Lucknow: Young Sherlocks to home in on right choice
Elementary strategy: Students say they will vet candidate’s credentials, look into criminal records and promises kept before making the final decisionUpdated: Feb 27, 2019 13:07 IST
Young voters of Lucknow on Tuesday said they will step into the shoes of iconic fictional detective Sherlock Holmes when indelible ink is applied on their index finger during the general election in order to gauge whether a candidate deserves their nod or not.
This resolve of theirs came to the fore at a conclave at the HT office on Tuesday.
Explaining the Holmes connection, these young voters said they will scrutinise the criminal records of the candidates, as well as their track record on keeping promises, before pressing the right button on electronic voting machines (EVMs).
Other issues were also on the mind of the young voters. For instance, they were concerned about job reservation and said they want the next government to address it.
They also said they would like the government to support students belonging to the economically weaker section with free study material, tuition and coaching. At the same time, they emphasised the selection criteria for jobs should be based on merit.
Students from the Indian Institute of Management- Lucknow, Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University (RMLNLU), Isabella Thoburn College and University of Lucknow aired these and other views at the conclave.
Sara Khan of IT College said, “I will play Sherlock Holmes when I go to vote this time. I will scrutinise the promises made by the political parties in the last election and look into what they have delivered. I will also analyse the track record of the candidate. I will not press the EVM button just like that, but will convince myself (about the appropriateness of the choice) before casting my vote.”
IMPROVE QUALITY OF EDUCATION
The participants laid stress on the quality of education. Sudeeti Chaturvedi of IT College said, “Not all can afford convent education or send their child to premium English medium schools. The quality of the government-run primary schools needs to improve. There should be a mechanism in place to ensure that teachers hold their classes regularly.”
Shashank Singh of RMLNLU said the infrastructure in government-run primary and secondary school should be strengthened to pave the way for quality education at the elementary and secondary level.
He said unless the government looked after school education, it will never be able to fix other problems confronting the country.
Naina Singh of Lucknow University said the no-detention policy till Class 8 under the Right to Education Act had not helped in lifting the educational standards. “The government should focus on children in primary and middle schools. Merely promoting them to the next class, irrespective of their learning level will worsen the situation,” she said.
IIM Lucknow student Jai Shankar Singh suggested that the government work for enrolling children of the deprived sections in schools.
“RTE is there, binding private schools to give admission to poor children but everyone knows the truth about its implementation,” he said.
However, the centre’s decision to induct experts from outside the bureaucracy into the corridors of power evoked a positive response from other participants.
“It is good that experts from different fields will benefit our policy making,” he said.
NO RESERVATION, LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR ALL
Mirza Yusra Beg of IT College said, “Reservation should be entirely done away with. The economically backward people should be awarded scholarships and helped with study materials, rather than giving reservation to lower caste people who are actually strong economically.”
“As long as reservation remains, the youth will never be able to see ‘achhe din’. Politicians have a short-term horizon geared towards winning the next election. A good policy, which may take years to formulate, is unattractive. A policy that will win them votes is preferred,” Beg said. Equal opportunity should be given to all to prosper, said Harshmeet Kaur of IT College.
Sameer Khan and Pooja Yadav of Lucknow University expressed concern over increasing unemployment among the youth while Aastha Pandey brought up the issue of brain drain. Shashank said abolishing reservation will not change the caste system. “Reservation was a tool to protect a particular class, not a sword in their hands,” he said.
AGRICULTURE SECTOR NEEDS FOCUS
Ankit Sharma of IIM-L said he was pained at the increasing incidents of suicide by farmers who were in distress due to their inability to repay bank loans.
The new government must come out with a concrete agricultural policy, Sharma said. Ankur Jha of IIM-L advocated a pro-people policy for the all-round development of citizens from all walks of life.
Another IIM-L student Ankit Verma expressed concern over depletion of the groundwater level. He wanted the government to take strong measures to ensure that ground water was not exploited any further. The present generation should leave natural resources for the coming generations too, he suggested.
Aavieral Malik of RMLNLU said propaganda and circulation of fake news should strongly be dealt with.
RESERVATION FOR WOMEN
Agrima Verma of RMLNLU said the proposed 33% reservation % for women was not in proportion to their population. It should be in the 60:40 ratio, she suggested.
While another participant said India should elect a woman prime minister this time, Aayush Rastogi of RMLNLU argued this would amount to mere tokenism.
Farah, a student of IT College, said, “Women’s reservation is an issue but it is equally important to fight the mental blocks in the society, which prevent women from taking up high posts.”
The male participants called for a level playing field.
“The country did not have a woman prime minister other than Indira Gandhi. We have fewer women in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, though women voters outnumber men in some states. It’s wrong to think that merely having a woman PM will solve all women’s problems,” said two participants.
Most of the participants said government job was their first preference. “Government jobs are very few and the scenario in private sector is not that rosy,” said Sameer Khan of Lucknow University.
Sudeeti of IT College said underemployment was a major issue.
“After spending lakhs on a professional degree, the youth get jobs offering a meagre salary. It is high time the government talks about it. Unfortunately, this is not an election issue for any party,” she said.
They suggested that start-ups were a solution to the problem of unemployment.
“With very few jobs in the government sector and the situation not very good in the private sector, start-ups are an option for the youth. From job seeker to job provider, this is an idea that will help deal with the unemployment issue to an extent,” said Ankit Verma of IIM-Lucknow.
The educated youth also favoured minimum educational qualifications for those contesting an election. “There should be some parameters. At least, he or she should be able to read and write,” said Agrima Verma.
Sarah Khan said it was against the concept of democracy to set an education bar for elections.
Jaishankar Singh said elected representative should be aware of the ground reality and a high educational qualification was not necessary for that.
First Published: Feb 27, 2019 13:07 IST