Can we walk the talk, and do some Kaam ki Baat?

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Do you know India ranks 124 in the world in terms of GDP – PPP basis? Let us do some Kaam Ki Baat because it matters


In my previous article, I discussed our angst at the plight of migrant workers.

These workers leave their villages, at times hundreds of kilometres away from cities to find a source of income to feed their families and to be able to provide shelter, food and clothing for them, and if possible some education.

Just in case you want to take a look at the previous article: Platitude nation

They live in shantytowns much like the one razed by Government authorities in Gurugram a while back, or in mega slums like Dharavi in Mumbai, an example to cite.  In any case, these accommodations are rudimentary at best, not even sheltering the occupants from the full force of nature, be it the heat, of day, rain, or unbearable winters. Their belongings, which consist of a few cheap aluminium and plastic utensils, perhaps, a couple of changes of clothes, a  lot of them hand-me-downs from the prosperous families they work for.  In terms of security, they have no protection, as their dwellings are usually made of old corrugated sheets, plastic tarpaulin and such like, tied to old wooden or scrap metal poles.

Image Source – Pixabay

(Representational Image)

They usually live day to day, attempting to save some money if possible to pay some debt back home, or to send to their extended landless families there. Eating one square meal a day, forget choosing what to eat can prove to be luxury for some of them.  In this situation, where can they think of schooling for their kids, sanitation, nutrition and nourishment or healthcare?  For them, it is all about survival.

 

All this begs a very important question – why do they come and put up with all this?  Why are they not able to work on their own terms?  Why is their lot so abysmal?

The reasons are manifold, overpopulation, land fragmentation and poor agricultural yields, lack of meaningful education and vocational training, lack of proper sanitation, lack of good functional primary healthcare, infant mortality, to name a few.  The culmination of which forces them to seek employment outside their villages.

We proudly say that we are the World’s 5th largest economy with a nearly $3.0 Trillion GDP – in nominal terms, or $10.51 Trillion in terms of PPP, versus $21.44 Trillion (Nominal)/$21.44 Trillion (PPP) of USA, and $14.14 Trillion (Nominal)/$27.14 Trillion (PPP) of China.

 (Do you remember these pictures?)

However, the population of the USA is approx 330 million vs. India’s 1380 million.  At the same time, USA’s landmass is approximately 3 times that of India.

Total figures become meaningless unless we look at per-capita figures. According to a report, India ranks 124 in the world in terms of GDP – PPP basis.

Thus, given our population size, the proud claim of being the World’s 5th largest economy seems very hollow, because ultimately it all boils down to the individual citizens which make up a country in terms of their living quality, their safety, security, contentment and as a result their happiness.

 (Representative Image)

On this count, we have an extremely long way to go.  

That said, we have made great strides in terms of road infrastructure with the Golden Quadrilateral, the North-South and East-West Corridors, and other connecting roads, and have managed to digitally connect a large part of the country – are some of the achievements which come to mind.

However, the basic quality of life of the poorest of the poor still remains abysmal, cutting across religious divides.  Quotas which were established in the early ’50s to help give a fighting chance to downtrodden castes, to give time for infrastructural development still remain, as the paucity for quality education at affordable prices is still limited to a few colleges in some of the towns and cities, with cutoffs increasing over time, reaching an absurd 100% or near about that in some colleges in Delhi from 79% in the 80’s as a case in point.

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One constantly hears horror stories of primary teachers in the BIMARU (Bihar – including Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh – including Chattisgarh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) they don’t even know the alphabet.  Without exception, the situation is expected to be similar in a large number of states across the nation, barring a few examples

Same is the case of healthcare, with shocking conditions and lack of facilities, skilled personnel and essential supplies – in 2017 more than 60 kids died in a State Government hospital due to lack of oxygen – as an example.  There are probably thousands if not tens of thousands of such tragedies occurring every year in our country due to Bureaucratic and Political apathy.

Check out our exclusive blog, an effort to talk about issues that really matter!

Perhaps the entire system needs a complete study by knowledgeable citizens of integrity to assess social, democratic, legal and bureaucratic systems in place in India to assess the cost of delivery of services, their efficacy and the reasons for repeated failures. What we are getting by way of delivery is largely bumbling idiocy at best or outright highway robbery at worst.

After all, the Governments are there to serve the citizens.  Not the other way round.

What do you think about it? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section because your voice matters!

Sources : Investopedia 

statisticstimes.com

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