Swachh Bharat is a dream project of the Prime Minister. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, such projects exist only on paper. Electoral politics is very different from noble projects of the Centre. Here’s a report.
In his Independence Day speech last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was eloquent in making the masses understand the importance of a basic thing like cleanliness. For the first time in Indian history did it happen that a Prime Minister addressed the people with a mundane yet major issue like cleanliness. Apparently the government has been working seriously on this problem, especially, in building toilets in all schools. Many hopes were raised because of a small promise of building toilets in rural schools, people started hoping that better days with better facility will come to their small and remote place at last.
The ground reality differs. A Bihari student, Rajan Kumar Jha, now in Delhi, returned disappointed from his village. He rued, “On papers, the toilets exist because the authorities sent a photo of a frame being built in school according to the government specifications, but no further progress took place and toilets are non-functional till date.” There were other similar reports from Uttar Pradesh as well. The point is that who is supervising and who is inspecting the development of the project in the identified areas. Even supporters are now forced to think that this project was being taken up only to aid the election campaigns. Only releasing orders into the age-old corrupt system will not work in India. Hence, the tall claims of building 80 lakh toilets in rural India is farcical and shameful.
This issue has been debated upon in media and by public, but there hasn’t been any concrete step to correct the ways of implementation of these crucial projects. All the schemes and the related issues get doused by the upcoming elections each time in Delhi or in Mumbai or in Haryana or in Bihar, and now, it will be Uttar Pradesh, soon. The five-year term of the government will be spent building international relations, introducing schemes and preparing for lost battles in important states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The deals done with foreign countries can cease to exist once, the ruling government changes. The introduced schemes, if not touching base with the ground realities, might as well fail in the coming years. The elections, anyway, are more about performance and behavior these days, as the public understands everything. It isn’t easy to woo public with non-functional toilets anymore!
The vote bank of commoners doesn’t understand international relations, but it understood ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’; it understood the inflated rates of their staple food, and therefore, the center lost the state. No matter how the campaigns were designed, no matter what the strategy could have been; in the end what matters is work. If the elected government in the center ignores its fault and tries to justify the lousy ways of execution of schemes (for that matter election campaigns too) then of course, the results will show up.