We live in times where: GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is measured in tons, Citizen Rights in Volts, Nationalism in Decibels, Poverty in Heights and length of Wall.
As the US President visited India on 24th of February, the Indian government had spent more than hundred crore rupees for his welcome and on the other side Trump imposed the $260 million-dollar penalty on India and also excluded India form the developing category list. This move not only resulted in a loss of to $260 million in GDP benefits, but also about how many lakhs jobs could be lost in specific industries when the economy is facing unemployment and stagflation. It is also suggested that no big trade deal negotiations took place during his visit.
The land of Mahatma Gandhi i.e. Gujarat where the president arrived on 24th February on a two-day trip and covered Ahmedabad, New Delhi and Agra as well. Indian government called this trip as “Namaste Trump”.
For both leaders, Trump and Modi, it was a welcome distraction. Mr. Trump was eager to change the subject after his impeachment trial, and Mr. Modi loved a reprieve from growing protest scenarios over a new anti-secular, discriminatory and anti-Muslim Citizenship Law.
Donald Trump inaugurated world’s largest cricket stadium, Motera Stadium, situated in Ahmedabad. The Indian government had set a budget of over one hundred crore rupees for a three-hour visit. A wall was constructed by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in a bid to mask a slum area situated between the stadium and the airport. These areas had seen a little to no development in the past years.
Instead of providing basic facilities like food, clothes, education, water and proper drainage system to the slum population; around 45 families got the eviction notices by the government.
In 2014, President of China Xi Jinping visited New Delhi and the same steps were taken by the Indian government to hide the Indian poverty with the help of green shaded net.
During Delhi assembly election 2020, Modi government promised to provide 20 lakhs homes with the slogan “Jahan Jhuggi Wahi Makaan” but now the same government builds a literal wall between rich and poor people of the country.
Is the construction of the walls justified?
Two third or approximately 68.8 percent of the Indian population lives in poverty. According to 2011 census Gujarat poverty rate is 16.63 per 1 million people but the government is busy in building walls which costs over hundreds crore rupees.
Currently, more than 6 crore slum areas are present in India and the people of those areas do not have basic facilities like water, proper drainage system, health and education.
Walls should be built for the homeless not to hide the homeless.
Is there any violation of rights of the people residing in those slums?
A welfare state is a concept where the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principle of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal necessities for a good life. It is the duty of the government to provide basic needs like education, housing, healthcare, pension and unemployment insurance to its citizens.
After the inauguration of the stadium Trump arrived in Agra to see the Taj Mahal. The Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department had released 500 cusecs of water into the Yamuna river in Agra in order to mask its foul smell and stagnant water. In 2017, Agra witnessed very scattered rainfall which almost resulted in a situation of drought. In 2019 about 42% of India’s land area had faced drought in different states of the country but at that time government had not taken any strong step for the drought affected areas.
I think Trump should live in India for a month. If for three hours visit the government can implement so many developmental activities, then what will happen if Trump will stay in India for a month.
B.A. LLB, Jamia Millia Islamia
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.