Bullet Train and Poverty in India
In a country like India, poverty, hygiene, illiteracy, unemployment, malnourishment, etc. are crying issues that need to be addressed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been introducing many schemes like the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jan Dhan Yojana etc. All of a sudden he plans to allocate over Rs. 1 lakh crore for a bullet train which will connect two developed cities in India, and those which already have international airports and good infrastructure in place.
Let’s get our priorities right. As per recent estimates over 21.9% of Indian population lives below the national poverty line. Government has to focus on fulfilling basic needs of these people. In this regard it may be mentioned here that when Jayant Patil was the home minister of Maharashtra, he had proposed a detailed draft for a high speed train from Mumbai to Nagpur via Marathwada and Vidarbha, which had a low HDI (human development index). At that time, they felt it was too expensive for Maharashtra. The money to be spent for such a project can be utilised for improving the lives of millions of poor people, so they shelved the project and diverted those funds to more purposeful ventures.
Wrong allocation of funds, wrong prioritisation by the central government are the issues which we are questioning. This line of questioning can usher development if corrective action is taken by the ruling party and ensuring that those funds are deployed for meaningful and more important needs of the masses rather than such extravagant projects.
It is not the right time, for such projects. India has more pressing problems to deal with. Economic development is a much wider concept, and it covers multiple sectors. Fanciful projects alone cannot bring economic development. Even today, Mumbai and Ahmedabad are developed cities as compared to Marathwada, Vidarbha, so many remote villages in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura and other backward states. It will be wise if the Prime Minister pays attention to improving means of transportation in these states. The bullet train project is a mere eye-wash, forcing the tax payers to shell out extravagant sums for a fancy ride, where good means of transportation are already in place.
The NDA government will have to support those schemes which usher progress and prosperity for Indians, but a bullet train alone does not create employment opportunities and it will not remove poverty in India.
Satish Kumar Sarma,
Kalyanpur, Biswanath Chariali.
The upcoming tour of England of Team India would be an acid test. The mighty Indian team’s calibre with bat, ball and field would be immensely tested. The tour commencing from mid summer of English weather rain and sun would play hide and seek game will be very prickly for the Indian team. The pitch conditions would be totally different where pitches will assist seam and swing bowling. Our batters technique would thoroughly be tested by the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and company. Our bowling department looks quite simply strong with Bhubaneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. Our star batsman and skipper Virat Kohli had a horrendous tour last time as he was troubled by James Anderson. This tour is a golden opportunity for Virat Kohli to mend the wrongs in English pitches. The month of July seems to be getting really hot with FIFA World Cup getting into business end, lawns of famous Wimbledon club getting ready to dish out breath taking tennis action and cricket pitches in England exhibiting banter between bat and ball. We all are waiting with our fingers crossed.
Dr Ashim Chowdhury