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Why are our teenagers taking to crime?

 

 

 

 

 

Vijay Darda : Today, there are two serious issues facing society. The first is the rising crime towards children and the second concerns the growing numbers of children themselves taking to crime. India's history of thousands of years tells us that we never had these problems but the last fifty years have worsened the situation. Poverty has been one of the major reasons for this phenomenon, our growing alienation from cultural and moral values have exacerbated the situation.

Fascination with materialistic life leads many children to crime. They either take to crime of their own volition or are lured by others into a life of crime. Many of these children start with petty crimes and later graduate to becoming 'dons'. Even terrorists are using and involving children in their outfits. Today, India aspires to be one of the fastest growing economies in every field. We are hoping to educate all our citizens well and attempting to infuse exemplary values in them. But children taking to crime is one of the biggest impediments in the nation's development and pulling us backwards. Today not only are children being raped, many children are also indulging in such criminal activities. Children are also accused of murder. There are many children involved in the drug trade. Little girls are being kidnapped for prostitution. So whether they are victims or perpetrators of crime, children are being ruined either way.

According to statistics coming out of the National Crime Records Bureau, 89,423 cases of crimes against children were registered in 2014, but this figure increased to 94,172 in just one year in 2015. Most of these were cases of sexual violence. According to the data furnished by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, most of the people who sexually exploit children are their relatives or acquaintances. So it is time to ruminate on why this is happening in Indian society which is upheld as among the most evolved and civilized societies in the world.

Why are our children not safe amongst our own? Why are our mindsets so debased? Every citizen must mull this over and exercise caution, only then will we be able to find a way out of this crisis. So far as the issue of children taking to crime goes, we must take into consideration the statistics for a clear understanding of why this is happening so frequently these days. In February 2016, the government had informed the Rajya Sabha that 22,740 cases of juvenile crime were registered in 2010, whereas in 2014 this figure increased to 33,526. That means, in just five years, a 47 per cent increase in juvenile crime was reported. These are official figures, though the actual numbers are likely to be higher because not every case reaches the police station.

It is clear from NCRB data that 60 per cent of the juvenile crimes are committed by those between 16 and 18 years of age. These crimes also include heinous ones like murder and rape. The country has still not forgotten Delhi's 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder. A minor behaved like a monster towards Nirbhaya. 
Memories of the 2013 tragic gang rape in Mumbai’s Shakti Mill are still fresh in mind wherein a minor was among those involved. Now it is the Juvenile Justice Board that decides the punishment of minor offenders and these sentences are not more than three years. The offender is confined to the child remand home for the course of the punishment. The law of juvenile justice has been framed in terms of providing an opportunity to the offender to mend his ways. He is expected to repent, reform and become a good citizen when he returns to society. But surveys have shown that such juvenile offenders often almost never reform. It is a matter of concern and merits legal reconsideration.

To go back to the question of why our teenagers are increasingly becoming criminals, even psychologists are flummoxed and in constant search of an answer. The joint family tradition of our country once upon a time facilitated the monitoring of children and adolescents by both the family and society. Neighbours too were free to scold a child if he or she misbehaved and to teach them to distinguish between wrong and right. Parents and grandparents at home lived in close proximity to children and could detect any change in a child's behaviour or attitude instantly. Now with nuclear families gaining popularity and joint families breaking down rapidly, things are different. Not all parents have enough time to devote to their children in a nuclear family. Under the circumstances, children become victims of loneliness and undergo all kinds of emotional upheavals. They seek solace in bad company and nefarious activities, at times simply to gain the attention of their parents. In modern times the Internet is an added source of concern. The availability of porn on the Internet has spawned newer ways of crossing the line on norms of acceptable behaviour. Porn unduly excites teenagers and also infuses values of bestiality in them. Moral values go for a toss even before they have a chance to take root and materialism takes over. The teen then is ripe to commit any and every kind of crime. To restore traditional values, we will have to first restore family to the children, infuse them with good values and ethics and draw closer to them to understand them and make them understand. We will have to watch them like hawks while cooing at them like doves!

Before I conclude

Do readers remember Budhia? In 2006, at four years of age, he had just run a marathon. After that, coach Birchari Das was murdered and Budhia went into oblivion. The country also forgot him. Now it is a matter of joy that he has got a new coach in the form of Anand Chandra Das. The 15-year-old boy from Odisha is doing a lot of hard work and his dream is to run in the Olympics. My best wishes to Budhia!

