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Z – Zero Benefit Schemes | #AtoZChallenge

Z – Zero Benefit Schemes | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Through the journey of 26 posts over the past month, I have tried to bring out some key issues related to the General Elections of 2019. The government should have campaigned and fought this election on the performance of their ministries and schemes but instead, they chose to do otherwise. I personally was disappointed how the institutions have become spineless and opaque and how the government got away without holding a single press conference – a first in Independent India’s history.

The government’s decision to change the narrative to nationalism and taking us back to the era of the early 90s of the Hindu-Muslim divide speaks for itself about the government’s confidence in its performance. In the first few months, a new scheme along with a new slogan was launched. Today they are nowhere discussing any forget all of them.

Ujjwala Yojna

Visit any petrol pump in the country and you are bound to find a hoarding with PM’s face on it and claiming what a big success this yojna has been. If you closely look at the stats, you will realize its fallacies. To begin with, it turned out to be a myth that the poor will get free cylinders. They have to pay Rs 1600 for the stove and cylinder. Many poor families aren’t able to pay this upfront. Secondly, the subsidy that the government pays from their pocket is also taken back from these poor families in the form of installments.

Till January this year, consumers had paid Rs. 9,968 crores for the so-called free gas cylinder. Out of all the families that have been a beneficiary of the scheme only 10-20% of them have applied for the refilling of the cylinders. This speaks for itself. The doubling of the cost of cylinders with a negligible increase in the income of these families forces them to adopt the traditional methods of fuel. A family that earns around 2000-2500 per month, do you believe they have the capacity to buy a cylinder worth Rs 900 (500 for subsidized cylinder and 400 for installment).

Fasal Bima Yojna (Crop Insurance Scheme)

There is a reason why people have started realizing that this government is truly corporate-friendly in nature. ‘Fasal Bima Yojna’ is a prime example of it. The exponential rise in farmer suicides definitely tells one side of the story as to whether these insurances are helping them or not.

Let me highlight the other side of the story. From the start of July 2016 (Kharif season), in two years, insurance companies amassed a total premium of Rs.50,036 crore, paid out a total compensation worth Rs.35,949 crore — saving Rs.14,088 crore as profit! Out of this premium, the farmers paid around Rs 8719 crore and the rest was spared from the taxpayer’s money. Ideally, if the government really wanted to help then they should have transferred this money to the farmers or at least should have waved loans.

Make in India

A promising scheme that turned out to nothing and it felt as if it was launched just to put the mechanical lion logo in foreign airports. Ideally, it should have given a major boost to the manufacturing sector. The contribution of the manufacturing sector has been stagnant for the last five years and it still hovering around 16-18% of the GDP, which it already was before 2014.

Since the sector remained stagnant and with no data to suggest a direct correlation of any job creation with Make in India, we can safely say how this scheme actually fared. As Raghuram Rajan rightly pointed out, it should have been ‘Made in India’ rather than ‘Make it India’ for it to really give a boost to the sector.

PM Aawas Yojna

Another scheme that was started with a lot of fanfare and was a renaming of the previous government’s ‘Indira Aawas Yojna’ was PM Aawas Yojna with an aim of providing low-cost houses to rural and urban poor. Barring the initial year, the target for the houses to be constructed has come down to the 12-13 & 13-14 levels. In fact, as per the data from the ministry of rural development, the number of houses completed is way less than 12-13 levels.

Smart Cities

One scheme that created a lot of buzz long before the government even took the oath was the creation of ‘Smart Cities’. The government aimed at creating 100 smart cities in India but it is yet to come out and openly declare any one of those cities being converted to their benchmark of a smart city. I thought it was illogical to put metro cities under the scheme as they already have most of those facilities, which the mission aims to provide.

The analysis of the Smart Cities Mission, by Delhi-based Housing and Land Rights Network, concluded that there is the glaring absence of emphasis on inclusion and social justice.

Startup India

Along with Mudra loans, another scheme that attracted a lot of youth was ‘Startup India Standup India’. Again the government has no data i.e. they haven’t shared publically what happened to the loans disbursed and how many startups are up and running under the scheme. Two years since the launch of the scheme a bleak 10% of the funds were only released.

As per an economic times report from 2017, 5,350 startups that were officially recognized under the scheme, only 74 have got tax benefits.

Already discussed the Jan Dhan Yojna at length in the ‘Banking’ post. Details about the Mudra loan scheme have been discussed in the ‘unemployment‘ post. Similarly, I highlighted the failures of Skill development scheme in the ‘Youth’ post.

A stat from the PM’s last 35 rallies throws up some disturbingly narcissistic facts. He has mentioned his own ‘surname’ more than 130 times while ‘development’ being mentioned a dismal seven times. India, slowly but surely, has moved towards a presidential-format of elections where it is only about a couple of individuals. Well, democracy is not about that! One should learn the art of referring to one’s own self in the third person from the PM. His self-love is supreme and blinding.

