What young voters want
As India marches into election season, TG Life asked young voters what are their expectations from the new government which will come to power in 2019, and found that employment, environment, safety and freedom are the issues that matter to the youth
12th April 2019, 02:12 Hrs
It’s high time. The election season is here, and while we have been having the same politicians for quite a long time, the electorate is changing with large number of young first time voters being added to the list.
Around 8.4 crore young voters will be voting for the first time in 2019, and it would certainly be worthwhile to know what are their priorities and expectations from the government, regardless of which party comes to power. TG Life spoke to some young voters to find that they believe employment, infrastructure and environment are the issues to which the government should give top priority.
“Employment is one of the key issues of the day, and I think the government should focus on increasing job opportunities,” says Advait Dhopeshwarkar, a student from Ponda who is currently studying at IIT Chennai. “In order to achieve the job target, it is important to bring in foreign direct investment, and improve labour laws. India needs to make some serious improvement to its labour laws, which then will help speed up growth of industry,” says Dhopeshwarkar.
Nehal Chari, an artist from Dabolim also concurs that job-creation is indeed need of the hour today, but there are other pressing issues as well. “The government certainly needs to look into job creation today. Secondly, environment is another pressing concern, and we need stringent laws in place to protect environment. Goa has been battling for a long time with problems such as illegal constructions, felling of trees, and increasing pollution. Along with better policing when it comes to environmental issues, the Central government must also look into making industries such as mining and tourism sustainable,” he says. Chari further underlines that the government set to come to power in 2019 should work on resolving issues about long-term sustainability of livelihoods in rural and ecologically sensitive parts of the country.
Along with ecology, social environment too is an point of concern for people across all levels of the society. Linford Fernandes from Carmona avers that the country today needs and inclusive government. “In the recent years, India has seen people being divided on lines of religion and caste, and rise of leaders with fascist attitude. I would want a government which is inclusive and reinforces the secular fabric of the country. I would welcome removal of special provisions for a certain community if there is guarantee that all communities are treated equally, but the point is that everyone should be safe and free,” says Linford.
While stating that social and political sphere is heating up today like never before, Pranav Desai, an engineer from Ponda who now works in Pune also bats for less political interference in society. “Apart from sharpening of religious and caste faultlines, the influence of political parties in general is also growing on various media houses, and the new government set to take power in 2019 should work to ensure freedom of press,” he adds. Pranav also expresses hope that the recently passed order that allows the government to track mobile data of the citizens is not misused by the authorities, and suggest that the government should tread carefully when it comes to an individual citizen’s privacy.
Krishna Palyekar from Ponda highlights a different aspect of political situation today. “Along with creating jobs and opportunities for the youth, the government and political leaders should work to cultivate a healthy political environment and encourage educated youth to come into politics.” says Krishna, underlining that the quality of India’s political discourse needs to improve.
Brian Fernandes, a young engineer from Ribandar, avers that education also needs an overhaul. “Our education allows specialization in certain subjects only after class 10. Not only that, students of diploma in computer and electronics study chemistry in first semester. What’s the need for chemistry in computers?,” asks Fernandes, adding, “I feel that students should be allowed to choose subjects of their liking in high school itself. That way we would be able to identify talent quicker, and it would also help the industry in the long run.”
543 Seats at stake in the lower house of India’s parliament
272 Seats any party needs, outright or by coalition, to form a government and choose India’s next prime minister
2,293 Political parties, national and local, contesting elections
8,000+ Candidates running for Indian
1 million polling stations set up across India
11 million government employees deployed to oversee voting
3.9 million Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in use
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