Wed, 26 Jun, 2019

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

JAY JOSHI  


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  

parliament 

1 million polling stations set up across India 

11 million government employees deployed to oversee voting 

process 

3.9 million Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in use