Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Under a democratic system of governance, "people"are supposed to be the center of attention and what ever is done by those in power are supposed to be for the benefit of the same people whom they are representing. When government does not fulfill the aspirations of the people what option one can have, though the ballot box is supposed to punish those who forfeit their confidence. But this can only be a theoretical remedy as there is a great bon homie amongst various political parties when it comes to power sharing and exploitation of the citizens. If all politicians and every political party behave against the interest of the citizen, what relevance the democracy "mantra" has in this country?

With coalition "dharma" being blamed for non-performance by governments at the center as well as at the state levels, what hope the country has for future and what type of life the coming generation will have under such deteriorating situation? It is a tragedy that the so called "aam admi", a euphoric reference to common man has no where to go to vent out his frustration and seek solutions to the mounting day to day problems that cause continuous deterioration in quality of life. On paper one has many options to approach many layers of government departments, agencies, institutions, commissions, committees etc, manned by rigid bureaucracy which rarely work unless adequately "greased". The snail paced judiciary is no solace for redressal of any grievances. No wonder such a situation is creating violent groups like "Maoists" or Naxalites which attract many people who are denied the "fruits of progress" for one reason or the other. A substantial segment of population in the country believe that violence in places like AP, Chhatisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal and Karnataka is a direct out come of neglect of poor people by the governments, local, state as well as the center. But violence, what ever be the reasons, cannot be condoned and is not known to solve any problem in this Universe.

Take the instance of Karnataka where massive floods in October 2009 in North Karnataka rendered thousands of families homeless. Though all the attention was focused on the area during the aftermath of the floods for a few days and sky high promises were made to rehabilitate the victims within a few months, nothing tangible seems to have happened at the ground level. Government and many private business conglomerates made tall promises to build new houses for rehabilitation. One of the local mining groups even announced spending Rs 500 crore to build 50000 houses "without help" from the government! According to recent reports the progress of construction in the 14 districts of North Karnataka is less than 1% in spite of a donor commitment for building 73000 houses! Ultimately it turns out that the reason for such tardy progress was government it self which could not provide land for locating the proposed houses! Imagine the mental condition of the families affected by the natural calamity being pushed to the corner by the unfulfilled promises which ended up as only as "boasts, lies and false promises".

In another instance of blatant exhibition of money power, the mining barons of North Karnataka continued to transport iron ore in thousands of trucks every day, over loaded to the extent of 100% of the laden capacity, through high ways to Mangalore port which is in a pitiable condition since last two years because the roads were designed for trucks with only 10 tons capacity. This is in spite of the ban promulgated by the district administration on such transportation to prevent collapse of the road system between Bangalore and Mangalore. Millions of commuters who use this vital link road can only curse the government for the hell they have to go through while plying on this so called high way. The lame excuse of the bureaucracy is that they are "understaffed" to check such gross violations happening under their very nose!

Other states are not far behind in their casual attitude and callousness to the citizens and one can cite hundreds of such unfulfilled promises which remain on paper. Scams and mismanagement of the affairs of the country are order of the day and there is very little hope that things will improve in the foreseeable future. In the food front the traders and middlemen seem to have a field day with food inflation, artificially created, touching 20% recently with no solution in sight. Farmers, the backbone of this agriculturally predominant country are being continuously squeezed between middle men, contractors, traders, processing industry and the retailers. No wonder the present ruling coalition rates Naxalites as the biggest threat to the security of the country because they know the ranks of those dissatisfied and frustrated are going to swell in the coming years due to the inability of the government to address their problems. Nothing short of a radical constitutional change that will end the uncertainties associated with the current political system, can usher in a new era of transparency, dedication, commitment and accountability. What India needs is not the moribund democracy as seen to day but a "meritocracy" which gives merit and competence the highest priority


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