Sunday 3 February 2019

… And this is how the Modi government changed my regular middle-class Indian life

I hear the middle class, general category, is miffed with the Modi government, reasons being the ordinance against Supreme Court’s verdict on the SC/ST Act, and the failure to build the Ram Mandir, so I have chosen to make my shunned and slighted voice heard, writes Avantika D on Yahoo News. Read on:  

I have never taken to the booth as someone’s ‘vote bank’, I have always been a citizen. But now that I hear and read, I – the middle class, general category, is miffed with the Modi government, reasons being the ordinance against Supreme Court’s verdict on the SC/ST Act, and the failure to build the Ram Mandir, I have chosen to make my shunned and slighted voice heard. As a middle-class Brahmin (mentioning because caste is paramount in India, still), my admiration would increase manifolds for Modi had he brought an ordinance on the Ram Mandir and get done with it once and for all – the courts will only give us dates and some more date. Verdict? I am confident – it won’t.

But the Ram Mandir is not central to the middle-class majority’s being, it’s significant indeed, but not central. Mr. Modi may have several giant projects to notch up his belt; there are these little things in life that matter to me more. My father retired from the Indian Army right after the Kargil war, he had fought two wars for this country. No, he didn’t do it for money. But money was essential also. In less than 2 years of forming government at the center, Narendra Modi announced the implementation of OROP, a demand that had been pending for ’42 years.

My parents wanted to visit my brother in the US. Sitting over 1800 kilometers away, it’s because of digitalization that I could get their passports done – that, without an agent, or paying bribes; just a few clicks here and there. Not just this one odd instance, digitalization has borne multidimensional effects on my life, I can pay my bills and rent, book gas and file ITR online. All from my drawing room, thereby saving a bunch of time and money on conveyance. Gas reminds me, as a child I had witnessed my father visiting the outlet and booking gas 3 weeks prior to the day the cylinder in use would run out, my mother had to be a champion with her mathematics and predictions. Today, I book my gas cylinder when flame on my stove starts to flicker and the refill cylinder gets delivered to me in 48 hours – barring that one occasion when it took 3 days. That was the time I ordered food from a neighboring restaurant. They had levied the new tax, the GST; it registered in my memory because, for the signature dish I order every time, I had paid way lesser as miscellaneous charges and tax as I would have done on earlier occasions. This reminds me how my mother was detailing me on her grocery bill the other day, the same rice, yellow dal, red dal, and sugar were now cheaper.

Though I am not very observant of grocery bills, I am in full cognizance of my phone and internet usage, which only go upward every month. Pleasantly enough, the bills are at a friendly low. I am no more the daughter sending missed calls to my family as signals of having reached my destination safely. In fact, I am that daughter – not meaning to brag – who took her grandparents to every destination they ever wanted to visit, all pilgrims covered, except Kedarnath, that altitude is a challenge. Anyway, is it only me or has the cost of flight tickets been drastically slashed down? I don’t remember the tickets being this affordable in 2013.

Enough about me, let me let you in on my colleague who had put down papers couple of months ago, not that she had another offer at hand. Her project-file for Mudra Yojna had been approved; she was now all set to hire 3 employees for her own consulting firm. What she had been doing for big corporate houses since the past decade, she would now do for herself.

My cousin bought a 3 BHK recently; his initial plan was to settle for a 2 BHK, but he got the 3 BHK at a cost closer to that of a 2 BHK. This downfall in the otherwise sky roaring prices of real estate were motioned by demonetization, which had also reduced the interest rate on home loan, thereby allowing him to pay it off faster. In a similar case, the newly married-couple in my adjoining apartment has availed subsidized loans given to Middle Income Groups through Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna.

My father happens to visit several government offices every now and then, he shares how all babus are available on their respective seats on time. The bio-metric attendance system has fixed the attendance and punctuality issues at the government offices; productivity is on the rise, corruption is declining. Grievances are addressed readily. A pending pension case of an elderly I know, was promptly heard and settled expeditiously.

The roads I walk on, are better, cleaner; I’m not forced to suffer the stench suffused into the air by under-privileged children of the nearby poverty-stricken colony relieving themselves by the roadside drain, in the morning. That they now have toilets, frees my morning walks from respiratory hazards. I can see evidences of infrastructural progress smiling at me from all directions: better transportation, better connectivity, more trains, passengers on waiting list being accommodated in comparable trains – it’s a comfortable journey.

Like I said, I am no one’s voter bank. I don’t want to be so, either. I am a law-abiding citizen from the middle class that earns through honest means and pays her taxes. I want this tax money to ameliorate the standards of my living and that of those around me. Modi is not perfect, but what I have found in him is an undying perseverance, an endeavor to shake up the rust-infested status quo, and make things better, for me, for you, and for everyone. And that, for now, will suffice.

No comments:

Post a Comment