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Bharat@100: A Citizen Charter

Author: Yuvraj Pokharna
Publication: Organiser.org
Date: August 23, 2022
URL:      https://organiser.org/2022/08/23/92079/bharat/bharat100-a-citizen-charter/

To become a Developed country in true sense, there should be a change in the mindset of its citizens. It is of paramount importance that we should focus more on duties and responsibilities rather than rights

This Independence Day, unlike the others hitherto, has discerned and etched itself a date worth a place in the history of Bharat. Not merely for the fact that we have completed 75 years of freedom from the clutches of the British colonial power and entered the third quarter; not merely for the fact that PM Narendra Modi has kindled nationalism and rightfully so, united the populace of the country under the guise of the mega colossal and propitious campaign called Har Ghar Tiranga which culminated into an unprecedented mass movement. But because we, the people of Bharat have reawakened and reinvigorated our innate propensity for democratic, socialistic, patriotic, plural, tolerant and assimilative, in toto, we have realised our truly Dharmic nature as a society. India, that is Bharat, is celebrating the 75th Independence Day with nationalistic fervor and zeal, dubbed as Har Ghar Tiranga which is only one —perhaps, palpably conspicuous —element of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. And he has declared—anthropomorphising the confidence that typifies New India—that we have entered the Amrit Kaal, the elixir age.

The Prime Minister’s speech hit all the right notes. He advocated a participatory approach — panch-pran, or a five-point pledge — to bring his vision of Viksit Bharat (developed India) to fruition; the five points being: committing to unfettered and towering resolves and a developed Bharat; decolonisation of Bharatiya minds, purging all traces of servitude; taking pride and conceit in our glorious legacy and heritage; and advocating unity and solidarity. Interestingly and quite so, the fifth ‘pledge’ is to fulfil one’s responsibilities as a citizen. In the past too, the Prime Minister has used the concept of collective consciousness as a tool for citizen engagement and public policy, such as during the 2016 ‘Give it Up’ campaign.

What ought to be the duties and responsibilities of a citizen? What makes one an ideal citizen? One ponders upon this when the Prime Minister Modi—of the second largest populated and youngest nation on the planet—calls “India the mother of democracy” in his Independence Day speech and simultaneously propounds the citizens to be responsible and dutiful, and that includes the ilk of the honorary legislatives, especially the Chief Ministers and the Prime Minister. The ulterior message is to invoke citizen engagement and participation that could buttress the administration, culminating in the completion of a desired task.

Let’s draft a citizen charter for the next 25 years, i.e., India@100, laying bare some basic civic duties that, if obliged and conformed to by every Indian at individual levels, will certainly make Bharat a Vishwa Guru.

1. Sagacious Use of Energy: This includes a judicious use of energy that not only can reduce energy waste but also add to the energy conservation drives going across the nation. Switching lights, fans, and etc when not in use is one basic thing that can be done at all levels.

2. Recycle and Reuse: Recycling is one among many things that saw a steep rise and profuse public involvement in the last few years. Now that a product is recycled, ensure it is reused. Littering in public spaces not only aggravates the aesthetics but also the environmental damages are tangential in the long run. In fact, the waste segregation at the source level is one good stratagem that is being followed by the administration at different rungs.

3. Follow Traffic Rules: According to government data, states and Union Territories (UTs) reported a total of 3,66,138 road accidents during the calendar year 2020, claiming 1,31,714 lives and injuring 3,48,279 people. In 2020, 1,16,496 (31.8 per cent) of the total 3,66,138 road accidents reported in the country occurred on National Highways (NH), including expressways; 90,755 (24.8 per cent) on State Highways (SH); and 1,58,887 (43.4 per cent) on other roads. Can we not preclude these mishaps and save thousands of causalities and fatalities?

4. Avoid Single Use Plastic: Avoiding the use of single-use plastic, especially plastic bags, has been a matter of national altercation and deliberation for a decade now. Alternately, we can endorse self-help groups (SHGs) or similar organisations to augment the production of ecofriendly products. In a way, it also contributes to the clarion call of Aatmanirbhar Bharat (selfreliant India) by the PM.

5. Educate a Child: Educating one’s own progeny is one step towards nation building. But if and when possible, one should also look into providing handouts to those promising talents who seem to live in a state of paucity with access to scarce or no resources. In a way, this is another step towards creating a stronger society and, thereby, a stronger nation.

6. Personal Hygiene: As they say, “charity begins at home”. One should follow a neat and disciplined personal hygiene for a healthy and hygienic body culminates into a healthy society. Successful people understand the value of self-care, whether it is through diet, exercise, or personal hygiene.

7. Plant a Tree: Not only Bharat, but the world is grappling with the horrors of the environmental damage that has been done. Be it air pollution, noise pollution, water pollution, land pollution, or global warming. An ideal citizen can pledge to plant a tree, if not trees, in his home or locality. That’s the bare minimum one can do.

8. Public Service Hours: A quintessential citizen can earmark a certain number of hours, let’s say 100 hours, for instance, of his time to serve society and thereby his nation. He can indulge in public awareness drives and activities like cleanliness, etc. He can voluntarily offer his services to the local administration via any NGO or SHG.

9. Give Priority to Senior Citizens and Women with Children: Not being pollyannaish with aspirations of attaining utopia, a right society ought to be just with the weakest and the last man in the social hierarchy. As a righteous citizen, one should give priority to senior citizens and women with children in public spaces.

10. Embrace the Divyang-jan: Albeit, previously called the handicapped, i.e., the physically or mentally disabled, they are now treated with the utmost respect and are rightly called specially abled individuals.

As an individual who strives to elevate his motherland in terms of societal values and various social indices, one should ruminate as to how to involve, engage, and embrace this class of specially abled citizens and exalt them from the state of commiseration to a state of self-reliance. Shri Banchhanidhi Pani, the Municipal Commissioner, Surat, says, “The state machinery has certain duties and roles, but in the dearth of citizen engagement and participation, no transformation or development is certain. If the citizens are to abide by a moral code of responsibility, I have an unfettered conviction that no power can impede the destiny of Bharat to be a Vishvaguru.”
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