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Anxieties of Indian Democracy
For almost six decades, State has resurfaced among us as a friend, steward, provider, now facilitator. Leviathan to Night watchman, Liberal to Socialist, secular to superstitious, conservative to modernists and many more, the Indian State had many facets over the years. For all these decades, nothing has felt as if changing from our exterior gaze.

However, when we make retrospection, everything seems changing from skin to thoughts. Now looking back, people at large are bifurcated at the trajectory of State-people interfaces. There are expanding skeptics and shrinking optimists about the Indian State.

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Is the State deploying new forms of control over the people? Are people largely dissatisfied over the State deliveries? Is the State detaching from heart of the people? Is the State reflects in a new kind of domination? Is the State aligning with market forces? The questions are plenty but answers are mystifying.

State has controlled people by manipulating with bureaucracy, feudal system, educated elites and technocrats for more than six decades. Consequently, it created few classes thereby; they were the agrarian elites, the industrial elites and the professional elite and at last, the ‘information’ elites.

Here already a gnawing gap has configured at the trajectory of State, elite and the masses. Now the State comes to a new momentum; it dominates bureaucracy by dividing the masses. To do this, State has begun to retreat from public domain and it refrains from almost all public utilities and free services.

These days, when State refrains, it is sure that resizing bureaucracy has become necessity. Bureaucracy has turned out to be something like an obese or cancerous cell for the most part of the State. State now conspires with ‘filtering agencies’ to control civil service that has by way become a burden.

Now, in this critical juncture, a second partition occurs, on the one side the masses are still optimist that State and Indian democracy should deliver them what it could. However, on the other side, the elites are skeptical that they never even go to polling booth. This thematic second partition of India reached the freezing point.

For instance see the last (fifteenth) parliamentary election; affluent areas had lesser voter turnout compared to those of backward areas of India. Examples, in Kerala, Parliamentary Constituencies in Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam compared to those at Malabar that are backward; had showed lesser voter participation.

It is time to retrospect that State has reached at a quixotic mood with market with which it has entered even an unholy romantic alliance. State seems to withdraw from almost all public utility services and the vacuum has filled with the black hand of market. For instances, State gives away subsidies, e.g. decision to cut short number of LPG cylinders to a household; decision has been taken to depute oil companies to decide price of petrol in a time of serious fluctuations in international markets.

Probably a similar decision, when taken on diesel prices; will possibly disrupt the public utilities like Railways, public transport systems (Kerala State Public Transport Corporation is already under loss because of decision to charge high price for diesel on large consumers). Most obviously, the State is running away from our needs in a time when State has expected to be at best service and mostly desired in a market run word of uncertainties and hidden insecurities; but it withdraws.

At this moment, State divides people even by hidden ‘conspiracies’ and ‘manipulations’, there by creates classes, sustains them and promotes them. For instance, see how APL/BPL list has formulated, which by any yardstick can no longer deny wider allegation and stirred up criticism.

On the one side, State deliberate to do away with inequalities on basis of primordial allegiances like caste, religion and gender; with offering Constitutional protection and statutory safeguards. Nevertheless, on the other end, State initiates to create classes and social stratum that is offshoot of organized State inaction.

This can be proved with evidence that there are two classes of people even more in India, for instance; on the one side there are people who are able to afford a delivery expense of one lakh or more from hospital conglomerates like Apollo, KIMS, MIMS and on the other end State even finances delivery. Why it happens and how it sustains are few questions and our anxieties.

New forms of control and power configuration resurface in Indian democracy. Instead of licenses raj, now there is a ‘certificate raj’. See how a plethora of unheard of certificates and identity cards as being demanded on citizen; National Population Registry (NPR), ADHAR, Creamy Layer, RSBY card, NREGP cards etc. For the printing of such cards, corers are flowing from exchequer to private agencies.

These have projected as attempts to bring about flattening social inequalities and trickle down wealth to teeming millions on the margins of social landscape. There are attempts to enhance the economic prosperity of citizens from the State side; for instance, see how Dearness Allowance is increased and how funds have allotted for old age pension, pension for agricultural labourers, widow pension, financial assistance for unemployed etc.

However, despite all this effort to widen economic prosperity and social empowerment, along with plethora of welfare measures, tragically on the other end, let us see how it has offset by skyrocketing price hike, escalating inflation, market fundamentalism etc.

Now the doubts comes to our mind; is this largely due to the retreat of State from what it has to be at the public arena and is it due to retreat of State from where it has to be a fortress of security, solace and protection ? Many instances show us that there are avoidable injustices exist!

As of now, a State-corporate manipulation triumphs at the trajectory of corporate social responsibility. Now the State has passed new forms of legislation, which on a clandestine basis filters the process of State retreat and the subsequent refueling of market.

For instance, the recently passed ‘corporate social responsibility’ legislation has been marketising welfare schemes in health care sector. An insurance regime has sponsored by the ‘State-market conspiracy’. The ‘health care card’ to people configures a new agenda.

Now a market is rising over in insurance sector that are obviously a sponsored sector. RSBY scheme (Health Insurance for the Poor) identified beneficiaries will get free health services in identified hospitals. However, the agenda is that people should have a minimum premium to the agency concerned to renew the card. Thus, the truth revealed is that State has made a previous public utility into a paid service.

Please, do not mean bliss prevails when State refrains. It also does not mean that paradise ensured when we criticize. When we move snail like it does not mean that we are settled. Gone are the days when we heard that our political class knocked at our doors for our votes. The cherished dreams of freedom movement and nationalist struggles are away in to the dustbin of history. Now we have a new class of political people and new brand of worries. The anxieties of Indian democracy by now are thickening and these are fundamental.


(About the contributor: Early morning I become a teacher of Political Science by profession at Government Brennen College, Thalassery, Kerala and evening I would like to be a serious writer by passion. Researches on social media and political interfaces in the Indian context. Currently, writing two books on the same theme)

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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