I would like to thank each and everyone who was along with me on this journey especially on this theme. Many close friends said that they resisted from commenting just because of the supercharged and trolling atmosphere, which is why I chose this theme as this kind of atmosphere is driving more and more people away from key issues. A lot of hard work and research has gone in these posts to state only facts and keep away fakery. No words can express my gratitude towards those who took out time to read, comment and share these posts.

Please please please make sure your vote counts and just think about your kids what world we are going to leave for them.

With this, I can officially say that I have completed and survived the challenge. Cheers to all those who did and to those as well who tried but couldn’t. Don’t get disheartened – you are going to come back stronger.

For all those who loved these political posts,

For all those who resisted from commenting,

For all those who encouraged all throughout the journey,

And

For all those who believe most of these schemes were about Jumlas…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 26th and last post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

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T – Terrorism | #AtoZChallenge

T – Terrorism | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Terrorism is defined as, ‘The unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.’

The recent barbaric attack on CRPF soldiers in Pulwana has brought terrorism in the center of discussion once again. With every political party trying to score points on the martyrdom of soldiers and trying to garner vote, it is going to stay there at least till the end of general elections 2019.

The current government at the center claims that, through its various strategies, schemes and a zero-tolerance approach, they have been able to curb terrorism in the valley to a great deal. The facts tell a stark contrasting story.

According to a written reply submitted by Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir in Lok Sabha on February 5, 2019, “The number of terrorist incidents in Jammu and Kashmir alone has jumped 177% in the past five years.”

Terrorism claimed a total of 1,315 live in the state between 2014 and 2018 – out of which 838 (63.72 %) were terrorists, 339 (25 %) security personnel and 138 (10.49 %) were civilians. As per the data from the South Asia Terrorism Portal, there has been an exponential rise in the death of soldiers in terror attacks – a 106 % rise in the past five years.

I guess this much data is enough to tell you the real picture. As per definition, each and every act of lynching and mob violence can also and should also be classified as terrorism. It is serving the exact purpose. I have previously highlighted the data on lynching as well, which doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the government either. Just to remind in about 123 incidents of mob lynching 46 people lost their lives and above 295 injured between 2014 and 2019.

I am not including killings of people like Gauri Lankesh or the killings from events like religious armed processions. They alone have claimed over 400 lives in various communal conflicts. Where is the conflict or terrorism dying? Didn’t the supreme leader claim that demonetization was done to eradicate it?

At one point of time, Punjab was the hub of terror and militancy in India but through a proper strategic approach, it has been curbed to a point of no return. Why can’t we learn from the episode of Punjab?

If you observe closely then you will realize that they don’t want the issue to ever get resolved. Otherwise, how will they create fear among the hearts of the public that they are under threat?

On one hand, you claim to be against terror and on other you are fielding a terror accused. She claims that so many atrocities were committed against her while forgetting that it was her party’s government at the state that arrested her first under suspicion.

Reports after reports, agencies after agencies have denied against it. Anyway, for a moment lets believe her; don’t we know how these agencies work against a terror accused to get a confession. Her character took a shape and form when she herself agreed to be involved during the Babri Masjid demolition. To be honest, if she would have been such a saint she shouldn’t get angry so quickly at everything.

Just when you know that now you cannot tackle questions and debates on the issues on which you rode to power, you play with your diversionary tactics of polarization. Anyone who claims that she was on the top of a mosque when it was being demolished should be simply barred immediately or otherwise stop hiding behind the garb of pseudo-nationalism.

They say that Kashmiris take up arms because of lack of education and job opportunities and claim that a solution to this is to make them a part of the mainstream. Ironically when they actually take up a ‘pen’ and try to come to universities to study they are being attacked there too.

You might shout at the top of your voice…claiming that everything is a caused because of a certain opposition…but that won’t change the reality. They were thrown out of power because of their incompetence and you campaigned against them to come to power. But now when you are in power you are still campaigning against them rather than answering on how miserably you have failed on the front of terrorism.

Actually, since they are so good at taking to the streets on every issue with their capable jingoism that they should permanently be a part of the opposition. At least that way the government, the opposition and the democracy, everything functions efficiently.

Its high time that they realize, whether they openly accept it or not, that their policies, strategies and this so-called muscular approach is falling flat on its face. And in the process is motivating more and more people to take up arms on the name of hate. If you feel that I am wrong – please go and read the definition of it…really slowly.

What’s even more appalling is that they are claiming to be strengthening our armed forces while continuously decreasing their budget allocation. Isn’t that a strategic error to being with?

