2012 ended, and so did all the jokes about the end of the world. The start to 2013 has been not as frenetic as the end of 2012 and this period has given us an opportunity for many to reflect on the year that was and their hopes and aspirations for the year ahead. We had asked some of our Campus Ambassadors to pen their thoughts on what they wanted to see in 2013 and this is what they had to say…
Campus Ambassador, St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi
The year 2013, started amidst protests and a call for change not only in government policies but also in our society. Last few days of 2012 were a reflection of the outlook and expectations of the youth. The views of nearly all sections of society were laid on table, asking for a need of greater public participation in governance.
Though I do not completely agree with the idea of blanket protests, but I do think that our generation and the coming ones need to have a greater involvement in policy evolution and have a sense of collective responsibility towards fellow citizens. Concrete actions have to follow this gesture of anger towards system and a reformation in collective thinking of the society. Disagreement has to take the form of change in our mindsets, actions and our reactions. Voting is one such an action; that entitles us to have a say in the future of our country directly, and it can be effective only by electing policy makers, reformists and conscientious members of our society in the government.
I being a science student would like to draw the attention of political community and encourage all to give a thought to topics such as exploitation of natural resources and environmental conservation. We at Swaniti can aim to understand the Environment, Natural Resource, and Mining related policies in our country and try to suggest improvements in context of growing economy and corporate culture. As Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Forest and Environment Minister rightly points out “There is a need to integrate environmental concerns including those related to forestry, wildlife and biodiversity into the mainstream of corporate policy.” The growth of technology and communication can help in achieving inclusion of all stake holders which will in effect help to provide relevant and necessary data to decision makers resulting in development and implementation of effective national policies and laws. Private sector companies directly working with natural resources should require having independent agencies advising and helping them to adopt environmental friendly policies, government can also give incentives to such companies. It is also needed to institutionalise techniques of environmental assessment and greater accountability from concerned governmental departments in undertaking required changes in fixed amount of time.
Access to clean drinking water should be the issue of utmost importance, to be addressed by the local authorities as soon and as effectively as possible. In the 21st century, it is shameful that still a large number of people in India suffer due to diseases causes by contaminated water.
Thus, would like to conclude by saying that effective and optimal use of Science and Technology could help in dealing with a lot of day to day problems and achieve sustainable growth.
Campus Ambassador, Jadavpur University, Kolkata
The last year may very well be described to be a year of failed promises, ending on a grief-stricken note. As a repercussion, the Youth of India, at the very onset of this New Year is faced with a lot of disillusionment and a sense of seeping disappointment. While the Mayan prophecy of doom has been consigned to the dustbin of time yet myriads of socio-politico-economic issues continue to plague our country in the year 2013.
Last year signified rampant protests from various quarters of the Indian society and has also shown the power of the people in spearheading those upsurges without any specific demagogues. While Hazare’s demand of a Lokpal Bill to root out corruption could not materialize, it created scepticism and lack of faith in the governmental structure. With the Parliament remaining stalled perennially over the issues of corruption, foreign direct investment (FDI), quota bills- all of these reiterated the need for radical changes in the system. The spontaneous manifestation of angst in the wake of the heinous Delhi rape case challenged the ills the patriarchy and called for greater sensitivity and accountability from the government and public at large. 2013 surely requires restructuring and strengthening of the judiciary and framing new set of laws that would deal with rape and other crimes effectively and dole out severe and immediate punishment, according to the degree of the offence.
Again the recent uproar regarding the FDI in several states has highlighted the problems of parochial party interests, shaky coalitions, gaps in the federal structure and fractions in the existing equations – all at the cost of economic development. A peaceful consensus has to be reached, keeping in mind the actual recipients of the service, the people of the nation. A financial rethink is also strongly desired by the youth in 2013 since today, the price of everything appears to be skyrocketing. There are strong anti government feelings since an average man is spending a lot more money on just bare minimums than what he did earlier.
Given the fissures in both the Congress led alliance as well as in the ranks of the BJP along with rise of the regional powers like never before, 2013 will be a crucial year for the political game-changers to reshuffle their cards for the final time before the General Elections of 2014. Whoever comes in power, expectations would of course be manifolds as some vital remoulding of the system is immediately desired.
So 2013 is of immense importance to me as a youth and part of the system. It is going to be the year of greater involvement of the youth in the country’s public policy and governance. As a regime rife with corruption and ineptness it will try its best to exert a greater influence on the country’s youth. We shall thus have a greater say in the policy making process and developmental agenda and do our bit to ensure a better INDIA for all of us.
Campus Ambassador, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata
It was widely reported that 2012 spelt ‘doom’ for the entire world. The world sure did not end. But to be fair, can we really speak of the events around the world without feeling a certain sense of doom? With all the turmoil engulfing the world, rise and fall of regimes, protest movements, riots, the year of 2012 has probably seen it all. No one seems to be safe; from the myriad fisherman, to the diplomat, to the lone woman travelling the city streets. Is this a changing world and the turbulence giving way to a more peace loving and understanding, accepting society; or is it a turn for the worse, forever willing us to look behind our back, never feeling safe or secure?
I contemplate on this, as I finish a major leg of my education, that is, graduation, and venture out into the ‘real’ world. They call us, the Class of 2013… At this point of time, I should be looking forward to a year of prosperity, hard work and toil, personal successes, chasing dreams, and yet, I cannot shake the feeling of ill ease in me. A lot of issues plague our country as we are already aware, like for example corruption, lack of initiative, internal scrambles for power, dirty politics and the like. The issue which has finally come to the forefront with the coming of the new year is women, after an incident which has probably shamed us as Indians, that is, the Delhi rape case. It is about time we had our rude awakening to what our society has become. But it has also made me question the law, as well as safety and security of individuals in our country. Are we progressing or regressing?
However, it has made me more determined than ever to not meekly step back but rather be more assertive and bold in my opinions, actions and beliefs. As an individual, I hope 2013 to be a major turning point in my life where I can start to work professionally in an arena that helps bring about peace in the world and resolve conflicts. As a woman, I decide not to bow down and meeky follow rules and regulations in the form of societal norms as well as the “do’s and dont’s” drawn up for the safety of women, which I find as just another form of oppression, but rather challenge the people to change their mindset, wherein the victim is less victimized and the guilty more punished. For the society, I believe in me, in us, in the educated and aware youth of our nation, who can put aside the want of splendor and a good life and work towards a more honest, laborious, equitable, peace-loving India.