Pulwama Revenge

#PulwamaRevenge – ‘Son’s Death Avenged’

bhandara on his next visit home. No one was expecting a funeral. Amit nurtured the dream of joining the paramilitary forces since he was 18. He gave numerous exams and failed at them miserably. But he never gave up. My wife and I were frustrated. My wife wanted him to take up a different vocation.

Each of his brothers had chosen a different vocation — electrician, photographer, accountant, teacher. Amit had four good options but he chose the uniform services above all. He was a brave soul fascinated with military discipline. His mother died before she could see his son smartly dressed in his uniform. I cannot imagine how she would have reacted to the news of her son’s martyrdom.

No parent should be subjected to this grief. But despite the deep vacuum Amit left in the family, I have no qualms in admitting that I am proud of my son and I will not hesitate to send my other four sons on the line of duty if it necessitates. Amit had reported to work, a week before the fatal incident. Just a day before the attack, I spoke to him and he had assured that he will be back soon. He was 29 and we were on the verge of finalising his marriage.

I am thankful to the government for the help that has been extended to us. Last morning when I heard about the Air Force attack on Jaish camps deep inside Pakistan, I felt like crying. We feel my son’s martyrdom had shaken the government out of slumber. I can sleep as a man in peace. Amit’s supreme sacrifice has inspired several youngsters from our village and other neighboring areas.

People here are demanding that a recruitment camp should be organised in the village, and we promise that we will produce the best of jawans for the service of our country. I am old, but I too am ready to go to the border and sacrifice my life for my nation. My son’s dream has taught so many others to dare to dream and fight for the nation.

Job Market Is Pathetic

#WhereAreTheJobs – ‘Job Market Is Pathetic’

I work as a journalist with Radio Dwarka (www.radiodwarka.com), India’s first online Community Radio, an initiative by a group of old media hands in Delhi. According to Wikipedia, community radio stations are operated, owned, and influenced by the communities they serve.  They provide a mechanism for enabling individuals, groups, and communities to tell their own stories, to share experiences and, in a media-rich world, to become creators and contributors of media. In short, it is a mini democracy in action, a media service of the people, for the people and by the people.

As a reporter I try to get an in-depth understanding of issues. I have been able to look at people’s confusions, aspirations and fears from close quarters. And in my opinion, our country is in urgent need of a Universal Basic Income. The employment situation doesn’t look that bright to me.

There are various schemes that have been introduced by the current government to skill people and generate employment. The government’s social media machinery has done a good job publicising these schemes. Youngsters from privileged backgrounds, who probably do not need to avail benefits of government schemes want to participate as volunteers wherever possible. However, the schemes should reach the people from the back of beyond, who really need them the most.  

Perhaps the most talked about business loan scheme is the ‘MSME Business Loans in 59 Minutes’.  Financial assistance of upto Rs 1 crore is given to micro, small and medium enterprises that form the backbone of any economy. MSMEs contribute to around 40 percent of the GDP. A time frame of 8-12 days is taken to verify the credentials of the business, but the actual approval or disapproval is given in 59 minutes flat. It saves one from so much stress.

Some day, I would like to start my own initiative –a community radio for my hometown, Gaya. Gaya has numerous stories in its bag apart from the Mahabodhi temple. The world needs to know about us. I keep updating myself about the various ways in which the government is aiding people, who want to work towards their own businesses.

As about voting in the last elections, yes I had voted for the BJP and my vote will again go to the same party.

Govt Schemes Help

#WhereAreTheJobs – 'Govt Schemes Help'

I feel the employment situation has remained static over the last four years under the Modi regime. However, since I have never entered the workforce, I am not in a position to make a very informed and in-depth comment about the issue. But most people my age who opted to take up jobs, have found employment. Whether they are happy with their jobs and the salaries they are getting is another issue altogether. 

I have definitely heard of quite a few government schemes, but never tried to enrol myself in any of them. I don’t even know anyone personally, who is availing the benefits of any of the government schemes. I think by far the most popular scheme is the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana. Almost everyone has heard of it and it has centres across the length and breadth of the country. In Delhi you have these centres in places as diverse as South Extension 1, Narela, Najafgarh, Uttam Nagar, Rohini, Khajuri Khas etc. 

