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The real crisis in India – Moral or Economic?

moral-crisis1                                             OREconomic-crisis-definition                                 Which one is India facing?

The probationary trainees during the Bharat Darshan went to a small village -Rasuali in Bihar. The motive was to get an insight of the socio-economic condition of the people residing in this small village. They had an astonishing view in store for them. The toilets built under the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan(SBA) Program were actually being used as an alternative for store houses. On being asked the reason- the Sarpanch’s reply was even more surprising – “Most of the pits get filled up very quickly and the Dalits who are meant to clean them up are reluctant to do this. “Jab se padhne likhne lag gaye, hume hi dhokha dene lage” (Since they started getting education, they have been betraying us). The irony is, one of the provisions of SBA is the eradication of manual scavenging, and the Sarpanch wasn’t aware of this.

So, the question is, is the government to be blamed for this kind of behavior? In a way it may be correct. The recent times has witnessed a growing debate on whether “moral” or “economic”crisis has withheld India. There are two sides of the coin, one which says “Immoral mishaps have contributed an economic mishap” and vice-versa. Let’s closely look the first side.

As a matter of fact, the changed mindset comes from education, and believe it or not, seven decades since independence, though we have made a remarkable movement ahead, there is still a whole chunk of the population which is illiterate. Those who get educated know that this discrimination against the lower strata, which in most cases are socially deprived thanks to the age old concept of untouchability holding its root from the later vedic times, is still being followed. Shudras have got new names over the centuries, be it dalit, harijans or the scheduled castes and tribes now.But if only the status of these people changed the way their “nicknames” did. They have been a subject to inhumane, immoral, unethical sights over the years, deprived of status, education, health care. As a result more than half of their population have not contributed to the economy of ours. How can we expect someone with a defamed status to have the confidence to contribute?

One of the most peculiar and immoral mishaps the country witnesses is the women being deprived of the equal rights in the country, both on personal and professional level. Honor killing has most cases of women being killed, the skewed child sex ratio(ever decreasing rates of girl child since independence), the innumerable instances of female infanticide are the reason why the GDP of the country has not been according to it’s potential. As pointed out by the recent report by Mckinsey, India could have an astonishing 60% growth in the GDP if the female participation in the labor force increased manifold. Not only this but most women are considered to be laborers at home, looking after their family. The sad thing, they are never paid for this work. So this patriarchy is not only disrupting the potential women force on the national level, but also depriving them of their personal finance. Apparently, cases of female in the economy are forced to leave job because of either low pay scale, sexual abuse or family obligations. Isn’t this a loss to the economy in a way?

Most of the women (approx 71% of girls) are forced to leave or drop after 8th standard. What are the other complications that follow? An uneducated girl becomes an unaware mother later, not knowing that government has provided for the pre and post natal services, not knowing that breast-feeding is most imperative for the child’s overall development. Result? A malnourished child devoid of immunization, direct pressure on government’s spending to provide nourishment and immunization. More spending on government schemes has been the major reason for an current account deficit country. Also, how can we except a unhealthy child (who as empirical evidence show, would have a bad physical and mental strength) to contribute to the nation’s workforce?

Recently there was a case where certain subordinates of the bureaucrats were served tea in plastic cups while the officers were served tea in expensive utensils, along with dry fruits. Not only was it unethical and immoral, it was discriminatory and against the principle of equality for all. This kind of a behavior fuels the notion of arrogant seniors, and their juniors would be reluctant to do work for them. The ground implementation of most of work is in the hands of these juniors (sahukars,tehsildars). What if they channelize their anger to the public, by not allowing implementations to fall in place? The government’s money getting wasted. So what could have been avoided morally, took along a different turn of events affecting the economy instead.

We throw garbage, litter around,pee in public, spit chewing gums on the road, don’t use public dustbins, throw plastic bags and empty bottles on highways,dispose  waste in the Ganga and say the government’s schemes (Namami Gange, SBA) aren’t working. Another instance of how we ourselves waste our own money (the tax’s payers money.) It sometimes feels like only the government has to keep spending, and we won’t change (Tax dete hai bhai!)

Corruption, which starts from a bribe to the traffic policemen to cross the red light, goes above till the corporate level. Tax evasions are very prominent in India, and we are just behind China in the league of developing countries to be corrupt. Tax evasions, fund the terrorist activities,move out side the countries through Benami transactions and enter the share market as P-notes as claimed by certain media houses. Speculations in the share market may lead to a potential disrupted market, having a major impact on the economy.

There have been cases of lobbying and nepotism in the inclusion and admission in government jobs and government colleges. The collegium system in Judiciary is the best example for the same. This deprives genius minds jobs of their potential and compels them to move to different countries in search of jobs and opportunities, resulting in loss of potential economic boost that they could have provided.

The recent sessions in the Parliament were mostly disrupted as the opposition claimed of the government using unethical means to defame it’s leaders. But who were the ultimate sufferers? It was our economy, the market which has been awaiting reforms in the form of better tax regimes like GST which is still on stay. This not only diminishes our chances of capitalizing from the China slowdown, but also portrays India as an irresponsible nation.

RIGHT WRONG

Looking on the other side of the coin, is “economic crisis” forcing towards immoral activities? It can be true as well. Lack of employment opportunities, government overshadowing  “bimaaru states” have pushed people there to take up arms against the states (Naxali Movements in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh). More and more youth are getting radicalized and leaving towards joining ISIS.

Similarly, too regressive a tax regime (specially for the MicroSmallMediumEnterprises’s) has compelled them to use unethical means to attain environmental, inspection clearances and cross cutting in labor facilities, which is immoral for the workers as well as the environment.

In agriculture the developed countries imposing high import duties on the foodcrops,horticulture from the developing countries have forced the farmers to use unethical means to use cheap urea to increase production. Isn’t this all in a way loss to economy, maybe having tertiary effect?

For every problem, there is some solution. Government has been focusing on building more entrepreneurs so that they emerge as “job providers” rather than “job seekers” through schemes like Start up stand up. The focus of the government is to change the mindset of the people who consider women as liabilities by providing them with reserved seats in the third tier, and the recent Women’s reservation bill. Similarly, refinancing agencies (Mudra) and collateral free loans (Mahila bank) have contributed in making the women self dependent and contributing their bit to the economy by opening small enterprises and start-ups. Initiatives like Beti-Bachao-Beti-Padhao have been successful in providing cent percent primary school enrollments along with “selfie with daughter” to create awareness about girl child.

Similarily, governments push towards “e-governance” by providing internet till the last mile(Digital India), connecting panchayats and hinterland with the main land (National optic Fibre Network), Direct Benefit Transfer, public domains to look for the working schemes, Jan-Dhan-Aadhar-Mobile (JAM) have made sure the public sovereignty, transparency and accountability is maintained. Also, educational loans, and scholarships like Ramanujam have also made sure the young minds remain and contribute to the country.

So basically, there is a strong blend of interconnection between what is moral and economic, and how it has been stirring a crisis in the country. They both have in a way been collectively contributing, going hand in hand. What Gandhiji thought a dream country would be, was unfortunately shattered by the intervention of the colonial rule, breaking the country two-fold. But how can we contribute our bit so that the country becomes the one which it used to be in pre-colonial period. Can we give up discrimination on the basis of caste and creed, can we consider the girls as being the same as boys? Can we contribute our bit to our country by being here and not moving out? Can we live happily, with tolerance for each other’s religious notions, work hard till we are on our feet and not merely criticize the government? Can we be the long lost “sone ki chidya” again?