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Leadership is action, not position. -Moi A skillful leader asserts mobility in the direction required. He would seek flaws and dig deep to eradicate them from the roots. If I get the esteem honor of being the chief minister of my fascinating home-state Punjab, I would like to work upon some grave issues. Punjab is one of the smallest and the most prosperous states of the country. It affords the best quality life for its residents. But economic progress is not the signature of social balance. Only a state which is able to clear its social ambiguities is capable of providing a momentum to commerce. The flamboyant state of Punjab with all its lambency has been struggling with the dark patches of gender bias since times immemorial. Ranging all the way from infancy to adulthood women are subjected to sex determination, foeticide, strive for education, hefty dowries, abandonment and trafficking. The prejudice against the girl child discovers its roots in mere delusion of the society where bride pricing and ‘carrying the family name’ are still advocated for. Women are victimized alarmingly when it comes to issues of health and mortality. Their economic participation is limited owing to the despair of education resulting into a huge query over their safety and security. The state has a barbarous performance in Gender related Development Indicators (GDI) and Measures (GDM) specially the sex-ratio. In such a scenario the government needs to work hand in hand with the community. Presently a couple of government initiatives like Punjab Istri Sabha, Nanhi Chaan and Sewa Bharti are working as per the underline principles given by Bharat Vikas Parishad. Then there are some NGO’s like Pahal, Shakti, Umeed Khanna, Jagriti etc sprinkling specks of hope. But this handful of effort is certainly not enough and so is depicted in the report submitted by World Health Organization on selective discrimination. The nature of this menace is such that only by presenting a brighter perspective to people we can curb it. My first step would be profiling the gap in elementary education. Only a woman who is aware of her rights can fight to acquire them. Hence, we need to make sure that the dropout from primary as well as high schools is a minimum. Education will provide them economic independence which will inflict a demographic balance in decision making for a family and work participation. Secondly, the enrolled girls should be made familiar with concepts of self- defense, skill training and should be encouraged for sports. The government has already banned any kind of sex determination tests but they are still performed, sometimes even forcibly in the name of ultra sounds. A vigilant team needs to be constructed which focuses on any such illegal activities. The punishment for the same should be severe and the license of the concerned doctors should revoke with immediate action. Furthermore Punjab observes severe under-reporting of violence cases among women. A 24 hour


helpline should be shaped which has a simple toll-free access especially in the rural areas. The harassment and the social stigma involved should be curtailed by springing into corrective action immediately. A certain number of Punjab police personnel should be trained by professionals to deal with traumatized women. Such teams should be deployed in every district so that these cases are reported in time and lawfulness comes into play. Lastly, I would suggest health monitoring which would include indicating nutrition levels, immunization, child mortality, treatment seeking and maternity care. Every woman should receive elaborate healthcare. Abandonment should be tracked and replaced with satisfactory housing so that they don’t feel dependent on either their parents or in-laws for shelter. A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform. So let us not keep her deprived of this chance because eventually only a responsible and radiant woman can build a beautiful family and hence a beautiful nation. Lush green and spirited Punjab is picturesque in all aspects but behind all this vibrancy a mere state of oblivion exists. With drug abuse exhibiting an alarming increase the state seems to be cobwebbed with narcotics. Succeeding the green revolution Punjab’s affluence has been predominant as one of the highest per capita consumers of alcohol in the world. Owing to the proximity with Pakistan border Punjab serves as the base station for drug peddlers who have spread an intricate network throughout the country. The Border Security Force and The Narcotics Control Bureau stand as mute spectators while this erosion has engulfed about 73.5% of the youth. The problem is of epidemic dimensions in rural areas where it mingles with unemployment and crime. Furthermore these dreadful revelries usher drug-use related infections because of the sharing of syringes. Reflecting on the gravity of the situation I am suggesting a strategy. Smuggling and narcoterrorism needs to be tracked down from point of emergence to consumption. Cultivation of unauthorized crops eg. poppy or pilfering from other states should be checked rigorously. Since an international drug cartel is actively involved the state should be made unavailable as a transit point for drugs which can be done by a stir surveillance by BSF. Drug de-addiction centers do exist but they don’t illustrate huge success rates; I would suggest a network of health workers to be established which follow a therapeutic plan concentrating on rejuvenating the patient in social aspects as well. The rehabilitation program should be progressive but should be priced nominally specially in the rural areas. Also there are certain licensed laboratories which synthesize drugs in the disguise of chemical research. Then there is abundance of homemade synthetics used by age group of 12-17. Here, the government could use a helping hand from NGOs for striking a cord with the masses. The drug peddlers can be arrested in their full-swing in glitterati parties and night clubs which are elite hosts to such chains. .


Punjab is the food bowl of our nation. The befitting geographical position, favorable climatic conditions and high fertility of land makes agriculture the primary income source for 70% of the population. But the state has not exploited its potential for industrialization and agricultural diversification. Due to lack of a network of elaborate communication, the enterprises have been limited to branch outs from agronomy. Lack of dynamism in the industrial economy is a barrier in the way of economic transformation. To some extent the long drawn de-acceleration of industrial growth was because of the militancy that persisted in the state till late 1990’s. Prone to civil disturbances the state was not considered investor-friendly. Now, this stature is affecting living standards in the state inducing unemployment and slothful economic reforms. As the CM I would propose some new industrial strategies which could build a synergy between agriculture and industry. The focus will remain initially on assessing resources and skills endowed by the state. The bar on financial constraints needs to be raised and a transparent policy needs to be tailored which incorporates costs of alternative and crucial aspects. A major challenge is the high price of the land so it becomes an important task to find arid spaces. The state should be segregated into economic zones which could focus largely on promotion, processing and modernization. I believe that I and my government would be very successful in shaping the present and the future of the state. The legacy of the Royal Punjab is famous worldwide and sooner or later it shall be better known for its prosperity and growth. Perfection is not inherited or in-built; it is the reflection of effort. Under the disguise of labor we are actually inviting ecstasy. ***


Anna Bhalla - Punjab - Essay 1