By: Rakesh Kumar Sharma
Prem Kumar Dhumal’s government has so far taken three important decisions within a month of assuming office, which certainly need appreciation. But unfortunately, all newspapers circulated in Himachal do not include any column going beyond press notes/conferences. Editorial pages have no relevance for the issues of Himachal Pradesh. In this scenario, citizens find an opportunity through the modern media like internet websites like this to criticize the wrong policies and appreciate good decisions. Whereas, the criticism with logic can send a positive message to policy makers, appreciation is also must for encouragement. Otherwise, people are less motivated for reforms and choose to live in a stationary state.
Firstly, an increase of Rs 25 (19%) in minimum wages and an increase of Rs. 100 (50%) in social security pension and that too not before elections is a dynamic step. Governments all over the world owe primary obligation to work for the provision of living wages and basic social security in old age. By this decision, the government has proved its commitment for this unorganised sector. This decision has much more significance than the provision of interim relief and dearness allowance to salaried government employees. Unfortunately, we ignore the fast declining purchasing power of wages; therefore, do not want to increase wages/cooliage for years.
Secondly, Dhumal’s appeal to people, asking them to stop wasting resources on procuring garlands and gifts in official functions and to say Namaskar instead of touching his feet is exemplary to the whole nation. In this way he has shown a great respect to the people and also to the famous poet Pt. Makhan Lal Chaturvedi, who had explained the true desire of a flower in his poem “Pushp ki Abhilasha“. These types of appeals, perhaps derive courage from the idealism only as we human beings have a weakness to enjoy such things. The famous writer, Munshi Prem Chand had clearly depicted this human weakness in his story “Muft ka Yash“. The history of human evolution explains it very clearly, how people started to worship God. In monarchy, kings also started enjoying some respect in the similar fashion due to the concentration of all powers. The people also carried the similar traditions even in the democratic set up, to please the policy makers for getting a preferential treatment. Our leaders and bureaucrats owe a moral responsibility to work for the welfare of whole society, which should not be influenced by any means of sycophancy.
Finally, prohibiting school children to attend government functions was direly needed. Children in government schools were seen as the crowd component and entertaining media in all such functions. Entry of all people in the school premises during teaching hours was not only interrupting studies but also damaging the school infrastructure, already in poor shape across the state. This is one of the important decisions, needed to improve the quality of education in government run institutions. Only time will tell, how seriously the government implements these reforms.