Few hours from now, the new government at the centre led by Narendra Modi of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is going to take oath of office with an unprecedented initiative on the external front- inviting the head of states of SAARC countries. Undoubtedly, this will have far reaching impact on internal policy formulation in days ahead by this non-congress government.
The massive mandate, cutting across all sections of society which BJP alone received in 2014 general election has raised the hope and aspirations of every common man to a new high - not without reason as even Narendra Modi made them believe all through his election campaign that good days are coming ( Achche Din Aanewaale Hain).
We know and appreciate the gigantic task of nation building ahead for the new government for well-known reasons - inflation, corruption, low GDP growth etc. and hence there is bound to be intense pressure to perform within shortest possible time, but certain core issues need to be addressed on highest priority by the new government to instil the trust and confidence among millions of poor and disadvantaged section of our society throughout the length and breadth of this vast country.
Naturally, the following points of serious concern must find place in top agenda:
1. The Malady of Starvation Deaths
Every day more than 7000 people die of hunger in India.
India is topping the list of countries in World Hunger Chart.
More than 30% of the world's hungry population lives in India.
Over 200 million people sleep hungry every night.
2. Problem of Drinking Water
Out of the 6.38 lakh revenue villages in India, more than 30% have water problems.
21% of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water.
73% of respondents of a question as to what truly make them proud of being an Indian said, "It is availability of safe drinking water to every Indian."
3. Literacy/Education Problem
Our literacy percentage is only 74%; Kerala being the highest with 94% and Bihar being the lowest with 63%.
School dropout percentage is still more than 40%.
The drop out percentage is even worse than that of Bangladesh and Vietnam - countries that got independence more than two decades later.
We spend less than 2% of our national budget on education for the children who constitute 25% of our total population.
The dropout percentage is higher among tribal, economically weaker sections of society etc.
4. Sanitation/Open Defecation Problem
53% Indian population lack sanitation facilities, where as it is only 7% in case of Bangladesh and Brazil.
India is termed as the world's capital of open defecation.
More than 60% of households in Uttarakhand, Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan are without toilets.
Only 28,000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) are declared as "Nirmal Gram" under TSC program out of 2.4 lakh GPs in the country.
5. Health & Nutrition Problem
Can we think of a strong India without healthy and strong citizens, present and future?
Healthy Indians = Healthy & Strong India.
Child nutrition and their overall health need extra care in India as one in every three malnourished children in the world live in India; 8.8 lakh children die every year, more than 100 deaths per hour in India; the IMR (Infant Mortality Rate) in many states is still more than 50 per thousand for children up to the age of 5 years where as it should be at least below 30 per thousand; about 50% of all childhood deaths are attributed to malnutrition; 26% of the world's childhood vaccine preventable deaths take place in the country; Anaemia affects 74% of children under the age of three; as high as 44% children under five years are underweight; malnutrition in early childhood has serious long term consequences because it impedes development of vital life organs.
There are, no doubt many more pressing problems before the country which demand serious attention of power that be at all levels, but to start with the issues enumerated above would definitely give the right signal to common people at large that this government is really doing well rather than talking well. And we all know, well begun is half done.
Finally, lots of best wishes to the new central government of the largest democratic country of the world from a common Indian.
Brief Introduction of Milan K. Sinha:
Worked in senior positions in financial sector for three decades following three years of active writing in various newspapers and magazines. A post graduate in Chemistry from Patna University and also a graduate with Economics.
Presently, besides being a freelance writer/a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines also engaged as a Stress Management, Lifestyle Management & Wellness consultant, Motivational Speaker and Awareness campaigner.
Address: 306, Sona Place, Near Mangal Market, Sheikhpura, PATNA-14 (Bihar, India)