Why can’t our MPs and politicians act like adults? Yesterday, they allowed the Finance Minister to table the Economic Survey in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, then spent the rest of the day raising Cain in the house, which led to Parliament being adjourned. The excuse? They wanted their various electorates to know that they had raised the issue of waiving agricultural loans in Parliament, before the issue was raised in the Budget. If they expect their electorate to be impressed by their childish tactics, they’re sadly mistaken. Those who have TVs will have seen the Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr. Somnath Chatterjee, reprimanding his charges, rather like an exasperated headmaster with a bunch of unruly children. However, comparing our not-so-honorable MPs to children is an insult to the latter--even the most unruly child would not deliberately behave so badly!
Another piece of news that appeared in the Delhi edition of yesterday’s Statesman--it appears that the Kashmiri migrant families camped on NDMC land (the community hall at Bapu Dham in Chanakya Puri) have been asked to move, to their one-room DDA flats in Dwarka. Now, you may well ask--has the Delhi government been kind enough to give these flats gratis? Evidently not--the migrants have paid Rs. 72,000 and are supposed to raise sums of Rs. 2,000 a month when they receive no more than Rs. 2,400 a month as relief. No wonder, then, that Panun Kashmir, the organization that voices the grievances of the displaced Kashmiri Pandit families, has criticized the government’s move to rehabilitate the kinsfolk of terrorists. However, it appears from this report that not all internally displaced people (IDPs) are equal in India--the Kashmiri Pandits are better off than IDPs from Tripura. In fact, the Sikhs displaced due to the 1984 riots are demanding compensation levels equal to those given to Kashmiri migrants.
Which brings me to the issue of de-sealing commercial establishments in Delhi’s unauthorized colonies. Evidently, the Supreme Court has issued an interim order to this effect. I hope this leads to a coherent policy on land use in the capital--we don’t want sealing and de-sealing operations to be carried on because of poll compulsions and not because of policy considerations.
In fact, why can’t our politicians understand that the people want change and mature leadership? They are no longer interested in leaders who raise a ruckus in the legislature, but in people who can get work done in an organized and efficient manner. And the bureaucracy should also enable the creation of well-thought out and coordinated policies by getting various central and state agencies to work together. For instance, why not create a well-thought out policy on IDPs, whether they are from Kashmir, Tripura or any other state? Ensure that displaced people have access to housing, healthcare, welfare/work and education, and can participate in elections. And the same goes for land use--instead of the party in power changing its mind every time it faces the electorate. If such a policy is seen to be good and to produce results that benefit the people, it should not be changed just because the party in power changes. If we can come up with fairly consistent policies for economic development, surely we can come up with consistency on land use and the treatment of IDPs?