The Times of India tries to look into the future and comes up with this sneak-peek of the Indian urban infrastructure in the year 2020. Even though it seems that the person coming up the morphed pictures clearly doesn’t have 20/20 vision, but being too hopeful isn’t all that bad either. Poor infrastructure is one of the major hurdles in the path of Indian economic growth, yet improving it doesn’t seem to be a top priority i.e. the delayed highways project. I hope to see something like these pictures in my lifetime.
Late last week, Madhuban, a town on the Indian side (Bihar State) of the Indo-Nepal border was raided by Maoists from the Nepalese side. Local residents report of an attack with military like precision, the raid supposedly lasted only a few minutes. However, the bands of Maoists were successful in raiding banks, offices and even homes. The raid ended with a high number of casualties as a result of an encounter with the local police. Via the Indian Express:
The attack on Madhuban was the first of its kind—attacking multiple targets in broad daylight. Usually, Naxals attack one target, that too under the cover of darkness.‘‘Their planning had military precision, they started the offensive at 1.15 pm and ended it at 1.25 pm,’’ said Vinay Kumar. Bands of 20-25, many of them women, attacked each target while other groups cordoned off the town.
Eyewitnesses claimed many among the attackers seemed to be Nepalis and Intelligence officials are not ruling out the possibility of Madhuban being a joint operation of Indian and Nepalese Maoists. Though Nepal’s Maoists have denied their involvement in the attack, officials are not so sure. ‘‘They could be wary of the fallout, perhaps why they don’t want to admit to such an operation,’’ says an IB official.To officials, it’s clear that Left wing extremism has made the Nepal border its new turf and there are signs of increasing cooperation between Maoists on both sides.
The Indian state of Bihar, where the attack took place has been a hotbed of Naxalite/Maoist/Left Wing violence for years and a connection between the groups in the two countries has long been suspected. But, this daring raid is a very dangerous precedent of how the Nepalese civil war might spill across the border. Maoists or Left wing groups have long been active in India, having a stronghold across India stretching from the Northern state of Uttar Pradesh to the South till Andhra Pradesh. The unfortunate situation here being that this attack just adds on to the violence in the already troubled region of Bihar
The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (U.P) has come up with a plan to fight the rising crime-wave by providing all beggars in the state with jobs. The state cabinet approved a plan to have a "beggar census" throughout the state and the "physically fit" ones will given employment with state’s construction agencies. The government terms beggars as "potential human resource" going waste.
After the cabinet discussed the issue at length, orders went out to district magistrates in charge of all major towns, asking them to start a census of beggars in their areas. Once identified, those who are found physically fit to work will be engaged as ‘unskilled labourers’ with government construction agencies. Those who are physically challenged would first be given aides to make their lives easy before they are trained in different vocations.
On being asked how the government had made this connection and reached the conclusion that they needed to be roped in for work, Neera Yadav, U.P Chief Secretary said, ‘‘Since they are not a part of the mainstream of society, it is understood that they indulge in anti-social activities.’’ Yadav admitted that government agencies like Rajkiya Nirman Nigam were facing shortage of manpower. So, the beggars who were physically fit could be taken in as unskilled labourers for construction work.
U.P is the most populous state in the Indian Union, with over 140 million people. However, it remains one of the most under-developed regions in the country with high rates of illiteracy and poverty. It is one the last regions in the world still inflicted with Polio. The state is ridden with corruption and a rising crime-graph. But, due to its size it becomes the "make or break" state during national elections. The crime-wave in the state is mostly due to corruption at all levels of government, with more criminal politicians than anywhere else in India. Therefore, it is highly moronic to blame beggars for the crime wave in the state. Hopefully, the government would actually go through with this plan, if not to cut down crime, but help the most destitute who turn towards begging to make a living.
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