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Rediff News  All News  » Business » Is UPA govt a flop? Here's what the aam aadmi says

Is UPA govt a flop? Here's what the aam aadmi says

Last updated on: January 19, 2011 12:44 IST

Image: Protestors burn an effigy during a protest against the hike in fuel prices in New Delhi.
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters Indrani Roy Mitra in Kolkata

Indicating a scam in the export and import of onions and some other essential items, the Communist Pary of India (Marxist) recently said that the prices of essential commodities were rising even when there was more than enough supply in the market.

"The same traders that benefited from export incentives (on sugar earlier) are now benefiting from duty-free imports. Is this a reflection of the bizarre ways of this government or is there a scam waiting to unfold," senior party leader Sitaram Yechury asked.

Even if Yechury's comment is taken with a pinch of salt, it would certainly appear that the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre has failed to meet people's expectations. Be it inflation, petrol price, corruption or scams, the UPA's progress report has not really been anything to rave about.

Many people across India seem to be seething with discontent. Most of them have simply lost faith in this government. We interviewed people from various walks of life about the issue and came to hear unabashed complaints about the lawmakers of the country.

Click NEXT to listen to the aam aadmi. . .

'Luxury car, yes. Baby food, no'

Image: Anirban Goswami.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty

Anirban Goswami

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), thought at one point in time that the United Progressive Alliance will do wonders for the country. It is, no doubt, doing that. It is 'wonderfully' leading the economy of the country astray.

What baffles me is what will veterans like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will gain from being unpopular.

And even a child understands, the 'faulty' policies of this government have not gone down well with the people. They are just gasping under the burden of an uncontrolled inflation. Scams like the recent 2G one have further tarnished the government's image. It's a sad state of affairs.

As for me, my business has seen a sharp decline in profits, thanks to the ever-increasing prices of essential commodities. My earning from business has come down whereas my daily expenditure has gone up.

Unless things improve quickly in the next few months, I would have to sell off my business and take up a job somewhere. It's really tragic that because of a weak government at the Centre, I would be forced to relinquish my childhood dream of running a business of my own.

The country is run under bizzare economic models where luxury cars are increasingly 'gettable' for the middle class, while baby food becomes unaffordable! Is this why we chose this government?

It is often said that people get the government they deserve. But I don't agree. We definitely don't deserve such a corrupt and ineffective governments run by nincompoops.

. . .

'Politicians have sold the future of the country. . .'

Image: Bipul Basu.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty

Bipul Basu
1st class government contractor

Its communal nature notwithstanding, the National Democratic Alliance government was much better than the United Progressive Alliance government, especially if one takes into account this second term of the UPA.

This government has failed to meet the basic expectations of the governed. It has failed miserably in the following aspects:

  • Curbing inflation;
  • Bringing down the prices;
  • Providing efficient governnance;
  • Fighting corruption;
  • Strengthening the economy

What I find really amazing: at a time when the common people of the country are seething with discontent over the ever increasing rise in prices of essential commodities, our ministers are only concerned with the interests of the industrialists.

They are busy licking the boots of the high and the mighty, it appears. One particular minister, for example, looks as if he is the godfather of the Ambanis. It's an utterly shameless gesture.

I know that politicians need to be barefaced but I could never imagine that they can stoop to this level. Politicians of India have successfully sold the future of this country to the industrialists who are pulling the strings.

We, the aam aadmi, can do nothing but hang our head in shame.

 . . .

'Even I could have run the government better'

Image: Dipali Mahapatra.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty

Dipali Mahapatra

I am not as educated as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Yet, I can run the house much more efficiently than the way they are running this country.

The present United Progressive Alliance government is a very bad keeper of the house. It has neither been able to serve its people, nor has it been able to instill confidence into people's minds.

In the last few years of its rule: it has only bestowed ills of scams, inflation and poor administration. Price rise, as we see on television and read in the newspapers, is an issue of highest concern at the moment. However, no concerte step has been taken so far.

Things have moved from bad to worse and the lawmakers are just sitting pretty. Why shouldn't they? The government showers money and benefits on them. They get richer at our expense.