Let’s end today’s post on a humorous note. When she claims that her cancer was cured because of cow urine and I am not against that in fact completely in favor of her superlative ways of treatment, shouldn’t someone ask her – what exactly was she practicing in the first place that she had to suffer from such a disease.

I know many of her supporters will come crying that I shouldn’t make fun of her disease, well, if you go by the state government’s report, which was of the same party, she never suffered from cancer. It says it was just a small tumor.

To be honest – the current ruling party is making a mockery of every citizen by fielding such a candidate and then creating noise pollution on the name of eliminating terrorism and their so-called Hindu nationalism.

For all those who are against hate,

For all those who are in for peace,

For all those who say no to war,

And

For all those who believe there is a solution to terrorism…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 20th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘U’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

4

O – Opposition | #AtoZChallenge

O – Opposition | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Indians are the big fans of cinema – in fact, it flows in their veins. The recent blockbuster KGF saw a downtrodden guy from the slums making it to the top. Everybody loved the heroics and the movie became a blockbuster. Nobody talks about his ways to achieve things. That is how the ruling party is setting the current narrative.

Every time you question them about the policies and failures of the government and they come back with the same rhetorical answer, ‘If not Modi then who?’

Have you noticed how during every conversation with any BJP member they begin the dialogue by saying ‘Modiji ke netritva me’ (under the leadership of Modi) suggesting and trying to portray that each and every work has been done by him? So that means all the other ministers in the government are useless because at the end of the day whether its decision like Demonetization, PM is taking it or whether it is the construction of roads or whether the sale of spectrum, everything, and anything are only decided by the supreme commander.

This whole idea that only one individual is superior and not even that ‘idea’ is too dangerous. It is actually equivalent to something that they preach against – not to vote for one family while asking for a vote for one man.

I have no objection to the BJP coming back to power…that’s their democratic right but saying that PM is the only option is illogical. When you vote, you vote for a symbol and not for an individual, if that is going to be a reality then let’s remove the logo or the name of the party and simply write a four-letter word on the EVM. They won’t consider even a performing minister like Gadkari because they have set their narrative in such a way.

Where was this wave before 2013? He was nowhere with respective to the national political scenario but with directions from their Nagpur head office, it changed overnight. I am from UP and the same thing happened here. Everybody here was so convinced who the next CM would be but just before the oath-taking ceremony the name was changed and we now know who the CM is. There are reports that claim that the nameplate of a candidate was even made but with a call from Nagpur the city slept with a name for CM and woke up to an altogether different.

If you observe the political spectrum it has more or less remained the same over the past two decades. If you observe even closer you will find that whichever state had an alternate people have voted for them. Isn’t it ironical, a wave makes you win at national level disappoints you at the state level.

The options are available you just have to look beyond biases. When it comes choosing for a nation we should see the ideology and not one individual. Didn’t the same thing happen in 1974 when the slogan was coined, ‘India is Indira and Indira is India’ and we know what followed in 1975. That was the perfect example that even the supreme leader can go drastically wrong.

When you ask BJP members and ministers they will say that the prime minister gets angry if he is asked questions. To question someone means asking for accountability and that he can go wrong. The narrative that there isn’t any choice or alternative is based on a fallacy that he can’t go wrong or he isn’t vulnerable.

It has also to do with the army of bootlickers that are surrounding him. They hardly give him the correct picture and just to save berths for them to keep on egging him on whatever path he chooses. To claim that he is superior to everyone or he is the most intellectual of all is just their narrative. Saddam became ‘Saddam’ because of the spineless stooges he kept, who always appreciated him in all his actions.

Let’s not go far away, a current politician who is serving a term for his sins brought so much glory for the Indian Railways. Since independence, railways performed the best under him and the only time when it became profitable – he was invited to the most prestigious institutes around the globe to give an insight into his strategies.

What this has done in the current tenure is the lack of accountability. I am yet to see a minister being sacked for their performance. Whichever ministry you pick, the moment they are questioned for their actions they start looking at one individual and then everybody seems to get blinded with the aura he is exuding. Just remember he is no God.

The opposition was never so weak but there are options and if there aren’t then we should create some but if you say that a particular individual is great but their ideology of hate is bad then you are fooling yourself. A person who spent 50 years of his life dedicatedly working for an ideology, how can that person not have the same thought process. It’s all about how you package, brand and market.

I think a lot is in the hands of the media to start a wave and then decide which wave blows in what direction. We have been seeing the character assassination and character rebuilding of so many people over the years with the simple use of media. A once hated superstar, by media, is now a messiah, all thanks to how they portray him.

Since I began with a movie example I will end also with one. Have you seen the movie Shaurya starring Kay Kay Menon and Rahul Bose? If not then watch it. Even if you don’t catch the whole movie just watch the monologue in the end by Menon and you will understand what I am trying to say. It is not necessary that a person who has family involves in corruption and a person who doesn’t have any monetary interest be always right. There are other reasons too and some of them are imbibed in their ideology.

