Development vs welfare – a tightrope

The recent occurrence on the newly constructed national highway that saw some misfortune caused by incessant rain has put forth an inescapable question in the minds of the people, which is usually same for most of the developmental projects that come up in the region, especially considering the fact that this is just the onset of the monsoon.
Development means improvement in human welfare, quality of life, social wellbeing, satisfying the population’s needs and wants. Yet, on the contrary, the picture here seems otherwise. Rather the question comes up as a tough choice between infrastructural development and public wellbeing. Because it is usually seen, especially in the context of road development, that misfortune succeeds it. A citizen may become apprehensive of impending mishaps at the development sites. Is this where we are headed? The security and safety of the citizens are voluntarily or involuntarily undermined, upto the extent that they may have to be faced with the question above.
The 15th century Itafort by the Chutia kingdom, from where the name ‘Itanagar’ has been derived, is still mostly intact. Or the well-planned and well-constructed drains made of baked bricks in the Indus Valley civilization about 4,700 years back. Should we be taking cues from these now?
Is this the very characteristic of imprudence that the government shows, which is reflected in most of the development metrics of the country – ranked last in the school education quality index (SEQI) by the NITI Aayog, GSDP of the state being merely $3.8B, which is less compared to far smaller state like Sikkim, our state didn’t even feature in the India Innovation Index 2021, and not to forget that we came in the top 10 dirtiest city in the country in Swachh Survekshan, 2020. These are the direct and indirect implications of the poor road connectivity as well as the complacent attitude of the people.
The panacea for this infirmity and deficiency lies more with the people as it does with the government. The blatant attitude of complacency of the netizens with respect to adhering to the laws of the land and selective tolerance of pervasive malpractices has deepened the impunity of the people at the helm. So, we as a significant contributor to the state should be cognizant and responsible towards its welfare along with the government, which should be a norm and not an exception for the state to sustain socio-economically.
As Helen Keller rightfully stated, “Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained”- ‘social justice’ here being ‘social welfare’.
Domin Rina &
Goken Koyu,
Gumin Nagar,