What Mr Modi can do to make life better for Indians

Published: October 2, 2016

Modi should stop thinking of his country as a superpower, like the US. PHOTO: REUTERS

After the recent attack on the Uri military base, Mr Modi said that Pakistan and India should focus on the development of their own people. So I thought about what India could do to improve the lot of its citizens.

Even after almost 70 years as an independent country, India is still an undeveloped nation. Estimates vary, but it can safely be assumed that at least 40% of Indians go to bed hungry every night.  That’s about half a billion people who need a dollar a day to survive, which translates into roughly $180 billion per year. This is something that should seriously worry the Indian government.

So why does India have to spend over $50 billion on its defence, considering that it is a nuclear power and no country would dare invade it? And why should it give a billion dollars every year to Afghanistan, unless it is to destabilise Pakistan?

Of course, we always knew this and it has been proved by Afghanistan virtually declaring itself a colony of India by refusing to attend the forthcoming SAARC summit. If India’s aim is to help the poor and hungry, why not do it in India itself? As they say, “charity begins at home.”

But what should worry the Indian prime minister the most is the lack of toilet training amongst most Indians – 720 million of whom don’t or can’t use toilets. According to foreigners, a stinking smell assails their nostrils whenever they step out of airplanes into any Indian city, particularly Mumbai. They call it “Bombay perfume.” It seems that most Indians don’t have toilets in their homes. In fact when the government gave them free commodes, they refused to use them, preferring to relieve themselves in the wide open spaces where they could empty their bowels and at the same time think deeply on what can be done to improve their lifestyles.

In fact, Mr Modi would be interested to know that an entire apartment complex was built without any toilets recently. All passengers would certainly be shocked if any Indian suddenly squatted in the aisle of an airplane and did what should be done in the bathroom!

So what should Mr Modi do to make life easier for Indians?

First of all, he should stop thinking of his country as a superpower, like the US. Secondly, he should reduce defence spending considerably – most of it goes into buying junk equipment and increasing the wealth of corrupt Indians anyway. He should go all out to provide food for those Indians who do not earn enough to feed themselves.

And finally, he should make sure that every Indian house has a toilet. In fact, that should be his top priority, as it will make people of other countries feel better when visiting India or interacting with Indians.

Shakir Lakhani

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (twitter.com/shakirlakhani)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Rohan

    Aww another hater comes with the toilet nonsense when his terrorist country is attacked, mind you Pakistans toilet is even worse let alone its jihad problem and we get 50 times more tourists than you, tourists not terrorists Recommend

  • pk

    I think all those are local Madrasa statistics where only hate is preached. In 1971 India was 90% poor, but still we managed to dismember Bangladesh . Now we are only 40% poor (madrasa statistics).Let us dismember Baluchistan.Recommend

  • Simla

    What a childish rant, understandable if it came from a kid but from an adult this is just laughable. I pity author’s cognitive capabilities.Recommend

  • Reddy

    dude calls himself mentally unbalanced giving free sermons to india…it wud be unwise of me even try to lament the facts put up here as it wud mean stooping to his level,which is an eternal free fall…since you chose mumbai,let me put out some facts..mumbai city’s GDP exceeds that of entire pakistan,so forget about ROI,ur entire country competing with one city in india,country with 1.3 bill ppl was able to eradicate polio which this mentally unbalanced guy’s country yet to do…i can go on but for a country that is competing with one city in india this is enoughRecommend

  • ajay gupta

    karachi is the dirtiest city in the world. heard of pot calling the kettle black?Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    The truth about India really hurts Hindutva and Modi supporters like you, doesn’t it?Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    You really are so stupid as to believe there were attacks on so-called non-existent terrorist launch pads! The real attacks are by the 700,000 strong Indian Army on Kashmiri Muslims, 90,000 of whom have been killed and countless injured/raped since 1989.Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    It might interest you to know that I was born in India, where almost everyone is “mentally unbalanced”!Recommend

  • Hindustani

    How many satellites launched by Pakistan? How many Pakistani universities can compete with IITs or IIMs? what is the % of budget spent by Pakistan and India will tell the real expenditure done by both countries. Article would have become more credible had it taken data from same third party source and compared both India and Pakistan be it sanitation? defense expenditure? or any other parameter. Living in denial does not help but facing the problem help to solve it. At least in India retired army officers do not run sugar factories or cement factories or are multi millionaires like many Pakistani retired army officers are?Recommend

