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Have you taken the New India pledge?

Why solve only six problems when you can solve 56?

Let me first wish you all a belated very happy Independence Day! If I were the Prime Minister of India, I would be a proud man today. As fate would have it, I am not the Prime Minister of India. I’m not even the Opposition, which in any case is no longer required since we already have the best government that money can buy. But I am still proud — not only of me and my country, but of every single one of you who took the New India pledge on our latest Independence Day.

Never in my life have I felt so full of purpose and patriotic pride as I did last Tuesday. Listening to our Prime Minister’s inspirational speech, I got to know so many fantastic new facts about my country that I never knew before. I sat mesmerised for the entire 56 minutes. (Incidentally, 56 is my favourite number too.)

By the time the great man was done, I was so fired up with nationalistic fervour that I whipped out my smartphone and took a video of myself taking the ‘Sankalp se Siddhi’ (achievement through resolve) pledge. Like millions of other Indians, I pledged to build a New India by 2022, an India that would be dirt-free, poverty-free, corruption-free, terrorism-free, communalism-free and casteism-free.

An extended pledge

I posted my pledge selfie on Facebook and sat back, feeling pleased at having solved six of the country’s major problems in one go, on a single day. And then it struck me: why should I, as a patriotic Indian citizen, restrict myself to solving only these six problems? What about the remaining 56 problems that afflict our great nation? If not you and me, who will solve them — your grandfather? Hello, just because you pay taxes doesn’t mean the government owes you something.

Let me tell you, from one Vande Mataram-singing patriot to another, if you really want your country to become great, then you must take personal responsibility to make it happen. It is in this spirit of selfless service to the nation that I appeal to each one of my 125 crore fellow Indians to not only take the New India pledge, if they haven’t already done so, but to take an expanded version of it so that we can together by ourselves solve all the problems the country is currently facing.

Therefore, over and above the pledge to solve the problems of dirt, poverty, corruption, terrorism, communalism, and casteism, I urge every citizen of India to also pledge to solve the problems of unemployment, farmer suicides, malnutrition, faltering GDP growth, drinking water supply, housing for all, education for all, universal health care, electrification of villages, rural road connectivity, and affordable oxygen for babies.

Further, every citizen of India should pledge to solve the Kashmir problem, take care of Pakistan, and teach the Chinese a tough lesson on Dhokla. Let us together also pledge to improve the criminal justice system by implementing police reforms, filling the vacancies in the judiciary, and providing operational autonomy to the CBI.

Citizens of India should also pledge to transfer ₹15 lakh to the bank account of every Indian by 2022. Let us together pledge to end crony capitalism and to personally escort Vijay Mallya back to India. Let us pledge to pay back all the NPAs of all the public sector banks even if it means we have to break open the piggy banks of every innocent child and woman in the country. Let us together also pledge to take our Sensex to an all-time high of 70,000 by 2022 by pledging our provident fund, pension, life insurance, and leftover savings, if any, to the stock market.

Every citizen of India should also, in my opinion, pledge to pay on time the wages of whoever has worked under the MGNREGA, implement the Food Security Act, and appoint a Lokpal. Let us together pledge to answer all pending RTI queries by 2022.

The No.1 nation

And while we are at it, let us also pledge that our politicians will not poach MPs or MLAs from other parties by bribing them, that our government will not use state machinery such as the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department to target its political adversaries, and that by 2022, the Prime Minister of the country will start holding periodic press conferences where he or she will answer unscripted questions from unfriendly journalists.

And to round things off, I suggest that any citizen of India who enters politics to serve the nation and suddenly finds his assets growing at a rate greater than ten times the GDP growth rate should immediately pledge 56% of his and his family members’ assets to the Indian Army. If all of us can take the above pledges, I assure you, we will become the world’s number one country in 56 days flat.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 1:39:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/have-you-taken-the-new-india-pledge/article19525477.ece

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