Another Year of Helplessness under the Patronage of an Unsympathetic Government

  • Avesh Tiwari

Assembly elections in five states have been announced. The third wave of Corona seems to be demonic. Our PM has returned from Punjab recently and as he himself says, after having a narrow escape. The unemployment rate is at its maximum. After retail, the wholesale inflation rate is breaking the back of the general public. 2021 proved to be a year of premature deaths, economic devastation, helplessness for the whole world, but in India, the situation was far more frightening. Undoubtedly, the only reason for this was the Modi government’s lies, haughtiness and disregard for public concerns.

Since the country’s Parliament seeks to govern the country through Constitution and Ordinances, it is a threat to the Modi government. The Prime Minister is rarely present in the Parliament which shows the ruling Party’s disinterest in running the Parliament. Opposition is neither given a chance to interrogate them nor to register its protests. The Winter Session of the Parliament aptly exemplifies this ruthlessness, in which 12 MPs of Rajya Sabha were suspended for the entire session. The manner in which the Agriculture Bill was passed keeping the dignity of the Parliament at stake, is also shameful.

There has never been such a threat to the ‘Freedom of Expression’ in the country as was seen during the tenure of the Modi government. To say anything against the government is treason. This government is often seen behaving like a local goon. The killings of and the attacks on media persons continue unabated, news restrictions remain in place, and an unprecedented number of legal notices, defamation lawsuits and sedition charges are being filed against dissenting media persons, social and political activists and other citizens. Strict restrictions were also imposed on the use of internet throughout the year and nowhere in the world has it been shut down more often than in India.

According to a study by American think-tank ‘Centre for Global Development’, the number of people who lost their lives due to Corona epidemic across the country was up to 50 lakhs by June 2021, while according to the government data, 4,18,480 people had died across the country till the month of June. However, in the Parliament, the government denied deaths due to lack of oxygen, showing utmost cruelty and brazenness. During the second wave of Covid, the way the whole country was fighting over oxygen and the way the death figures were being covered up, would remain a shameful event in the political history of the country.

When Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, he had promised the youth of the country to give employment to 2 crores of them, but the ground reality is just the opposite as about 70 lakh government posts are lying vacant in the country. According to the private think-tank ‘Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE)’, more than 1 crores of Indians lost their jobs in the country due to the second wave of Corona and the income of more than 97 percent of the families has dwindled. CMIE says that when India was affected by the Corona epidemic in April 2020, about 12.6 crore people, including daily wage laborers, lost their jobs. This number is huge. This also included about 9 crore people who were daily wage laborers.

There was a strange scenario last year that took toll on the poor section of the society which almost disappeared from the ration shops, vegetables and all the traditional markets. The inflation broke the back of common Indians hailing from this stratum. One of the biggest failures of this government has been the huge increase in the price of petrol and diesel. The price of petrol and diesel crossing Rs.100 mark and a gas cylinder mocking a commoner in his face with Rs. 1000 mark, has been one of the huge failures of the Modi government.

By the end of the year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the withdrawal of black farming laws that had caused the death of nearly 700 farmers. However, the Minimum Support Price (MSP) has not yet been guaranteed. Prime Minister Modi had promised that he would double the income of farmers. The BJP was talking about implementing the Swaminathan Commission report even before coming to power, but neither the income doubled nor the report was implemented. It is almost certain that the agricultural sector will do well only when other sectors incorporate its additional labour force.

Defeated on the economic front, ironically, the Modi government is building the Central Vista project at a cost of 20 thousand crores. The project was brazenly prepared on the basis of a superstition that the Parliament House is jinxed. There can be no greater example of wastage of public’s hard-earned money than this.

Even on the foreign policy front, this government is in a quandary as the relationship with China stands at its worst. Recently, there has surfaced an instance of unfurling of the national flag by Chinese soldiers in Galwan Valley. Earlier, an international agency had released some satellite photos and informed that China is entering into our borders and settling down. On May 1, 2020, there was a clash between the soldiers of the two countries in the North Bank of Pangong Tso Lake in Eastern Ladakh. Many soldiers from both sides were injured in this face-off. After this, on June 15 of the same year, there was a clash between the soldiers of both the countries in Galwan Valley once again. A significant number of soldiers were killed on both sides.

The BJP government wilfully ignores the tools that intimidate a section of society, a behaviour that brings it under suspicion itself. The same behaviour was assumed even when the farmers sitting on the Delhi border were being called ‘Khalistanis’. Last year, Modi got drifted away from the people of the country and the people too started to distance themselves from him. The results of the assembly elections held in Bengal and South India are a great example of this.

Author is a freelance journalist