India- Change is the need, not an option
I am guilty. Why? I am a US citizen and a PIO holder. The guilt lies in the fact that I reside in India but not for investment purpose. Hence, the government doesn’t give a damn. I have come here for the development of India by educating the future of the country. This is a grass root initiative by a non-profit, Teach For India. My observations after living for 5 months in India as a common man:
1) No independence- Everywhere I have gone, they have asked for Indian address proof. Without residing in India in the past, how can I provide such a document. For the very basic need for mobile number, I had to ask my father-in-law to get one. I need a gas cylinder, ofcourse I need an Indian address proof. Aadhar card takes 2–3 months of processing time, so never mind that. Before it arrives, I have basic needs that need to be taken care of.
2) Lack of acknowledgement- I am a human. Just acknowledge that. When you talk, make sure your words carry sincerity. If you give me a particular time, then be on time. I have other commitments too. I have a busy schedule as well. Another thing I have noticed is that people have started a trend of calling out other humans with a ‘shhsshh’ or that ‘kiss’ sound. I am not a dog. I refuse to be one.
3) Too much attention to NRIs- Looking around, I see so many issues that need immediate attention. Yet we spend so much money on organizing events for NRIs and foreigners. This is a sheer waste of money. I realize India needs huge capital investments. The question is whether the country is ready for it psychologically. Money can help highlight issues. To solve them, we need humans. Infrastructure, sanitation, education, nutrition and so many issues need to be prioritized.
4) What transportation?- I live in Modi’s Maninagar at the moment. There is no schedule for bus service. I asked the time for a particular bus route the other day. The person responded by asking me to sit in the bus and that the service will start whenever it has to start. I demanded for a schedule. The person simply starts ignoring my presence. The rail service is a beast in itself. Too many times, I have stood for more than one hour as the trains were running behind schedule. I inquired about this to a common man. He said this is normal for ‘aam aadmi’.
5) Too many Indias- Every Indian has a different definition or opinion about India. One theme is common amongst most Indians: everbody wants to settle out of India. We lack problem solvers. It is because of so much corruption in daily life and ofcourse other issues as mentioned in points above. I find no blame in Indians. The government in particular lacks citizen friendly laws and regulations. A rich or well to do Indian loves India. That person has the money or contacts to get things done. The aam aadmi who struggles to meet needs is left with the poor Indian dream: roti, kapda and if luck has it, then makaan.
6) Internet as a utility: I wanted a new gas connection and filled the form online. Honestly, I was surprised to find such a user friendly website. The application was submitted and I received a waiting list number. The message also stated that the agency will contact me. Apparently, the form was submitted to a black hole. For the most part, there are phone numbers available for most shops online these days. The only problem: you dial a number to hear that the number does not exist or is out of service. I find this very frustrating and request all shops to keep their contact information updated. Please respect the internet.
I have written all of the above as a real aam aadmi who has to stand in line and has no contacts or money to expediate any process. I write on behalf of the people whom I have heard and seen in the past five months. These are my observations. These are the observations of Indians who are never heard by any government. I hope with this article, the government focuses internally rather than going on a road show for requesting investments from all over the world.