Push the development agenda

The COVID19 has taken its toll.

We are a small nation grappling with resource shortage even as we tackle the pandemic. It is a given right now that we should be according priority to offsetting the impact of COVID wherever and whenever possible. Heroes on the frontline are responding against it in their collective capacity but there is a slight danger to national interest here. Though of course, we must be on guard and fight the pandemic as best as we can, there is the risk of ignoring other weighty issues in hand. Apart from implementing strategies like absorbing layoffs from various sectors affected by the pandemic and injecting money into the economy in the form of the Economic Stimulus Package, the 12th Five Year Plan is also being reprioritized subsequently resulting in change of budget allocation. Focus on key sectors might see changes. However, amidst all this, the government has its various pledges and promises to live up to. We must not forget that. While at the moment, we can only show solidarity to the government in this battle against the covidemic, we must also hold them accountable for all the changes in plans and policies affected or brought about by their decisions. The democracy has every right to hold the powers to be accountable. Even this pandemic is a test not only for the government but the country as a whole to see how it can tide through a crisis. What doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger.  We must remember that we elected a government around two years back and even as the leaders do their best to combat COVID19, we must hold them accountable for their promises, pledges and policies. Right now, if we were to do a cursory assessment of the 120 days pledges, we might find several of them unfulfilled and many others with loopholes. Decisions such as the hike in teachers’ and health professionals’ salary and  doing away with the Class X cut-off point among others need to be assessed and looked into for their worthiness as it is important to look into the feasibility of other promises in the pipeline. Currently, with COVID taking the focus away from government pledges, we are in a situation that might possibly turn into a growth status quo or stunting of development plans. For example, we are hearing of increased number of human-wildlife conflict and killing of cattle by wild animals. There is also the crucial issue of drying up of water sources especially irrigation canals in the rural areas. What are the authorities doing about them? As important as it is to fight the COVID, it is paramount that the government wake up from their stupor, assess their responsibilities and take charge of development agenda and goals. Of course, following the best methods in these times. We must win our long term battles despite the short term hurdles.