 

 

 

Path of ease of doing business still not easy!

 

 

Vijay Darda - After the release of World Bank’s ease of doing business index, a buoyant impression is being created that reaching 100th rank from 130th position means that everything in the country has changed and foreign investors will now rush to the country! No one is taking pains to explain that this ranking has been released only on the basis of studies in Delhi and Mumbai. The World Bank considered these two cities as models. The study found that the condition has improved to start business in these cities on indicators such as obtaining construction permits, getting loans, paying tax, bankruptcy settlement, etc. But are the conditions similar in other cities of the country too?

There is no doubt that the process of improving business environment in India is underway. And that is why the World Bank has incorporated India among top 10 countries that have improved the business environment. This report has been issued in 190 countries based on the reforms made during the period from June 2, 2016 to June 1, 2017. If we are at 100th rank among 190 countries, it is still a matter of concern because in terms of population we are second in the world. In the midst of excitement of getting good ranking in the ease of doing business index, I would definitely like to remind that in this column last month, I wrote about hunger, i.e. the hunger index.

We have gone up and down in this index. Earlier, we were at number 97, but in this year’s report we are at the 100th position. How embarrassing it is that in the hunger index, we are behind our neighbours like China, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. A girl from Jharkhand dies of hunger while crying out for rice and our government remains unmoved? The question is why can not we bring this index of hunger to zero? The government has got such a huge mandate; it has got all the power and resources at its disposal. Then what is the problem? Our Prime Minister works a lot, no doubt about it, but a labourer also works! The main thing is what is the outcome of that work? What is being achieved from it? Today, there is lack of quality in every field. Adulteration reigns supreme. Corruption has spread everywhere.

 

The question is: Why does the government not bring in such a Bill that provides for a severe punishment for the adulterators and the corrupt! What is preventing it from bringing in such a Bill? If there is a death due to hunger, why should not the chief minister and officials concerned of that area be held responsible? If a bridge falls, why not send the officer to jail, even if he has retired!

The root cause of the problem faced by business sector relates to bureaucracy! Though we may have improved our ranking in the index, the situation here has not eased much. The government was trying to get India included in the list of top 50 countries. But that did not happen. The world believes that starting a business in India is not easy. A businessman has to face red tapism, procrastination and bottlenecks even today. If you want to start an industry or business somewhere, such Byzantine bureaucratic hurdles await the aspiring entrepreneur that if he is weakhearted, he will pass out and die! However, it is claimed that in the last 14 years, India has effected 37 improvements to facilitate business. It is also claimed that nearly half of these improvements have taken place in the last four years. I tried to find out the truth about it from the owners of small, medium and large industrial units and business friends. Everyone said there are so many bureaucratic hurdles that many a time they start to feel like they have committed some mistake or sin by setting up the industry and business!

The atmosphere of credibility is lacking in India. On the contrary, look at China. There is no democracy but the whole world has been investing there for a long time, because China has created a credible and best environment for the business.

If you look at this report carefully, you will see that we were at 26th position in case of power availability earlier, but now our ranking has slipped down to 29th position this year. Our ranking in cross border trade has come down from 143rd to 146th and in the ranking of business start-ups, we have slipped down a notch from 155th to 156th. The natural question is why is there a decline in these areas?

We should not feel complacent for positive report on ease of business as it will not solve our problems. The government will have to bear in mind that only Mumbai and Delhi are not important. Small and medium industries are running too in thousands of other cities across the country. The reality today is that the atmosphere for them has not improved at all. The problem that the businessmen have been experiencing post implementation of the GST, has been felt by the whole country. The statistics of Reserve Bank of India also confirm this. Loans for small businesses are declining. Obviously, if small business condition improved, people would expand business and the size of the loan would also increase. One more thing -- just ask any industrialist or a businessman as to how developed corruption is as a style in our country?

Before I conclude

 


I am upset with the reports of one gangrape after another and wonder why some people in our country are so pervert? In Bhopal, the role of the police after gangrape of a girl fills one with anger, while the rape of a hundred-year-old woman and her subsequent death leaves everyone shocked. I think this problem can not be addressed properly unless provisions are made for immediate and harsh punishment for the offender. The punishment should be extremely harsh..!

