With Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP set to sweep the Lok Sabha elections for a second term, Mint spoke to millennials to understand what they expect from the NDA government, the areas they think need more attention and factors that can help the country’s development.
Jacob Abraham, 24, a senior network quality co-ordinator with a web services provider, said BJP is the one party which can make a big difference to the country’s development in the next 10 years. He said the people of the country need to be more open minded towards BJP and the steps it is taking towards bettering the nation. In the last five years, the government has already taken steps towards ensuring overall development, but there’s much more left to be done, he said. “They’ve tried to curb corruption through demonetization and have brought rural development by introducing better schemes. I am waiting to see what they do in the next five years," said Abraham.
Most of young India feels demonetisation was a healthy move. “I think it (demonetisation) was a master win by the BJP to create a less cash economy and I hope the good effects of the same are visible in the second tenure," said Ahuja.
Sowmya Ramakrishna, 23, who is currently doing her articleship for becoming a chartered accountant, said the reforms brought by the BJP in the last five years will change the course of the country’s development. She said the demonetisation exercise was a huge hit and paved the way towards digitisation which was needed. “As an aspiring chartered accountant, I interact with a lot of people while auditing and even otherwise and the one thing I’ve realised is there isn’t enough clarity on various tax incentives and other financial benefits the people can get. This is one area the government should focus on in the next five years," said Ramakrishna.
Among the problems raised by the millennials were employment, farmer distress, uniform development and discrimination against the LGBTQ community and the minorities.
Kesavan Nampoothiry, 23, content writer with an e-commerce website, said employment continues to be an issue across the country and the government must focus on increasing employability across various sectors. He said there’s a lot that needs to be done on the rural front. “When it comes to network connectivity and data, I think the government has been successful to some extent. But primary development, such as ensuring good roads and electricity is still not available in a lot of villages," said Nampoothiry.
Abraham said the government needs to prioritize uniform development across the country. “I live in Bengaluru which is the hub for IT firms and start-ups, so for anyone to have a career in this industry, he or she has to move to Bengaluru which just increases concentration in one area. If the government focuses on uniform development of all regions, it’ll open doors for more opportunities," said Abraham.
Another priority for millennials Mint spoke to was development of agriculture and farmers’ welfare. “BJP needs to focus on improving the lives of the farmers. They should be able to earn enough money for the hard work they put in each day. Exploitation by middlemen needs to stop," said Dharini Kishore, 23, a medical student.
Most millennials we spoke to mentioned how LGBTQ rights need more focus. Nampoothiry said the government should exercise more rights for the LGBTQ community. “Even though laws have changed, the system still hasn’t, in terms of providing the same rights to everyone," said Nampoothiry. Kundan Ahuja, 22, founder of Bombay Balloon, an entertainment website, said more needs to be done to ensure there is no discrimination on the basis of sexual identity. “Even though Section 377 has been struck off, the LGBTQ community lives on the margins and will continue to do so because apparently it’s not ‘natural’. Who decides what is natural and what’s not? So if the BJP comes to power, I hope we’re somehow able to do away with this hate, which is a far-fetched dream," said Ahuja.
While the idea of religious polarisation bothers some of them, others dismiss it. “BJP must stop focusing on divide and rule. If we look at it from a psychological perspective, a person’s biggest threat and eventually defeat is insecurity which the government must focus on eliminating," added Ahuja.
Abraham differs. “I am a Christian and, hence, a minority, but I don’t think I’ve ever faced any kind of discrimination. I haven’t been subjected to any indifferent treatment because I belong to a minority," he said.
Manas Amrit, 23, an advertisement analyst, said trying to eradicate minorities will not work in this country. “Trying to follow (US president) Donald Trump and pushing away minorities altogether will not work because we live in a secular country whose people are guarded by some fundamental rights," said Amrit.
While the BJP-led NDA does seem to have hit a chord with the young minds of this country, there’s a quite a lot that needs to be worked upon.