  • Jeff

    I disagree I have visited both, cow do not graze in major city. How can you let cow wonder in cities? lol. Nice try on curtailing your nationalistic sentiments. lolRecommend

  • Jeff

    But for such rich country, you sure are poor.Recommend

  • Jeff

    Interesting, so the Pakistan must be getting on India’s nerve daily? If anyone was scared of Modi they wouldn’t have black money to begin with neither would government allow black money to poor in. It’s defense of economic failure.Recommend

  • Shyam bhagat

    Pakistan is one of last nation in Asia in Global Competitive Index and Education standards even below Bhutan…. Having Highest Electricity Prices and load shedding… Patrol is available at very high rate…. 80% Income is coming from Indirect Taxes… Foreign Remittences are decreasing.. Not affordable to run any business… Your businesses are taking over by Chinese commodities… Cotton Industry is good example… Worst Medical conditions where Hospitals are for treating humans like animals…. Your Farmers are facing Problems… 20 Crore people having your two dams… Unique country which Exports are on downfall… Imports are more than double than your Exports… Soon to be Bankrupt if you don’t solve your internal problems… Your monitory institutions like PAC and NAB are facing corruption charges on itself…. Some year ago there was a situation when there is not Patrol left in Pakistan… Military cannot afford to buy 8 F16 which are comparatively cheaper and you are bidding to buy Russian SU35 whose maintenance is also costly… Your prime donors like US and China are practical countries… They will never invest in you if they don’t have there interest… CPEC is only for China to sell their Products to you… They are investing in your infrastructure not in your industries where they need talents to survive… There are no University in Pakistan having International Standards… It is hard to read these facts but India or Modi is not your Enemy… Your biggest enemy is your Politicians who are looting 35% and remaining 50% is your defence budget… Without removing Extremist like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hakkani Network who is going come and invest in your country… Pakistan is not isolated by India but its own mentality…Recommend

  • khan

    One of my friend went there..this toilet thing is such a mess man..those ppl dont have any civic sense. I would say countries like somalia and ghana are far better than indians in civic sense.Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    Article full of flaws , assumptions and prejudices.
    First Assumption that 40% of Indians have less than 1$ a day. While World bank data says that in India poverty has reduced drastically. As per data of 2012 21.9% people were living below 1.25$. Its fair to assume at present it is less than 15% for 1.25$.
    And second for 1$ it must be even less than 10%.
    Then author assumed that all those who live below international poverty line go to bed hungry. Cost of living and food is quite less in India. Above that there are many schemes and subsidies with which people can be comfortably eat and survive. Some states give one kg rice for 2 Rs. some are offering full diet plate for less than 10 Rs (Rice, Chapati , Dal … ) and then above these are social and religious institutes which serve subsidized food.
    Again 40% people sleeping without food, is huge deliberate lie to start Article with.Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    You havent heard there is a hidden kid in every adult, This is that !!!Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    Truth ? Please enlighten us from where you got figure of 40% below 1$ ??? And how you assumed that earning 1$ means that one sleeps hungry ?Recommend

  • Akbar

    Many Indians who are reading this will be outraged. And they should be. They should be outraged by how deeply they are being brainwashed by their fascist government.Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    If you born and live in India, then we accept. You know how to make money from ‘kabaad’ and ‘jugaad’. No doubt that you sold kabaad to Pakistanis and they are happy too ! This sounds like good businessman.Recommend

  • Jindal

    Well if you think Mr Modi by shooting yourself things will improve then please don’t wait. Just do it.Recommend

  • Mir Sahab

    they are not taken by the Pakistan Agency they just flew in the asylum and then they say that they are being taken by Pakistan Agency. Such a lame comment Sir :PRecommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    Why don’t you tell Modi to allow international human rights organization to go to Kashmir & find out the truth? It seems you want so many Kashmiri Muslims to be killed that they will become a minority in their own country!Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    Modi got elected only because he arranged the mass murder of Muslims in Gujarat, and he knows his virulent anti-Pakistan/anti-Muslim stance will get him re-elected in 2019.Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    Actually, I took a lower figure. To find out that 77% of Indians live below the poverty level, please visit http://www.hinduonnet.com/2007/08/15/stories/2007081554611300.htmRecommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    77% of Indians live below the poverty level, please visit http://www.hinduonnet.com/2007/08/15/stories/2007081554611300.htmRecommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    To find out that 77% of Indians live below the poverty level, please visit http://www.hinduonnet.com/2007/08/15/stories/2007081554611300.htmRecommend

