percent or more in the rainfall, diesel subsidy is being provided to farmers by the Government. Seed subsidy has been enhanced. Funds available under the Central scheme for fodder have been increased. Our effort is to ensure that people do not face difficulty due to shortage of seeds, fodder or water in any part of the country.
The government has been saying it’ll control inflation for years but it is yet to do something concrete. Failure of monsoon is not a once in a lifetime thing for India. It’s a common thing in India which happens every now and then. In case monsoons fail in an year, do we have any alternate mode of sustenance? For example, take the case of Telangana, which is a tank based irrigation network. Take the statistics 150 years before(it exists). How many tanks we had then, how many do we have now, total area, total water volume and so on. I am not talking of the farm output for this. Yesterday, came the news of pollution of Ganga. Some 7000 crores are allocated for this and of this, some 1200 crores are spent. What purpose was achieved? How strong is the FCI network? How much is the write off annually? For what reasons? Can we ensure that instead of doling out subsidies, concentrate more on strengthening infrastructure?
As far as creating an environment within the country for rapid economic growth is concerned, I believe that we are not being able to achieve this because of a lack of political consensus on many issues.
Lack of political consensus is a correct thing to talk about. Unless the parties come out of this communal mentality and divisive politics, nothing is going to change. Like in Britain, can the government create a shadow cabinet to challenge the cabinet? I request, as a concerned citizen, to publish the roadmap to get this addressed.
Time has now come to view the issues which affect our development processes as matters of national security.
Does this include siphoning off funds for personal gains, time based mandatory promotions, promoting regionalism and communalism, Kashmir issue, terror attacks, revisiting the definition of reservations, black marketing, cross border terrorism, Naxalism, the chaos in the North-East and the likes, Corruption, illegal immigration, emigration and brain drain, unemployment and subsequent discontentment, independent foreign policy, indigenization of war machinery, maximize exports and minimize imports, more attention on neighbours and umpteen such?
If we do not increase the pace of the country’s economic growth, take steps to encourage new investment in the economy, improve the management of Government finances and work for the livelihood security of the common man and energy security of the country, then it most certainly affects our national security.
India can survive as a hermit kingdom for ages with the level of resources it has got. What we need sincerity from the side of the government to stop dissipation of the resources and aid in their proper channelling. Jharkhand as a state has got the capability to provide electricity to at least five or six states. But that’s not the actual case now. National Grid failed a few days before. The reason given is UP has extracted more than what it is allocated. If power theft is controlled in UP, would we have faced this situation? Indian economy majorly focuses on micro businesses. We don’t follow the pattern of a Tesco or a Walmart at every corner. What we follow is every man has got it’s own business. Instead of ensuring financial independence of an individual, how does attracting investment from some other country and stressing it again and again becomes a matter of national security? Next to come is weaponry. Why is India utterly incapable of creating something of the world standard? Take the hypothetical case of India fighting China. Lets say India buys 80% of it’s war machinery from France. At a later date, if India and France become enemies, what’s the guarantee that France doesn’t provide a list of all the underbellies to China to crush India? Is this not a matter of national security?
I believe that this period of difficulties will not last long. Even as we face these problems, we should be encouraged by the fact that we have achieved extraordinary successes in many areas in the last 8 years. We now need to replicate these successes in newer areas.
Probably, we may have achieved extraordinary successes in many areas according to the standards set by the country’s bureaucracy. But if we list out all those areas, how many of them place India at the top of the world in that area?
1. Employment to 8 crore people in 5 years
3. Agricultural output. But is the farmer getting sufficient money for what he is producing?
4. Mandatory child education
5. Mid-day meals
7. Child malnutrition
8. General Health
9. Vocational Training
10. Infrastructure Enhancement
11. Foreign investment
12. Availability of banking facilities
13. Centralization of welfare and transfer of funds to bank accounts
14. Housing to the poor
This year we will present the Twelfth Five Year Plan for consideration of the National Development Council.
Can we have statistics regarding the effectiveness of planning and monetary utilization of all government planning?
The incidents of violence which occurred in Assam recently are very unfortunate. I know that these incidents have resulted in the disruption of the lives of a large number of people. We fully sympathize with those families which have been affected by the violence. We are doing everything possible to provide relief to them. I also promise to you that our Government will make every effort to understand the reasons behind the violence and work hard with the State Governments to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in any part of the country.
The government has been saying this again and again and we face these situations again and again. Unless the government focuses on identifying the root cause of the problem, nothing is going to change. We don’t need something like Nellie Massacre to remind us as to what went wrong.
I would like to congratulate our scientists and technologists who have enhanced our prestige by successfully testing the Agni V Missile and launching the RISAT- I Satellite in space this year. Recently the Cabinet has approved the Mars Orbiter Mission. Under this Mission, our spaceship will go near Mars and collect important scientific information. This spaceship to Mars will be a huge step for us in the area of science and technology.
We have seen a lot of discussion in the recent months about the role of our armed forces and their preparedness. I would like to emphasise here that our armed forces and paramilitary forces have defended the security of our country both during war and peace with valour and honour. Our soldiers have made the biggest of sacrifices, whenever needed. Today I would like to reassure our countrymen that our armed forces and paramilitary forces are prepared to face any challenge. The Government will continue to work for modernizing these forces and providing them with the necessary technology and equipment. Today, I would like to thank our security forces, who are guarding our frontiers bravely, from the bottom of my heart. We will continue to make efforts for their welfare.
But remember, it’s lack of political will on the international stage which has asked for these level of sacrifice from the nation’s army. What of the intelligence gathering mechanism? How robust is that? The soldiers have done many sacrifices for the country, but the primary question we may ask here is are we supporting our armed personnel sufficiently and whole heartedly?
These are the things the Prime Minister said, the government will do ‘as soon as possible’
2. Welfare of Tribals and Backward regions
3. Scholarships for backward class students
4. Manual scavenging
5. Make the government accountable and transparent