• By : Farooq Ahmad Bakloo
India being the welfare state the Indian constitution highlights like in the Directive Principle of State Policies enshrined in segment ( IV) of the Indian constitution from article 36 to 51. Article 38 emphases about achieving social order for the promotion of the welfare of the people. The welfare state undertakes special welfare measures and made special provisions for its citizens’ notably for weaker sections. The state enacts legislation on these welfare issues from time to time. Consequently, the welfare state guards and serves the economic and social well-being of the respective citizens. Nevertheless, after the globalization and clutch of the privatization process, the different state governments worldwide are working to diminish the State’s welfare role and engage private players, incredibly and gigantic business cooperates. In this way the modern times the state are approaching to the minimal state.
The Indian state also unfolds the economy under the policies of privatization globalization and liberation in 1999. It allows private players for investment in the country in multiple sectors; notwithstanding these measures, the Indian Government promotes many welfare measures and policies for the progress and advancement of Indian citizens. In every sector, India’s governments have formulated particular policies for the well-being of citizens. For instance, the women and child welfare the Government has introduced programmes like Aganwadi, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan now (Samagra Shiksha) maternity regarding health schemes.
The state has also taken the welfare measure for the weaker sections of the society, uniquely SCs/ STs. But, how much these well-being measures are giving their results at the Grass roots level. It is the point of discussion let take the example of India’s two famous Government programmes, that MGNREGA and Swachi Bharat Abyan.
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MGNREGA is a programme for the poverty alleviation and earning a livelihood and employs the un- employed persons in the Indian villages. Studies reported those states who implemented the provisions of MGNREGA very well, there this scheme has changed the rural landscape and reduced the rural migration as well.
The second is the programe of Swachi Bharat its objective is to erase the open defection in the Indian Villages. It has more implications to prevent the citizens from the unhygienic activities created by open defecation. The latter becomes the source of the number of diseases infectious as well as non-infectious.
What happens at the grassroots level, in Kashmir these welfare policies have turned into corruption and has become the illegal source of income to certain elite people at the ground level? The corrupt approach of the implementation agencies has ruined the welfare approach. The corruption has become the source of earning for certain Government officials at the grassroots level. These offices take advantage of lack of awareness among the villagers about the welfare policies.
From the observations from the field, it was reported, those villagers who get the toilet under the Swachi Bharat mission had first paid RS 2000 to RS 2500 to the Block Development officials primarily the Village level worker, the junior engineer and the Sarpanch then the person get the toilet.
This particular group includes the Sarpanch, and some block officials along the local contractor have destroyed the notion of welfare at the local level. If a genuine person who needs toilet or who fulfils Swachi Bharat’s guidelines face hardships in accessing the right what the Government has made for that person? Unless he/she did not pay the amount to this cultivated group until that he is not getting their right, the same is the case of other welfare policies; these policies are not implemented transparently.
The same case is with the MGNERAGA. This scheme has become the livelihood of contractors at the grassroots level. Instead of providing work to unemployed persons, the work is assigned to the local small contractors. They are very near to the sarpanch and block officials. It is also found that individual village contractors have hijacked the Sarpanch for their interests. The way the contractor asks him the sarpanch act accordingly. Some sarpanches even do the domestic work to these contractors. This group collected the people’s job cards and used their bank details, even though the job cardholders did not do any physical work in the said scheme.
The panchayat raj key aims to deepen democracy, connect the common people with the administration, and empower them to work on the local areas. But in some states and Kashmir, it seems these institutions have deepened the corruption in multiple forms. Sometimes this contractor also gives the contract to some young people. Overall the people who are reliable for this work are humiliated in the Government offices.
The block development officials have made a notable percentage which they are getting from this cultivated group of every village. In this entire process, the welfare schemes’ objectives are diluted, and the benefits are yielded by those who have the reach and can give money to these cultivated people. The way assets are built crumbling in some months, due to the shortage of quality material used in these works. Also, after one month the work starts deteriorating, and in this way, the public money is wasted and goes in vain.
Under the Swachi Bharat, these people are brazenly charging the bribe to the people, and no official should intercede in this peril of corruption. If anybody rings higher officials, they are interconnected with each other, and no action takes place. Instead of this, the person who speaks of accountability is targeted and is linked with some anti-social or anti-National activates.
The most enemy and the most hated person near these people who speaks about the accountability and questions this cultivated group and block officials. Now the Jammu and Kashmir is the Union territory. It seems only political chairs have changed not much more. The corruption at the local level is there, and there is no decline in that process. The people who want to speak about this did not know whom to ask, because the entire system has much infected by this disease of corruption.
The media should play a critical role by exposing these types of corrupt people and also the Jammu and Kashmir should innate the process of the audit of the last ten years and punish the corrupt officials.
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