NEW DELHI—Expressing serious concern over youths in large numbers renouncing their Indian citizenship in recent years, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), a leading Muslim organization of Indian Muslims, has said that more than nine lakh Indians have given up their Indian citizenship since 2014, and more than six lakhs in the last five years.
These comments were made at a press conference organized by the JIH at its headquarters here today.
“Is the data not a reflection that even after 75 years since we gained our independence from the British, we have been unable to build a country that is strong and stable enough for Indians to return and settle back after their professional or business stints abroad?”, said JIH national vice-president Prof. Mohammed Salim Engineer while addressing media persons. JIH vice-president Syed Ameenul Hasan and national secretary Mohammed Ahmed were also present at the press conference.
He said, “Youths are assets of the nation. They are educated, technologically skilled, and highly competent and yet, they are leaving India. This is a matter of great concern.”
“The increased number of Indians becoming citizens of other countries since 2014, also shows the lack of confidence in them the future of their children and the direction of the nation in terms of securing basic rights for all its citizens and upholding certain principles for governing the country,” Prof Salim pointed out.
In response to a question on Uniform Civil Code (UCC), JIH vice-president S Ameenul Hasan said, “Why should there be UCC only? Why not a uniform housing policy and uniform income policy so that no one slept on footpaths and no one went without food? The government should provide at least one house to every family and provide a job to each family head so that everyone can live a life with respect.” He said that the government, however, did not seem to be serious about this and was raising only emotional issues to side-track the real issues.
Democracy under crisis in India
Stating that democracy in India under the existing political dispensation was facing a serious crisis, Prof. Salim expressed great concern at the steady deterioration among the political class in upholding values of probity and integrity in public life.
“It has led to the rise of power politics (acquisition and retention of political power at all costs) and the misuse of state agencies and state institutions for vested interests, ultimately weakening democracy,” he pointed out.
“In Parliament, we observe that laws are enacted in haste without proper debate and discussion. Voices of criticism are subdued and important issues are not taken up,” the JIH leader remarked.
“In a healthy democracy, the administration, the police, the bureaucracy, and various state agencies and institutions are autonomous and they are not supposed to act in a partisan manner,” he said, adding “if they(agencies) start working at the behest and the diktats of the ruling party and its ideological mentors, then this is a violation of the Constitution and a subversion of democracy.”
Prof Salim said that independent pillars of the State should not become a tool for the political agenda of the government. “The police and administration must be unbiased and act without fear or favour. In any democracy, the welfare of the people and delivering justice should be the only priority of the government,” the JIH leader philosophized.
He also expressed concern over the suppression of media known as the fourth pillar of democracy. “Some media houses are functioning as spokespersons of the party in power and the government. The media houses that raise real issues facing the nation and criticize the government policies are being suppressed,” Prof. Salim observed.
JIH leaders also voiced concern over the implementation of the schemes under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Generation Act (MGNREGA). They said that the annual budget for 2022-23 had been cut from Rs. 98000 crores in the previous year to Rs. 73,000 crores during the current financial year, indicating a drop of about 25 percent in budgetary allocations. If the government cannot deliver efficiently over MGNREGA, then its commitment to the poor and the underprivileged will always remain a question mark.
Expressing concern over the rise in prices owing to recent changes in GST, the JIH leader said that 5% GST on pre-packaged food items like pulses, rice, wheat, flour or atta, paneer, curd, etc. would fuel the already high retail inflation and break the back of the poor.
“The government is saying the ‘rampant misuse’ had prompted the move. This shows the insensitivity of the government towards the needs and concerns of its citizens. Branded products have a 10% share in the packaged food market, while unbranded products-packaged, as well as non-packaged, possess a 90% share. So, it appears that in a bid to create a level-playing field in the packaged food market, the government is trying to help the corporate sector by punishing the poor and the middle class,” Prof. Salim pointed out.