It is high time to go deep into Haryana’s current set of socio-political and economic challenges, which have compounded the situation so much so that the state’s most powerful community is impatient to get quota clutch come what may. Last year they protested so violently that saw colossal loss to human lives and properties. So far this year their agitation has remained peaceful, but nobody knows when things spiral out of control and the state is in the grip of total chaos again, something which must not be allowed to recur at all. Those who had propagated and implemented an extremely liberal policy for change in land use (CLU) did little visualise that their acts of short-sightedness will compress people’s income drastically in the long run. CLUs if carried out for holistic development are welcome, but become counterproductive if implemented to meet one’s greed for money. Nearly total absence of job opportunities and avenues of gainful engagements for the state’s youths has become a major worry for today’s powers-that-be. The state’s policy makers and so-called custodians remained busy in promoting concretisation in the state, particularly in areas close to the national capital, which is certainly now a state-wide phenomenon, but only at the cost of the state’s overall well-being. Agriculture land was sacrificed for concrete structures. Instead of providing sustainable livelihood skills to youths, they were provided with sops and hollow promises. They were not forced to enter the college premises nor were guided to equip themselves with skills which guarantee them jobs. With the passage of time, they got more interested in changing the land use of their farm lands so that they become ultra rich overnight, which they were not able to sustain for want of other regular source of income. Agriculture was the mainstay of Haryana’s rural economy which is in a bad shape today.
Needless to say that Haryana as a 50-year young state is passing through an important phase of transformation. The state looks poised for a total socio-political and economic metamorphosis in years to come. Its cultural and social values remains quite strong, but are under serious stress due to certain politico-social factors, most of which are new but can pose serious challenge to the policy makers and other stakes holders if not taken care of effectively. Recent incidents of violence, increasing attacks on women and Dalits are some of such alarms which we must heed seriously only to avoid bigger adversities in the future. Quality intellectual interventions are required to give a better mould to Haryana’s odyssey towards all-round holistic development. Haryana economy is really promising and can emerge much stronger if certain small but consistent efforts are made. Agriculture needs to be transformed. It is high time for diversification and to minimise mechanisation since land holding size is reducing. Massive water harvesting mechanism should be put in place as a long term solution to water problem in the state. Composite insurance policy for farmers, which takes care of their medical-educational urgencies and girl child’s marriage, must be thought of. It will ensure agriculture growth remains vibrant and retains willing farmers and nip the impulsive farming in its bud. Remunerative price for key crops including wheat and rice should also be considered.
Service sector must be given a boost. Almost entire Haryana is now under the NCR. Improve basic infrastructure and ease of doing business. Shortage of quality, skilled manpower remains an area of concern. Small scale industries including cotton, tools and home appliances need to be revived and new ones should be introduced. Heavy manufacturing industry will take its toll on agriculture land. We must not destroy agriculture land for the sake of industrialisation. It is not a better option. Ignoring social sector will only invite more complex troubles for the aam aadmi. Quality health and education facility is the key to better and sustainable economic growth. Similarly affirmative measures like quota need to be implemented with all seriousness and should be reviewed and audited and should be followed by a composite annual report on the number of recruitments and admissions made in that particular year. This exercise will keep one better informed about the impact of affirmative measures.
Haryana’s most backward districts are-Bhiwani, Hansi/Hisar, Rohtak, Jhajjar, Jind and Kaithal. This region has given many chief ministers to the state and they should have created better infrastructure in the region so that more and more jobs were created. It is their failure for which today’s youths are paying a price. We must not look for alibi to justify our failures by saying that rural youth educated up to Class XII are not getting jobs even for a paltry salary of Rs 5,000 per month. First we destroy or discourage to have facilities like cottage industries which can give employment to youths and then talk of abject unemployment in rural areas. It is a dangerous omen which will only weaken our social fabric if not curtailed in bud. It pains me when someone says ‘lack of quality education is keeping rural families out of private and government jobs.’ Why so when Haryana is dotted with so many universities and colleges? There are suggestions to do away with caste-based quota system. It is a hilarious argument from today’s intellectuals, whose predecessors were not ready to see merit in someone if he or she belonged to weaker sections of the society. India’s quota system takes into consideration all constraints one faces and qualifies as a claimant to quota benefits. One must stop looking for loopholes in India’s quota policy simply because he or his class is losing its century-old grip over creamy layer of state facilities and benefits in various forms. There is no accountability with regard to implementation of affirmative tools in India at all. Haryana is also not an exception. There is no harm in having clamour for quota from other quarters, but will someone tell them that those already given quota facility are not getting its benefits, because there is no honesty in implementing the policy at all.