I am currently not working anywhere and focusing my energy on procuring a government job. I want to serve the country as an efficient policewoman and study long hours to be able to live my passion soon. I also attend coaching classes for these exams. However, if I am not able to clear the exams essential to secure a government job, then perhaps I would like to go for self-employment. I still haven’t figured out what business I would like to take up if I go for self-employment. 

I didn’t vote in the last elections, but I would like to vote for BJP in the upcoming elections for I believe they truly understand the essence of India, right down to the grassroots level.


Govt Supporting Startups

#MyVote2019 – ‘Govt Supporting Startups’

I am not an economic expert and thus can only speak for myself. In my opinion, the employment situation has improved, though the recent report released by NSSO (National Sample Survey Organization) says otherwise. Having said that, to form an opinion about matters as serious and as multi-layered as this, one needs to delve deep into the subject.  

I am happy about the fact that the government has increased the taxable income slab to 5 lakh per annum. I understand that it still needs to be passed in the parliament and as of now is only a proposal, but is a good start nonetheless. The ESIC (Employees’ State Insurance Scheme) amendment that came into effect on January 1, 2017, is also a welcome step for those already in the workforce. After the amendment, the wage limit of employees covered under the scheme went up from Rs 15,000 to Rs 21,000. This new move also included insurance cover for family members of employees.

The current government has definitely created a conducive environment for start-ups with the launch of the Start Up India Scheme launched in 2016. I particularly like the fact that the Mudra Banks Scheme (Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana) provides micro-finance at low-interest rate loans to entrepreneurs from low socioeconomic backgrounds. This means anybody, who has a great idea, irrespective of their socioeconomic background, can dare to dream and take the leap.

As someone, who would love to start his own enterprise, I love to read about how the government is helping turn ordinary people’s ideas into reality through steps such as, creating a Rs 10,000 crore start- up funding pool; reduction in patent registration fees; improved bankruptcy code, to ensure a 90-day exit window; freedom from mystifying inspections for first three years of operation; freedom from Capital Gain Tax for the first three years of operation; and self-certification compliance.

I have heard about the Skill India campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 July 2015 which aims to train over 40 crore people in India in different skills by 2022.

As I mentioned above, even though I currently work as a business analyst, sooner or later I would like to start my own business, or in other words looking forward to being self-employed. Currently I am doing research about what it is that people need, so that my business can help fill the gap in the market.

I did not vote during the last elections, however since 2014 I have begun to take a keen interest in politics and must say I am impressed with the ruling party’s work and would like to vote for them in the upcoming elections.

BJP Hiding Facts On Jobs

MyVote2019 – ‘BJP Hiding Facts On Jobs’

This can be observed on a daily basis when one skims through the pages of newspapers with news stories that talk about PhD and MBA holders applying for a peon’s job. There’s no doubt about the fact that the situation of unemployment has worsened in the last few years. I have heard about the Skill India mission but haven’t been enrolled in any such program. However I have also read about how this mission has been a massive failure since its focus has been largely on the short-term skill courses, resulting in low placements.

Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner and head of education and skill development, KPMG in India, recently said PMKVY was an ambitious scheme to impart short-term skills. I am currently a research scholar so haven’t intensively searched for a job but I have looked for jobs in both the private and the government sector during vacations and have had harrowing experiences. In the government sector there aren’t enough jobs available and the private sector has jobs but they are underpaying and exploitative in nature.

I didn’t vote for the BJP in the last general elections but wasn’t bitter against this party since I was a little too young to understand the kind of politics of hatred it indulges in. This year I am definitely going to acrimoniously campaign in my capacity against the current government. I don’t think I would ever be able to give out an exhaustive list of reasons to vote against this party because it would be a colossal task.

Also Read: MyVote2019 – ‘Govt Supporting Startups’

In short, the current government is a fascist one that has always focussed on dividing the country on communal grounds. Not only have lynchings against minorities increased but the government has also successfully provided impunity to the perpetrators of the crime, meanwhile creating false enemies of the nation like farmers and students protesting for their rights.

