Driving in India is a challenge, especially in a city. But once you overcome the initial challenge you are able to see the roadside trees, buildings, traffic lights and small groups of people living on the footpath or nearby ground. Their children definitely do not chase fair skinned people, as depicted in quite a lot of English movies, but nonetheless they are poor and they surely need our help and attention.
One of the popular topic of discussion these days in India is the construction of smart cities. These cities will have easy access to schools, libraries, transportation, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, and other community services. It is a step towards sustainable living, and something that will surely decrease our carbon footprint. But seeing the way things happen in our country, either these projects will never be completed or mid-way through we would realize that we are implementing outdated ideas, and that the world has moved eons ahead.
Like any other country, India has its own unique challenges. As such it would be a futile effort copy-pasting the ideas implemented by our western counterparts. We need an Indian solution to an Indian problem, and instead of just constructing smart cities, we should give priority to developing our villages and slowing down the exodus from villages to cities.
As for the cities, we should construct shelters for the homeless. Illegal construction should be stopped, and new projects sanctioned must follow the stipulated guidelines. Steps should be taken so that rivers and lakes do not end up as dumping grounds. Also, new cities should be constructed rather than expanding and over-burdening the resources of the already big cities.
While it is primarily the duty of the elected representatives of the people to develop their region and the country as a whole, but this is not possible without the help of private organizations and concerned citizens groups. Let’s make an effort and improve the place we live in, unless we want the impoverished to chase foreigners and beg for money.