Time to reduce people’s sufferings by improving performance of India’s institutions

By Sudhansu R Das

The majority of the Indians will overcome their sufferings if the social, educational, cultural and political institutions in India groom children to become morally and physically strong youth with finer human emotions like love, fellow feelings, kindness, courage and conviction. Those youth will be capable of reducing people’s sufferings through innovations, commitment and patriotism.  The large scale sufferings of people attribute to the poor performance of those institutions. If our youth lack proper education, intellectual prowess, wisdom and do not experience the  problems of the common man, they cannot give good governance.  If they lack the human sensitivity they could convert the nation into a torture chamber.  

Over decades more than 10,000 lakes, ponds and water bodies have been wiped out in Mumbai, Pune, Calcutta, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and in New Delhi. Tens of thousands of water bodies have disappeared from many small cities and towns across the country. Those water bodies could have saved the residents’ hard earned money which they spend towards buying water daily.  Those lakes could have protected the ground water level, kept the atmosphere cool and maintained the greenery of the urban centres, boosted tourism prospects and added beauty to the cities.  Who gained from the destruction of the water bodies?  Politicians allowed the builders to convert the water bodies into concrete jungles; the benefit went to builders and the politicians. This kind of urbanisation intensifies people’s suffering only. Every city should preserve its natural infrastructures for human survival and growth.  Honest politicians with moral courage and human sensitivity could have preserved the water bodies for economic growth, cultural development and for a healthy environment. The lakes would have solved the water needs of people permanently; people would have earned from fishery and tourism.

There were two vibrant and sparkling lakes in Gundlapochampally of Hyderabad. These two lakes had kept the ground water healthy, supplied water for agriculture activities and met the water needs of thousands of villagers. The fish in the lakes supported the livelihood of hundreds of villagers. Today both the lakes in the Gundlapochampally area are terminally sick. The smaller lake is almost dead due to the encroachment and due to the dumping of garbage in the lake water. The bigger lake is facing extinction due to the encroachment and dumping of garbage. Environmentalists predict the residents would face acute water shortage in the next five years and many residential colonies will be inundated due to the disappearance of rain water absorbing capacity of the locality. Both the lakes can be developed into tourist spots; the lakes can make immense contributions to improve the living condition of people in the area. Everyday people in the Indian cities are compelled to spend crores of rupees on water; they struggle to look for breathing space. Their locality has been converted from a water rich region to a water scarcity region.  The malls, pubs, hotels, restaurants, club houses, housing colonies and recreating centres are meaningless when the city is devoid of the basic needs like clean water, pure air and free space.

Poor economic thinking and the errand behaviour of the greed infested world leaders has intensified hunger across the world. The UN finds one in three people globally do not have access to adequate food. Over 2.3 billion people-30% of the world’s population lack year-round access to food.  Hunger and malnutrition has hit India hard.   Indian Leaders with wisdom, proper research output, ground level facts, courage and conviction can cash in on this global food crisis.  The world needs food and India can supply food. But, for food export, India needs to protect the existing crop diversity, protect the available water bodies and fertile agricultural land from the land sharks.  This is high time for the leaders to show courage and a sense of belongingness to the people and reign in the land sharks whose greed aggravates people’s sufferings and destroys India’s opportunity to export food to the hungry world.  

Over the years the banking sector has been much discussed for its growing NPAs which adversely affect the future of millions of innocent depositors.  A bold and sensible political leader will zero in on the real culprits in the banking sector who are responsible for the high NPAs in banks within no time.  The recovery of bad loans should be fast so that the interest loss would not outweigh the recovered amount. Not a single pie should be left unrecovered from the willful defaulters who make a mockery of India’s financial system.  Capable leaders should choose the best leaders for the banking sectors from the business schools without compromise.  Privatisation of banks is easy but reforming the Public Sector Banks needs courage and heroism of a true leader.

India desperately needs public sector banks for its millions of poor and middle class people and people from the unorganised sector who cannot take up big enterprises and depend on interest income and small businesses. The safety of their deposits is of paramount importance as those people contribute more than 50% of the country’s GDP.   Banks desperately need people’s deposit for doing business and for its own growth.  India also needs private banks which can take risk and lend to bid borrowers with state of the art management and documentation skills.  The best practises of both the private and the public sector banks should be the governing principle.  Both can perform well if RBI puts in place a strong inspection mechanism which will track willful defaulters early, examine the end use of loans and physical assets of borrowers etc.  Everything depends on quality human resources who can effectively use the inspection mechanism for the growth of the banking sector.  Let Indian political leaders turn antiheroes to develop quality institutions which can groom quality youth who can manage politics, hospitals, banks, offices, transport, defence and educational institutions etc.  

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