I feel so angry at times.

A democracy that does not honour the people's well being is no democracy at all. This callous government should be sacked at once.

. . .

'This government is only for the rich and powerful'

Image: Ram Prasad Mondal.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty

Ram Prasad Mondal
Vegetable vendor

This government is only meant for the rich and the powerful. The poor are destined to die. All the economic policies are designed to bury the working class like us.

As the ministers and their chamchas at the Centre steal the taxpayers' money through various scams, we the poor die a slow and painful death at the lowermost rung of the society.

The political leaders have no time to think about us. Why should they? After all, they joined politics to mint money not to serve the society.

They should not waste any time in framing policies that could get translated into welfare of the poor. Rather, they should only concentrate on building a fortune.

They should keep adding to their fleet of personal cars and should let the poor get crushed under the wheels. I earn about Rs 2,500 a month. This is just not enough for my family of three.

But I could somehow manage with this meager income even six months back. Not any more.

Now, the three of us are but forced to have only one meal a day. My wife took up a job at a local dhaba last week. She will get Rs 50 a day plus two meals.

Though the 'salary' is not impressive, I don't mind as she would get two meals a day at least -- a 'luxury' that I cannot offer her at home.

I would have to stop sending my 7-year-old son to school from next month as my priority at the moment is to provide food for the family.

My child's education seems a distant dream that would never be fulfilled.

. . .

'Poor people like us can go to hell'

Image: Sajal Raut.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty

Sajal Raut
Taxi driver

If you ask me, the present UPA government stands for three things: inflation, scams and mis-governance. It has failed the people completely.

I don't see any improvement in India's economic stature under this government. I would only move from bad to worse.

The scam-tainted ministers and their chamchas are not being punished the way they should be.

After all, public memory is very short and people at the top are only waiting for us, the people of India, to forget the scams so that the 'accused' ministers' unpardonable follies can be prompty swept under the carpet.

Is this what we call democracy? To me it's a lunacy run by some power-crazy people. India has become a pawn at the hands of our ministers and lawmakers whose heads have been sold to the industrialists.

Only a few obscenely rich people call the shots in our country and our netas take pride in being at their beck and call.

They wag their tail always and do what they are asked to do. The poor people like us can go to hell. Why should the politicians think about us? We don't help them accumulate wealth.

. . .

'Shame on a government that can't feed its own people'

Image: Montu Mridha
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty

Montu Mridha

I hail from a family of farmers. I used to take pride in my profession. I know every aspect of farming like the back of my hand.

However, for the last few months, I have been thinking of selling off my piece of land and take up a job in the outskirts of Kolkata.

For farming has stopped giving me fair returns. Cost of raw materials has gone up tremendously and the demand for farm products have gone down.

Though the present UPA government talks a lot about 'doing wonders' for the agriculturists, I have not been able to reap any benefit whatsoever.

I think the welfare schemes that the government talks about are only in paper and they are just given lip service at the Parliament.

The ministers and the bureaucrats steal our money and we are forced to starve. Shame on a government that can't feed its own people.

. . .

'In India, it's a crime to be poor'

Image: Sanjib Bera.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty

Sanjib Bera
Scrap and plastic recycler

I am a recycler. I stay amid garbage all day. Yet I feel I am a much better person than our corrupt politicians. At least I do some good to the society. But look at our netas. They just use our country to fill their pockets.

Be it the social, cultural or economic stature of India, not much improvement is seen. But one scam after another surfaces. Some minister's name comes to the fore, media scurry for coverage for a few weeks and then everything is conveniently forgotten.

Take the case of 2G spectrum, for instance. There was a huge hue and cry. People have cried themselves hoarse demanding that scamsters be punished. But nothing will come out it. It's all a big zero.

Tomorrow, if my 6-year-old kid steals a bread from a shop driven by pangs of hunger, he is sure to be beaten up.

The poor like us can starve but not steal while the ministers and political leaders can go on feeding their fat and ever-hungry clan.

In India, it's a crime to be poor!