  • abhi

    you are referring to a story published 7 years ago and that too doesn’t say what you are trying to imply.Recommend

  • Original_Concard

    You are right. So what?Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    To find out that 77% of Indians live below the poverty level, please visit http://www.hinduonnet.com/2007Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    I don’t live in India, because (a) as a Muslim, I want to die a natural death and (b) most houses in India don’t have bathrooms!Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    Sure it’s a rich country, 17,000 farmers killing themselves every year!Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    The article was written by Mani Shanker Aiyer, a minister (he was also once the Indian Consul General in Karachi).Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    The “crowd of 2000″ was protesting against the killing of their men and raping of their women by the Indian occupation army. They are actually freedom fighters trying to liberate their land from illegal occupants.Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    77% of Indians live below the poverty level, please visit http://www.hinduonnet.com/2007Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    1 It was article of individual, not as minister 2 Data was not of 2007 Govt Data, 3 Article relied on report of was based on third person .4 That Report was based on data collected starting from 1993.Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    Again, it seems you assumed. I guess you wanted to say toilets.
    While I can ‘safely’ assume in what kind of area you might have been living before you left. If situation was such crucial in your neighborhood that it was question of dying of unnatural death. Every city has such areas, You took right decision Sir.
    You had other options too to shift into area like Adnan sami did he moved from one of most Developed country to India’s good area.Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    I did visit, that report was of 2007, based on data from 1993. Official data of worldbank of 2012 says less than 22% lives on 1.9$ . as of 2016 As India is growing faster than many countries , poverty is between 12-17%. And Above that State and central govt are running schemes for poor people so they can have free or highly subsidized food, a full meal for less than 20 cents. Unemployment stipend. Pension to old people, Free medicine, free education, assistance to woman, free or subsidized electricity to few poor sectors like farming, weaving, 25kg wheat at Rs 3 per kg.
    40% sleeping without food is totally baseless ‘self pleasuring’ statement.Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    About farmer suicide. You took upper figure from worst year. Suicide is different phenomenon. Farmer who have huge land are suicide because crops get destroyed by flood, drought or insects. Govt even announce loan weaver of billions and above that even compensate them. This situation is climate hit areas mainly in Maharashtra and Karnataka. If you see statistics then you will know that 94% , reason is not related to poverty.Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    To find out how poor India is, please visit http://borgenproject.org/10-facts-poverty-india/Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    To know just how poor India really is, please visit http://borgenproject.org/10-facts-poverty-india/Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    Haven’t you forgotten M. F. Hussain, who was compelled to live in Qatar?Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    As I said, to find out how poor India is, please visit http://borgenproject.org/10-facts-poverty-india/Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    Want to know how poor India really is?Please visit http://borgenproject.org/10-facts-poverty-india/Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    It will come as a shock to a brainwashed person like you, but please visit http://borgenproject.org/10-facts-poverty-india/.
    You will find out how poor India really is.Recommend

  • Babulal

    Author, please have a look here to understand the plight some of your Pakis are going through. Help them instead of pointing fingers at India. We can take care of ourselves :)
    http://labs.tribune.com.pk/inside-machar-colony/Recommend

  • abhi

    So you think nothing is changed in last 7 years? May be in Pakistan where you live. Alos you are quoting an article written not by any economist but by a party flag bearer who wants to advocate a particular style of governance. You should be able to differentiate between propaganda and facts. Or is it too much expectation?Recommend

  • LS

    Why don;t you tell your sharis to allow international human rights organization to go all over pakistan to find the truth of your fake concern for Kashmiri? While you yourselves are killing the same Kashmiri in AJK/GB and converting them, settling Punjabi and ex soldiers.. Why was Pakistan removed from human rights commission by UN? Because of your pathetic human rights record. India is still in that group.. you are not.. your selective pain for human rights not withstanding.. develop some spine first.Recommend