India will have to be more alert against China

 

As expected, Xi Jinping was elected President of China again. But more important than that is the fact that the party has incorporated Xi Jinping’s ideology into its constitution. This has elevated Xi Jinping to the stature of the party’s founder Mao Zedong and the subsequent leader Deng Xiaoping.


Before knowing what ideas are included in the party constitution, let us know what Jinping did after his re-election as President. It is important to know that Jinping is not only the President of China but also the head of the Chinese army and party. On Thursday, he addressed a meeting of the Central Military Commission, which comprises top commanders of the army. At this meeting, Jinping said the army should be ready for war. He did not say against which country the war is to be waged but it is being said that India is on its target at the moment. He must have been pained that despite having 23 lakh soldiers and officers in the army, India browbeat China in Doklam and forced it to retreat. As for the Indian Army, there are about 12 lakh soldiers and officers.


However, Jinping asked Chinese military commanders to focus more on how to win the war. Immediately after this meeting, the Chinese defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqing issued the statement that Jinping’s plan would be fully implemented and every order would be followed. India should be cautious with this attitude of Jinping because the cracks between the two countries can now turn into a conflict.


As a matter of fact, Jinping is working on long-term plans. He is working on spreading trade and business all over the world and for that a strong grip on the Indian Ocean is very important. At present, India is a big power in the Indian Ocean and Indian Navy is more powerful than Chinese navy. Jinping, who realises this deficiency of his country is taking steps to strengthen the navy. His military is 23 lakh strong and he has presented a blueprint whereby he has stated that the Chinese military is shorter by 3 lakh. It is obvious that he wants to reserve it for strengthening the navy. Obviously, he has taken this step by keeping India in mind. India has made it clear that if the presence of Chinese military increases in the Indian Ocean, the latter should clearly guarantee that it will not be against Indian interests.


Another important thing is that China has a lot of missiles, but in that proportion there is no aircraft carrier. Defense experts believe that it is because of this reason that China has not become aggressive right now. Jinping is desperate to change this situation too. China is engaged in mobilising such an aircraft carrier. He wants to acquire such a military strength that no one can dare challenge it. And when there will be ‘no Doklam’ in such a situation, it will be able to expand wherever it wants.


Indeed, it is not just India but all Asian and other countries of the world which need to be wary of Jinping. Now China is much stronger at the domestic level and it will apply full power to maintain its strong hold on the world. Their One Belt One Road (OBOR) proposal envisages industrialisation from Central Asia, Central Europe to Africa. China has clearly stated that it will lead the development of entire Asia. Obviously, China is not there to do charity. It has designed the policy of expansionism so that it could compete with America. In Asia, other countries can be completely overturned. Now you see that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which Jinping has started, passes from very close to India’s Kashmir. What is the guarantee that China or Pakistan will not use this route militarily? It is a plan to surround India directly. The railway line which China has laid up to Tibet is proposed to be extended up to the Nepal border. Unfortunately, Nepal is getting attracted towards it.


Now, let’s take a look at the Xi Jinping principle that has been incorporated into the party constitution. It wants China to develop into a political and economic power as well as get a new identity in the world as a liberal and prosperous country by 2021. Right now, China’s economy is $11 trillion and Jinping wants to expand it to $18 trillion by 2023. If he succeeds in doing so, China will be the world’s largest economy. China is actually working on such a strategy that it can overshadow the US in every field and unquestionably become the world’s Chacha Chaudhary! The problem with the US is that at the moment its leadership is not strong at the domestic level. At present, there is no other way to prevent China’s economic imperialism. This is a challenging time, especially for India. We have to tread extremely cautiously.

Before I conclude

I am in politics but I am often astonished by the bombastic talk of the politicians. Now for example Shivraj Singh Chouhan, referred to as mama (maternal uncle) by the children in Madhya Pradesh. He bragged about the roads in Madhya Pradesh in the US. In a seminar on the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum in Washington DC, he said the roads in Madhya Pradesh are better than the streets of America! Dear brother Shivraj ji, you should have given a thought before making such a tall claim! I have visited the US many times and frequently travel to Madhya Pradesh. What will you do or say if some NRI or American who attended the seminar, really came to visit Madhya Pradesh?

 

 

 

Isn’t even a single death from hunger a stigma?

