Sunday, October 11, 2009

Election woes...

It's the state elections day after tomorrow. During the national elections knew who candidates were and found detailed information about these candidates, the work done by them, their educational qualifications, criminal records and so on. I found this information on sites provided by JaagoRe and also in newspapers.

However this time, during state elections I only have information on the current MLA as he has been constantly sending leaflets, been in news and has visited our society many times. Apart from him, I also know about an independent candidate as he used to stay in my society. A couple of other independent candidates have dropped their leaflets (one of them a four-pager with lots of vague promises...). Yesterday I got a mail from Janagraha the NGO involved in the JaagoRe campaign reminding me that tuesday is election day and that I should go to vote. They referred a website which would provide me with information about the candidates. I had this site earlier, it only has the list of candidates for my constituency, their age and educational qualification and in a couple of cases like that of the current MLA red and green flags against criminal records and use of funds, debates entered into. The site has very little information which could aid in decision-making.

I am really clueless and under the current circumstances I may just end up voting for the candidate who has been making the loudest noise in the past few days and whom I have heard about in the past years. However I am not really comfortable with this decision and would be doing that as I have no other option.

Why this lack of information about candidates during state elections? Why is there no platform that can provide us with vital information that could help us in making a decision. Also maybe I haven't been paying enough attention while reading newspapers (in case they have been carrying information about the candidates). There needs to be information sources on these candidates, there should be televised public debates between candidates.

However such lack of information could demotivate people who already have doubts as to how their vote matters. If we really want to involve the youth we need campaigns like JaagoRe on an massive scale which should inform the youth how and why their vote counts and how not voting means a failure of the democratic process.

Today I know many people, who think that voting is a waste of time as they feel their votes would not make a difference, all the candidates are corrupt or unworthy of their vote and besides they often don't even know who is standing for election; for them election day is a holiday or as in this case an extended weekend, an opportunity to utilise for outstation travel!

I believe that such apathy adds to the woes of democracy, because if the educated middle class do not vote the candidate elected would be one that is voted by the large uneducated masses who though may not be wrong in their choices, may at times vote influenced by coercion or ignorance or recency effect or by false promises of candidates who make use of their vulnerability. Then these same educated people, who did not vote complain about the kind of candidates who get elected. But how can you complain when you have not even participated in the election process.

I can today criticise this point of view because I too believed in this school of thought once. I thought that not voting was a way of protesting against the lack of worthy candidates. However today I realise the importance of participating in the process and that you cannot clean the system by staying away from it.

We need to find out ways and means to involve the youth to take active part in the election process. When the politicians know that the masses are informed about their background, the credibility of their promises, only then will our politicians pull up their socks!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

DREAM HOMES or should I now say Nano-Homes

Well something I have been thinking of since my childhood is finally being brought into reality by the TATAs!!! They are actually venturing into 'Nano-Homes' :) 1 room, kitchen homes just like I used to think of !!!May be they just peeked into my mind..!!!! :) I had even thought of putting my idea in this blog.. had posted something last year, but never came to completing it...

I had always thought why no builder or corporate came up and made good budget homes for people below a certain income levels. Such homes could be minimal without frills, but with basic amenities for a humane living... Basic one-two room kitchen homes for families, with a small garden for children to play, a communal area where people could get together (a very basic aspect of community living) and of course safe and clean surroundings.. Would that be asking for too much??? Would that cost too much??? In fact the whole thing could be a complex, or a small township with maybe a school for the kids and budget/discount stores... It could be a huge marketing opportunity... by giving people a better living you are raising their standard of living and aspirations! You are creating new consumers!

Though yes I thought of it more as a part of corporate social responsibility, than a profit making venture, profits and other marketing opportunities would be an automatic fallout of a better standard of living! Also lift people of out miserable living conditions, give them a place that they can call their own, where they can sleep peacefully without the fear of being asked to evict, or their house being broken into. When you know that your homes are safe, you would not mind investing in a television or refrigerator that you have always wanted if you can be sure that it won’t be stolen in your absence. Women can go to work peacefully if they know that in their absence their kids would be safe at home. Such people would be more productive in their work... which would mean greater contribution to national product and higher incomes for these people. They in turn will spend more on consumer goods. Also employment opportunities would increase a lot for these people if they have a respectable living address; often resumes or applications are just thrown out at the screening process simply because the applicants stay at a particular area or locality.

But yes Budget homes, do not mean cramped up homes or pigeon holes with no space even to turn or stretch your legs, or where sunlight does dare enter forcing people into dungeons with stale air floating around due to no ventilation... they do not mean homes where you can step into your neighbour's home through your window.. where there is no guarantee of continuous water-supply or electricity, where elevators don’t work, or even worse don’t exist, where the buildings have no maintenance or cleaning service leading to accumulation of dirt and unbearable stench, where children have no place to run about or play cricket or hide-seek forcing them to go out on the streets or some public garden to play. I say this coz this exactly what some of the MHADA or Slum Rehabilitation buildings have turned into... also there needs to be a check on whether the people buying such homes are the genuine buyers and not mere investors. Flats could be alloted on the basis of annual income and number of family members. Also Rules on transfers and re-sale should be very strict.

That is why I insist that this has to be a private venture!! And when I say private it had to be a large business house that had the funds into enter something like this and the commitment to such a cause and the integrity to keep up their promise. I hope TATA does fulfil at least part of these wishes of mine... I hope what they are creating are not just Nano-Homes but 'Dreams homes' for a million hopeful hearts!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Birthday!!!

I just happen to read on a blog that today is a special day.. and a special day it is as two great people Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on 12 February 1809! Two people who have influenced the way people thought about mankind... Two people who made who helped many to understand the significance of life better... Two people who presented revolutionary ideas... Two people who lead others towards the light on the other side of a dark tunnel... Two people who I am awed by!!!
May their charisma always be alive...!!!


That exactly describes the atrocious happenings in various State Assemblies across India be it in Lucknow or Hyderabad. It fills my heart with anguish to see that these hooligans are the ones who are ruling us, that we have placed the future of our country in the hands of a bunch of uncouth jerks...
Don't we deserve better politicians?