Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Shrinking middle classes and its impact & a call for free and fair election

Essentially Upper elite class and lower class make up human society. Middle class contribution is the doorway to robust economy and they are the source of economic growth. Strong middle class provides a stable consumer base that drivesproductive investment. A key player and a major factor in encouraging other national and societal conditions that bring higher economic growth.
A robust middle class plays a crucial role for successful economy and cohesive society. They sustain consumption, drives much of the investment in education, healthand housing and plays a vital role in supporting social protection system through their tax contribution. They create a stable source of demand for goods and services and incubates the next generation of entrepreneurs. It also supports inclusive political and economic institutions underpinning economic growth.
Today, the middle class is almost on the verge of extinction and this is one reason for having less economic growth and thus a vacuum is created. The lower class begins to suffer due to the decline in the percentage of middle class in our state. We now seem tohave only the upper and lower class. Corruption has hampered the growth and prosperity level of the middle class and the escalating cost of education, health care and housing has only added to their ever growing miseries and Covid pandemic is another factor that further contributed to the deteriorating condition of the middle class.
We are aware of the fact that disposal income for them have not yet been moved
or grown a bit while income for the elite upper class are hitting astronomical increase. It stands stagnant today. India’s middle class is recorded to have shrunk by 32 million in2020 as a consequence of the downturn, compared with the number it may have reached had there been no pandemic.
It is important to understand that a strong and sustainable economy of the state needs a strong middle class. It is a shame that they have not been allowed to grow. As a result of increasing income inequality they have begun to shrink. Some household have fallen into poverty, others to affluence. Large section of the population depends on the middle class for survival and in the absence of them the poor have become poorer and rich got richer. A stagnant middle class or absence of strong middle class means a weak state economy.
Nagaland is in danger of falling into a vacuum trap where lower class cannot make it to a bare minimum of survival as the middle class shrinks. The disparity is by any measure set to get wider between the rich and the poor.
I agree with one article which states “while a wealth tax may not be the best solution, an effective income distribution system need to be implemented to support the shrinking middle class group. Greater emphasis on manufacturing, advance farming techniques and ease of doing “small and micro” business which directly employs a large percent of total population will help in growth revival”.
As many intellect says, beyond the political aspect, it is well established that economic growth is stronger in any countries or state that has a strong middle class. The shrinkage of middle class is worrisome, according to some eminent scholars who hold the opinion that among the middle class households there is now a growing discontent with the economic conditions. In this context, the stagnation of the middle class living standards has resulted in the emergence of new forms of nationalism, isolationism, populism, protectionism and anti- government sentiments. It is likely to produce disillusionment and damage political engagement or turns voters towards anti —establishment and protectionist policies as observed by various political scholars. Political instability is an important channel through which the squeezed middle class may upset economic investment and growth according to 2019 OECD book titled “ under pressure: squeezed middle class”.
Middle class may have been squeezed to grow as economically strong middle class is more likely to hold a government accountable which would in turn ensure the rule of law, protection and property rights and demands continued economic reforms according to socio-political analyst. In the absence of strong middle class in any society there is no challenger to raise concern about government anti-poo, anti-people legislation.
What I am trying to address here is simple. Allow the middle class to grow. There should not be any fear of the middle class rising above the ruling elites. They will only help the state economy to grow and provide jobs in large numbers. For without a strong middle class there is that danger of disconnect with those surviving on a mere single meal a day.
To help the under privileged I strongly advocate that government should encourage upcoming entrepreneurs who are job providers by giving all possible help including bank loans for workable projects.
Adding to what is being said above, I wish to highlight one pressing need the youth of Nagaland so deserves and are longing for. We have a whole lot of national and upcoming political parties in our state. Should we not occupy a space to exhibit our worth? Why not push them up and see a different breed of governance. It is time to givea whole new meaning to state electoral system and governance by trying to occupy space in political arena for visible changes. I would encourage us all to really get directly involved.
I believe leaders can work together to bring drastic change in the system of governance that will benefit the unloved and unreached. Young leaders can do a whole lot of good. Our people need healing, getting their trust is your priority both in words and actions. Reaching out the people with Sincerity, Genuineness, Pro- people attitude, being sensible to their needs and demands can help erase the mistrust on politicians which in turn will cut the trust deficits.
Do believe in something and not to work on it is our drawback. Take the opportunity to spread positive impact of free and fair election. The speed of development in grand scale can only be possible only when elections is held without the power of money. There is really no satisfaction and true happiness in winning through the power of money. What good is a government if it is brought down by another coalition after spending crores of rupees or to sit down as mere MLA?
Essentially, I am trying to reach out to the young generation, young political parties and young voters with a message, that if your representative is elected through money power, I would not hesitate a moment to say expect no development in your respective areas. Expect no jobs as you all have sold yourself. We are committing a big blunder by indulging in the first stage of corruption. When we all call our leaders corrupt we are no less a saint. It is us who sow the seeds of corruption in the first place by selling yourself/ourselves. But this does not mean I am encouraging the elected leaders to go on a rampant corruption spree for recovering the amount spent during the period of electoral process. I am just trying to place before us a mirror to see our own past and present misadventures of buying and selling votes.
I have witnessed many who give free votes. And it is disheartening that those honest individuals are either forgotten or unidentified. In the midst of corruption at all levels, I am comforted by the fact that there still exist God fearing men and women who have never indulged themselves in selling their single but precious votes in exchange of earthly comforts.
Now that I have penned my thoughts on the shrinking middle class and its negative impacts I, would like to sum it by fervently urging the visionary young generation having political ambitions to come together and also the new political parties for concerted effort to arrive at some kind of meeting point to build a new vibrant Nagaland. I am looking forward for some positive response and ch !es o’ the political
Vanthungo Odyuo
President
NCP, Nagaland.

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