India’s burgeoning population and its many needs and aspirations are largely responsible for the innumerable challenges that its economy faces today. There is much talk, debates and heated exchange of ideas but very less in terms of ‘walk the talk’. Between the talk and the walk there is a missing link which if put in place, shall yield positive results in our country’s socio-economic growth.
And what might that link be? The answer is simple. It is the population itself which has created the problems in the first place. The need to involve the citizens of this country in resolving issues is becoming inescapable as the government machinery alone cannot solve all the problems. Citizens have to be made responsible as well as to participate in civic issues if the country has to progress at a faster pace.
The call of the hour is to set up ‘Citizens’ Task Force’ for particular and specific problems. This is neither a new idea nor a failed one. Whenever implemented, it has shown promising results. Our own country can boast of Bengaluru as one city where citizens’ task force, known as the ‘Bangalore Agenda Task Force’ has been set up and been able to fulfil its targets and aims to a large extent.
Task force is basically a temporary grouping of people under a leader for the purpose of accomplishing a definite objective. It is generally considered to be a more formal ad-hoc committee, usually of experts, formed for the purpose of studying a particular problem and evaluating and formulating solutions. But the scope of citizens’ task force needs to go beyond the aforesaid role. Organising, implementing and actually completing the task in a particular period of time for which it has been set up is by far the most important part of the entire process.
Task forces should be local based as the citizens are in sync with the problems and challenges and perhaps have the best solutions. However, it can be a partnership between citizens, corporates and administrative agencies. By this, citizens come together along with other stakeholders and address issues of common interest. This makes the efforts and results transparent and citizens’ participation becomes spontaneous, determined and full of zeal. Once a particular problem has been identified, short term work should be undertaken and completed quickly. This would show visible results and at the same time generate confidence amongst the people. Also by participating, members would realise their potential to solve problems and this could result in planning and finding solutions for long term reforms.
Participation of experts, retired government personnel, educated college going youth and women would create a mix bag of people whereby it would be possible to get expert opinion as well as manpower to implement projects. Monetary compensation to participation and job opportunities for the youth in times to come, would help in more citizens participating. Issues that could be dealt by the citizens’ task force could be road improvement projects, beautification and cleanliness of parks & beaches, creating awareness of garbage disposal & sanitation and also use of public toilet facilities, road safety, food & shelter for the homeless and helping find medical help for people suffering from mental disorders etc. Also they could bring to the notice of concerned authorities, certain issues like dilapidated buildings and structures which could collapse and cause death. Besides, to ensure that ours is a robust democracy, citizens’ task force could help in creating awareness of the election system in the country and to improve it and reduce corruption and irregularities. Encouraging honest and upright citizens to participate in the democratic process of the country would help in bringing changes.
The women form a major section of our society. They are the backbone of our country. Empowering and emancipating women in the true sense means giving them the confidence to charter out their own destinies not only when they are young, but also when they age. Citizens’ task force is a good platform to get the marginalised section of women into the main stream, whatever their monetary condition or educational qualifications may be. Task forces help to give direction and achieve goals and aspirations.
Swami Vivekananda said; “There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on only one wing.”
It is a sad fact that India stands on the 29th position amongst 146 countries globally on the ‘Gender Inequality Index’. India needs to transform its women force into an effective human resource. The Constitution of India guarantees equality to women in all facets of life and the government is continuously making efforts to do the same. However, implementation gaps exist. To overcome this, the government or community based bodies like ‘All Women’s Task Force’ must be set up to implement, monitor and audit programmes devised for the welfare of women. Also, providing social security, justice and legal help will be faster if the issues are taken up by women’s task force and followed up with agencies responsible for the same.
In the present-day scenario, it is becoming extremely crucial to make women economically strong and legally aware. Emphasis should be on having more cooperatives, life skill and income generating programmes for women. Women should be educated not only academically but they should also be made aware of their legal rights. To give women a break from their mundane existence, a women’s task force can organise exhibitions, festivals, picnics, visits to places or events of interests and sports meet where women are able to participate without any hesitation. Besides generating a sense of freedom and happiness, all these group activities help to create team spirit and renew bonds of friendship.
So, let women come forward and make ‘Task Forces’ and show the world what it means to ‘Walk the Talk’.