What young India wants
This Independence Day, as the country continues its foray into a new decade, its citizens are hoping that it also embodies a brandnew image India may...
This Independence Day, as the country continues its foray into a new decade, its citizens are hoping that it also embodies a brand-new image. India may be welcoming its first few strands of white hair, but at its soul is the able, promising future of tomorrow, the young adults. The India that this generation wants to see is one that is honest, efficient and tolerant, and they are convinced that this is not far from plausible.
Venkat Raj Ellandula, an economics student wants to see increased accountability of government officials and police officers towards the public. Recalling a recent incident, he says, “My friend and I had returned to his house after a late-night movie and were chatting and saying our goodbyes on the street by his house at 1:30 am. We were not drunk nor were we breaking any rules. The cops came and started asking us questions very rudely. They asked us to go to the police station with them and asked me to call my parents, but why should a major call a parent? Answering these questions is not the issue but they should be doing their job respectfully and correctly. I want to see better transparency of their accountability to the public.
The traffic department has managed to do this very well. When someone is fined, they’re not allowed to pay it by cash. Only online transactions are valid. Above that, the police wearing body-cams prevent them from taking bribes when they catch someone flouting the rules. Similarly, I think police cars should be fitted with crash cams on all sides so that they don’t abuse their power while interacting with citizens.”
Another point that he makes is, “When there are contracts for road laying, etc, there should be accessibility to information about the project. Data is available, but the accessibility is not very easy. Not everyone has the time to file an RTI and wait for 30 days. Using GIS, maps, and real-time data, we should be able to get regular updates about the contracts being taken up.”
Underscoring Venkat’s point about the importance of accessibility in a different angle is an MSc Social Policy student. She says that resources are available but not enough is being done to connect the people to the resources.
"I think creating access is most important. And that goes for any part of life. You have a lot of people that don’t have access to basic education and shelter that makes it difficult for them to create entries into 'higher' systems. Then again, democracy is supposed to be about equality, but the kind of bureaucracy India has, access to governance and governance-making procedures is so limited.
It makes the whole idea of 'top down development' futile. We have the systems, we also have a stable source of funds, but the issue is that the government is doing nothing about the people that are already not able to reach these centres. There’s no point spending in making buildings if you can’t make the people reach it," she says, and goes on to suggest how this can be improved.
"Accessibility to these resources can be made better through outreach mechanisms; identifying the target population. If you say that there are 100 uneducated girls in the State, instead of making 10 schools across the State randomly, you start with the closest cluster of districts and make one school for them- even if it caters to only 20 of those 100 girls. See if that works! See what problems they’re facing and then move forward, instead of making 10 schools that are just running empty," she concludes.
Yeshwanth Geddam, a filmmaking enthusiast does not lay the entire onus on the government. He opines that to see an improved India, we need to first act like it is our own country and be responsible for it. “My friends and I were on a road trip across Ladakh and Kashmir recently when a French man walked up to us and asked why we Indians generally don’t use dustbins and ruin our beautiful country. It is time that we lived in a nation in which each citizen considers it his own, individual responsibility when it comes to keeping it tidy, be it at segregating waste, cutting down on plastic, etc. At a time when everything is going large scale, it may be time for each person to concentrate on smaller groups or smaller tasks and perfecting them,” he says.
For journalist Meghana Choukkar, tolerance is paramount. “I would like to see an India, where the minorities’ voices are heard. I would also like to see a nation where the Nirav Modis and Robert Vadras are not allowed to get away,” she says and adds, “I think more should be done on the scientific front. More emphasis must be put on research and more funds are needed for this purpose. We have the potential but no infrastructure.
Compared to a country like the USA, where many Indians go to immerse themselves in research, India has a much lesser number of public institutions – only a handful, like the IITs.” Being a 23-year-old like the others in this article, she believes that more youngsters must take up the reigns and get into politics. “I would like to see more people like Shehla Rashid and Kanhaiya Kumar running the government,” she says.