Saturday, April 09, 2016

When Acche Din is a Test-Tube baby


Travelling through other India (Bharat) one notices the explosion of 2 sectors — #Education and #Healthcare. Even in remote #Haryana or #Rajasthan there are bill-boards along the high-ways advertising schools (invariably “English Medium”) and coaching classes for Engineering and Medical Colleges. Apart from general hospitals — there is the interesting phenomenon of mushrooming “Fertility Clinics” (crudely called “Test-tube baby Centre) in the “rurban” areas.

Both are good developments per se (questions about quality notwithstanding) also indicate the rising aspiration levels of people — for which I would give credit to Television — the General Entertainment Channels (GEC) rather than News TV. And, this is — perhaps — one area where Soap Operas do play a positive role beyond peddling fairness creams and shampoos. For these changes (both education, healthcare and even maternity / fertility clinics) — cannot happen unless the women of the house are aware and concerned.

It is on the back of this “aspirational India” — more than promise of “Acche Din” — that Narendra Modi sailed through the 2014 elections. But, in my view, Education (HRD) and Health have both under performed in his government. The Health Minister has been invisible and dormant (have not understood till date the political compulsions for replacing Dr Harsh Vardhan with J P Nadda) — giving a free-leash to Yoga Gurus and Ayurveda entrepreneurs — offering cures from fertility (Putra Jeevak Beej) to aids and homosexuality. On the other hand, the HRD Ministry has been made dysfunctional by its “controversy a day” Boss Woman— who I still consider to be extremely capable and effective. But, her strength obviously lies elsewhere (and that is no jibe at her academic qualification or the lack of it).

Two dominant constituencies — who tilted the balance decisively in favour of Modi were Youth and Women. Losing them — could be lethal as the Bihar Elections recently demonstrated.

Piece first published in @Medium.Com click on this to read