New Job Schemes Do Help

MyVote2019 – ‘New Job Schemes Do Help’

The Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) is a part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and caters to the career aspirations of rural youth aged 15-35 benefitting around 180 million youngsters. As per the government website, DDU-GKY is present in 21 States and UTs, across 568 districts, impacting youth from over 6,215 blocks. It currently has over 690 projects being implemented by over 300 partners, in more than 330 trades from 82 industry sectors.

So far over 2.7 lakh candidates have been trained and over 1.34 lakh candidates have been placed in jobs in the course of the last financial year. DDU-GKY has so far committed an investment of more than Rs 5,600 crore. Another scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), enables a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.

As per the data available it is looking forward to benefit around 10 million youth. Besides this, there is a Financial Assistance for Skill Training of Persons with Disabilities between the ages of 15 and 59 years. The scheme aims at providing financial assistance for skill training for persons with over 40 percent disabilities. And there is a 30 percent reservation for women candidates. The disabilities covered are blindness, low vision, leprosy (cured), hearing impairment, locomotor disability, mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy etc.

Also Read: MyVote2019 – ‘BJP Hiding Facts On Jobs’

The website also says that the government provides for the training cost, transport allowance as well as stipend to the trainees. It is important to note that the government website mentions that the applicant should not have undergone any other skill training course sponsored by government of India two years prior to the application. A very good scheme to help youngsters get attuned to industry trends before joining the workforce is the Apprenticeship scheme.

It trains youngsters by using the training facilities already available in the establishments and no extra cost is accrued. I make sure I exercise my voting rights properly in every elections. I voted for BJP in the last elections. This time too, I would like to see Narendra Modi continue as the Prime Minister. I like his decisiveness and his leadership skills.

Modi Has Nehru's Charisma

MyVote2019 – ‘Modi Has Nehru’s Charisma’

Having said that, there are some things that Modiji needs to take care of if he gets the mandate. He needs to take care that he doesn’t just limit himself to being a ‘ghoshna naresh’ (king of big promises and announcements). He should fulfil the promises he made to people or else people will stop trusting him.  The Indian electorate is very astute. A certain section of the society is not happy that he has not followed up on his promise about the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Artists like me feel hurt that he only talks about curbing cow vigilantism, but does not act on it.

As a pensioner, the price rise in petrol costs and the subsequent rise in prices of perishable items like vegetables etc. do pinch my pocket, yet being a part of the middle-class, we have been making adjustments almost all our lives. Also, Modiji should think several times over before taking a step like demonetization. I was preparing for my daughter’s wedding when the announcement was made and had a very difficult time organising her wedding and paying off everyone.

I think it was purely a political strategy, rather than an economic one, that was played out keeping the then UP elections in mind. Recently the government announced 10 percent reservation for the economically weak among the upper castes, but what use is it if there is no job creation? Practical legislations are the need of the hour. However, I feel Modi has done some good work as the Prime Minister. People now take cleanliness way more seriously.

Modes of public transport like buses and trains are cleaner — one doesn’t shudder at the thought of undertaking long journeys. The seed of being sincere towards taking care of the country has definitely been planted in the minds of youngsters. However, end to end waste management still needs to be taken care of. That is something that should be focused upon in 2019. Some members in Modi’s cabinet, such as external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj and defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman have thoroughly impressed me.

I love how they conduct themselves without any fear. I am impressed by the way women are taking centre stage in Modi’s cabinet. When I hear people say that there is an atmosphere of hatred that has been created, I feel that they are just jumping to conclusions, without going in-depth. I have many friends in the Muslim community and we have no problems with each other.

We participate in kavi sammelans and mushairas and enjoy being together. Yes there are people who kill others in the name of religion (lynchings), but in my opinion they are not representatives of Hinduism, rather they are anti-social elements who deserve to be punished. There’s a lot of love in this country of ours and I am proud that as an artist I have been able to spread love among the people. In 2019, I want a balanced country; a country that is strong both on the outside and inside; a country that values both modernity and tradition.

People, who will vote this year need to be careful not be swayed by fake news that is being spread around these days. I personally try to keep myself well-informed, so that I am able to take the right decision when the time comes.