Human Development as the first goal
I am touching upon an area which is normally ignored when the world leaders discuss, according to them, more priority areas like sustainable development, global warming, poverty lines, Millennium Development Goals etc.etc. How can we achieve human development which means a lot of improvement all around. My concern is whatever the literate people discuss around the world it means almost nothing to an illiterate, ignorant person. From where one can start? Should I kill the poverty first or should I kill illiteracy first? I am actually confused like others who are trying to take some or the other actions in these areas of my concern.
Today in India we have achieved unprecedented growth since 1947, after 65 years of achieving freedom. Yes, even our literacy has shot up from a mere 12% in 1947 to almost 75% in 2012. But India has grown only economically. Development of Its people still remains a larger issue as far as I am concerned. Our people protest, revolt and sit on Hunger Strikes and yet we find no solutions to our sanitation, water, roads, education in rural areas, wastage of agricultural products, black money etc. If India had invested all its black money for development of infrastructure the scenario would have changed. When educated people do this we surely know despite education human development has not taken place. So, I ask these questions -
'Of what use is my education, if I steal money to stash in other countries and deprive my own people a decent life'?
'Of what use is my education if, as a politician and an MP of a particular constituency ignore the needs of its people, despite allocation of government funds for development'?
'Of what use is my education, if I can't stop spitting on the roads by being a little more considerate about other's health and overall hygiene?
'Of what use is my education if I can't stop myself throwing garbage on the road'?
'Of what use of my being a municipality employee or a normal citizan if I can't ensure cleanliness all around'?
Thus, despite the education and money for all necessary areas, something is seriously missing in all of us. Everyone, in India atleast, has to be conscious about the environment, civilized infrastructure and should have the courage to tell the other person to behave when required. A country of a billion people with brilliant minds keeps me amazed at these 'taken for granted' issues.
I am perpetually aware that I will contribute, to whatever extent, in human development. Creating awareness and informing people about their wrong doings have helped. I tell people not to throw anything on the roads. Once I was travelling in a bus in Kolkata. A lady was sitting beside me with a child on her lap. She was bringing her daughter from school. The child was probably hungry. She took out some biscuits from a packet and gave the biscuits to her. After finishing the packet she threw the wrapper out of the window. Then she took out a chocolate from the wrapper and again threw the wrapper out of the window. When I told her that this was wrong and she shouldn't have done this. Not only her child was learning a wrong habbit, she was also contributing in choking the road. The lady got furious and started fighting with me. She wanted a public opinion on this from the fellow passengers and they all sided with me. She was educated but not developed.
But when I asked a taxi driver not to spit on the road and told him about the environment hazard of this he immediately agreed and promised never to spit again on the roads. He was uneducated but more civilized and developed.
It is now my mission to create this small awareness with likely big impact.
Tough Policy decisions on environmental issues have to be taken by the government. People spitting and urinating at public places, throwing papers, wrappers, plastics or any other garbage materials should be fined on the spot. Schools and colleges should have special training sessions on this, poor ignorant people should be made aware of these hazards through government sponsored campaigns, advertisements or incentives. Municiplaity should be made more efficient. Special programmes for women and men should be organised by NGOs to stop public nuisance.
In partnership with the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), World Pulse is collecting personal stories outlining women’s experiences and recommendations on sustainable and equitable development for presentation at the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
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