 

 

 

 
 
The death of Santoshi, an 11-year-old girl from Simdega in Jharkhand, due to hunger has horrified the entire nation. The tall claims and promises of development are causing indignation. What kind of development is it that can not provide even two square meals to every citizen? Therefore, I am constrained to say that, “Mr Prime Minister and the chief ministers of all the states, please don’t do anything. Neither do we need bullet trains, nor do we want sleek and wider roads. You all simply ensure two square meals for the poor, jobs for the youths, end to the plight of farmers, irrigation for the farmland, clean drinking water to the citizens, treatment to the poor, proper arrangements to see that nobody is forced to carry the body of his child or wife on his shoulder, and see that no farmer dies while spraying pesticide! This is all which is expected of you!”
 
Mr Prime Minister and the chief ministers, how ironic it is that the public distribution system is being consumed by corruption, medicines are not available at government medical hospitals, the schools do not even have mats for students to sit, there is a shortage of teachers and the farmers are dying like flies. The concrete roads are falling apart baring the deep-rooted corruption and our character is being exposed before the youths. Corruption is raising its ugly head everywhere and we are celebrating Diwali? Now you all take up just one job in hand. Just ensure that the poor of the country gets bread, roof, drinking water and medical treatment. Just do that! Do not embroil us into the web of words! People remember the Prime Minister or the chief minister who does even one job properly. Don’t you feel any pain that people are dying of hunger, carrying body of their loved ones on their shoulders, and the hapless farmers who produce food for us all are embracing death?
 
Eminent poet Dushyant Kumar wrote nearly half a century ago:
Bhukh hai to sabra kar
Roti Nahin to kya hua?
Aajkal Dilli mein hai
Jer-e-bahas ye mudda..!
Enough of discussion and debate! We have to battle against hunger with full might now; fight against the decrepit system and corruption. When the then Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat was the chairman of Rajya Sabha and Sharad Pawar was the Union minister for agriculture, food and civil supplies, I had censured the public distribution system saying that we eat the food meant for the poor and do not even feel ashamed about it? Shekhawat had then directed Pawar that he should reply to the question raised by Vijay Darda. In fact, the country still wants to know when will the disease of corruption end?
 
The Global Hunger Index report of the International Food Policy Research Institute has made even more clear what we are actually experiencing. India, which was at 97th position in the Hunger Index report of developing countries, has now slipped to 100th position. This means that India is third among Asian countries in terms of starvation. Ironically, our position via-a-vis number of wealthy persons is almost the same. While we are becoming more and more affluent, the ranking of most of the neighbouring countries vis-a-vis Hunger Index is better than ours. China is at the forefront at 29th position. It is  followed by Nepal at 72nd, Myanmar at 77th, Sri Lanka at 84th and Bangladesh at 88th position. Of course, Pakistan at 106th and Afghanistan at 107th position are behind us.
 
The United Nation’s latest report on global starvation has added another stigma. The report says that 23 per cent of the world’s hungry people live in India. Titled State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017, the report has clearly stated that due to the situation in India, the international goal of elimination of hunger by 2030 has been jeopardised. The report stated that the number of malnourished people in India was 78 crore in 2015, which has increased to 81.5 crore in 2016. Do these shocking figures not scare the government? Does the government not feel pain and fear?
 
Studies show that 38 per cent of children below 5 years of age are malnourished in India, whose impact is felt on their mental and physical development, education and intellectual capacity. Around 51 per cent of the young women are suffering from anemia, i.e. blood deficiency. So the big question is what is the reason? Finding an answer to this question is very easy. We all know that inflation in our country is so dominant that it is difficult for the poor to make arrangements for two square meals. Leave alone nutritious food, the basic food itself is beyond the reach of the poor here. It is difficult for a labourer to eat both pulses and vegetables with bread, given the amount of wages he gets. Fruit and milk are a luxury for the poor. I believe that to overcome hunger and poverty, firstly inflation will have to be checked. And of course, we must stop the waste of food. The UN figures show that 40 per cent of India’s food is wasted. If this food is saved and given to the needy, many people can satisfy their hunger.
 
Before I conclude
Ratan Tata, the head of Tata Trust, has announced to give `1,000 crore and other resources to set up cancer hospitals in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. This is really a bumper Diwali gift! In fact, cancer patients from all over the country come to Tata’s Mumbai-based cancer hospital. Though they get treatment at affordable rates, the poor patients’ families find it difficult to sustain themselves in Mumbai. Tata Trust plans to provide Mumbai-like treatment to patients in their areas. This is the noblest gesture from the Tata Trust and it deserves to be extolled!