All I can say is the opposition needs to take a cue from Bollywood and we have seen the mightiest fail and fall.

For all those who believe that opposition is weak,

For all those against anarchy,

For all those who believe in democracy,

And

For all those who believe there are alternatives…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 15th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘P’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

4

N – National Education | #AtoZChallenge

N – National Education | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

India is one of the youngest countries of the world with about 38% of the population below the age of 18 years and the average age somewhere around 29 years. With so much young population India has a tremendous opportunity to outgrow some of the major western economies that are being laggard behind because of their aging population. The countries like Spain and Italy have average ages around 45.

For that young population to contribute to nation building education plays the most crucial role along with basic necessities of life. With the right education and guidance, they can enhance their skills and contribute to the nation. But the stark reality is; issues like ‘Education’ aren’t being even discussed at the time of the election. It is one of the things that have fared badly under the current regime.

During the 2014 elections, their manifesto stated – “Education must create minds free from superstitions, hatred, and violence and become an important vehicle to cement national unity, social cohesion and religious amity. Our endeavor should be to inculcate moral, ethical and humanistic values in the individuals and the society.” It laid a lot of emphasis on increasing the expenditure on education and take the total contribution to 6% of the GDP.

The reality is that during the initial four years it has continuously declined with a marginal increase in the last year. The current overall expenditure stands around 3.5%. It’s startling to notice with so much underperformance in this sector there’s hardly any talk on these issues during the current elections. They are back to their ways of Saffron v\s Green dividing.

They began with a swash-buckling minister whose education itself was under question and the fact of the matter is she lied under oath in the 2014 elections. It was because of authoritarian assaults and mishandling of cases like Rohith Vemula, JNU, BHU and so on that she was removed overnight. I still remember the sight when in Lok Sabha she declared herself to be a bigger mother of Vemula than her real mother and how she would be ready to be beheaded if she is found wrong. Well, the irony is that the government made a committee to look into the matter and you will find it comical that the committee consisted of only ONE member.

A plethora of new IIMs and IITs have been started with most of the seats remaining vacant. On one hand, it is not cost-beneficial, on the other, it simply dilutes the brand of the institution. We don’t want our IIMs and IITs to become the Amitys of the world, with all due respect to Amity.

Another scheme, to increase funding in national institutions was brought in with the aim of increasing their overall global ranking. To this date, the government is yet to release any data as to how much funding was released, what is its effect, has the ranking of any institutions jumped?

I didn’t anyone question the government when they awarded a private institute, ‘Institute of Eminence’ for which the foundation is yet to be laid and aiding them with a grant. How justified is that? This is all too much visible but the enigma is in the blindness of the followers.

Since the new National Education Policy promotes the agenda of privatization, commercialization and communalization it will simply accelerate the existing culture of loot by private institutions. Barring a single government in Delhi, no state or national government has come out in the open and spoken about the absurd rising prices of educating a child. The proposed NEP clearly disagrees with the constitutional vision of a common education system.

When we were in school, our parents used to evaluate public educational institutions too, but this has seen a tremendous decline. The previous Government of Rajasthan had decided to operate 225 schools on public-private partnership (PPP) model, which was nothing but handing over public schools to the private sector. Similarly, the previous BJP Madhya Pradesh government had planned to close about 15,000 government schools and in Maharashtra, the state government has decided to close some 13,905 schools that have a student count of less than 20.

The last budget from the FM highlighted a shift in providing the aide to a government institution. Now they will be treated as loans. All it will do is convert public education institutions into commercial units with an aim to generate profits.

With RSS figures now at the helm of key educational bodies of India, a systematic communalization of education is being done. For instance, I saw that they have simply changed the facts of history where they have depicted Maharana Pratap victorious during the war of Haldighati – that is way off from what actually happened. They are rewriting history just to suit their narrative of hate.

The steep cuts in funding for research is another key issue. When students protest against it they are dealt with force and when things become unmanageable for them they declare not even the students but the whole institute as anti-national. Can you believe the institute that has given the largest number of civil servants to the country is now tagged anti-national?

If the government had been really serious about the promises made in its manifesto there wouldn’t have been so many teaching positions vacant in almost every institute. Don’t forget that all this is laying the foundation for the future of India and if you want to rule the country in times to come, this is definitely going to backfire.

Forget about the left-wingers and neutrals, what about the right-wingers. Do they don’t want their children to get a proper education or they are simply satisfied with them taking to the streets and brandishing swords on every Hindu festival? The ball is now in your court for what future you want for your child.

For all those who still have hope,

For all those who believe every child should be educated,

For all those against the commercialization of education,

And

For all those who believe the current education policies should change…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 14th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘O’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.