Dear Prime Minister,
Many congratulations for the completion of three years in power.
There are countless news reports being written on your success and failures of your policies, schemes et al. However, what I want to do is a little different. I want to give you an in-a-nutshell idea of what 29 states in our country are going through. Maybe this small sampling of the states' travails will make you introspect and deliberate upon what we, the people of India, actually need.
Let's go alphabetically and see whether acchhe din have dawned for our diverse populations or not.
This state tends to be in the news for the vigorous political activism here, but what most of India is not aware of is that Andhra Pradesh is at present facing its worst ever water crisis. It seems Digital India still cannot download water if it doesn't rain.
While China warnings continue to loom over the state continually and the government offering the odd bit of lip service, there's a bigger problem. The recent class XII CBSE results show that the pass percentage in the state is an abysmal 38.83% owing to a severe shortage of teachers. Make a note.
Over a lakh people have been affected by floods, and 140 villages of Lakhimpur and Karimganj are still under water. This may not cause particular consternation to Mr. Modi and his coterie. But this might get them to sit up and take notice, since you know, it's about cows:"Assam Cattle Preservation Act 1950 permits the slaughter of all cattle over 14 years of age or injured."
Earlier Bihar was known for the fodder scam. Now it's known for "prodigal science" and Rabri Devi not wanting a mall-going daughter-in-law. And then there's the curious case of Amartya Sen not being allowed to helm Nalanda University.
Need I say more about the state other than the word 'Naxalism'? Well, from Dantewada 2010 to Sukma 2017, do you think the Naxal attack narrative has changed in seven years?
Too many foreign tourists have died (Caitanya Holt, Felix Dahl, James Durkin, Kyle Arndt, Scarlett Keeling, Denyse Sweeney, Stephen Bennett, Martin Neighbour, Michael Harvey and Jonathan Burbank to name some) in Goa. So will the government do something about bolstering safety for tourists or just ban them altogether for not being sanskari enough?
Before propagating the flawed model of Gujarat any further, I urge you all to have a glimpse at the state social indicators, especially regarding the tribal population. From Dalit-sensitive Una to trade-hub Surat, Gujarat is on a ride that belies its "development success story."
Gurgaon was known for crimes against women, and so is Gurugram. Goes to show how much a cosmetic change can achieve. Different name, same game.
The present BJP government has planned for a "parivartan rath yatra" to highlight "mafia raj" under the Congress government. However, Himachal Pradesh, despite tourism being a primary contributor to its GDP, still does not appear on the top five destinations of India when it comes to tourism.
Jammu & Kashmir
Three words: a neverending curfew—it's longest ever, in fact.
For a long time Jharkhand was a seen as an untapped treasure for its richness in minerals and ores. However, suddenly the state has become a hub of communal unrest and riots.
The term 'Silicon Valley of India' has been replaced with 'Moral Policing Capital'.
Because beef is not the Brahmastra here. Kerala is way below in terms of attracting domestic tourists.
From Hindustan Ka Dil to the shameful Vyapam scandal, the state has been on a clear downswing, especially with the recent farmers' uproar.
The BJP led government in the state announced a farm-loan waiver—the most populist of all steps indeed. Why not in Madhya Pradesh then? Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Board Class 10 results declared on 13 June recorded the lowest pass percentage in three years.
Manipur; Meghalaya; Mizoram; Tripura; and Nagaland
"The mountains are high, and the emperor is far away" continues to epitomise the marginalisation mindset for the northeastern states that are still lagging behind in development compared to their mainland counterparts.
The state has always been in the limelight for being poverty-stricken and for its natural calamities. Yet, its riches remain untapped—the rich Odissi dance, the pilgrimage Puri Jagannath, the intricate handlooms, to name a few. Just to cite statistics, the state has attracted only 1% of the foreign tourists in the last seven years.
Despite its five rivers, the state is on the brink of facing a severe dearth of water. Besides, about 1,63,536 students failed this year in Punjab Board Class 10. No, Kejriwal didn't do anything here.
Though the state is being celebrated for its leap in organic farming, another area where the state has a lot of potential to contribute is booze as it has been estimated that India's beer industry expects to grow 5-7% in FY17-18. Why leave this potential "untapped"?
The Tamil Nadu Federation of Women Farmer Rights says about 60-80% of food production and 90% of dairy products are thanks to women producers. Time for a pat on the back? Not quite. These women are also in distress.
Although Yogiji has concentrated too much on banning unlicensed non-veg sellers and showing concerns for women through anti-Romeo squads, what about the miserable electricity provision the state? Eight-hour power cuts are still a norm here.
While Uttarakhand has been on the radar for alleged foul-play in the four-lane 300-km Haridwar-Bareilly National Highway-74, the government is all set to establish religious circuits and yoga practice centres across the state to attract Hindu pilgrimage tourism.
West Bengal for long prided itself on its secular credentials but communal incidents are raising their ugly head—at least ten districts of West Bengal have seen communal incidents since 2016.
While the Centre is busy processing the Sardar Patel statue worth ₹1040 crores and mandating PSUs to shell out ₹200 crores for it in a "CSR meeting", I suppose the rest of us can wait for our acchhe din. We can always distract ourselves by debating over whether or not to celebrate Tipu Sultan's birthday.