Pramod Acharya 31st Jul 2021
I used to feel proud as a journalist because we are probably the only state in the country where regional channels telecast proceedings of the assembly live and people eagerly watch what happens in the house. It impacts how we perceive our leaders and issues that are passionately debated and intensely discussed.
But off late, despite high viewership, we feel Goans have started seeing the assembly purely for the mundane entertainment value. Why do I feel so?
An assembly session with budget discussion, demand for grants, vote on account and the appropriation bill was completed in three days. Is this not a cruel joke on the people of Goa?
A business of that magnitude would require at least a three-week session, not a three-day farce. Yet our powers that be felt it appropriate to work till 4.30 am, present crucial bills when Goans were asleep and pass them on the same day in complete haste.
We need to understand one crucial fact. Goa Mineral Development Corporation Bill, IPB single-window clearance bill, Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, House Tax regularization bill and other important bills with far-reaching implications on our daily lives were passed within these 3 days. Without discussion or debate.
I will delve into the implications of some of the bills mentioned above in my subsequent columns. Today let us focus upon why our elected representatives feel they can get away with such a frenzied act.
Our outrage these days is limited to superfluous points of matter. We were outraged about the chief minister's statement on 'parenting and law and order' during this session. We are all entitled to have an opinion about an issue we feel is relevant and critical. No problem if we feel enraged by what the CM said. Some will aggressively defend his stance while some will vigorously attack his view.
But why none of us, Facebook and Twitter warriors, felt the need to show similar outbursts about the budget of the state being passed in our assembly without any discussion and by suspending rules of the business of the house?
Why most of us felt that a 3-day assembly session with such substantial business having implications not only for us but probably for our future generations, is acceptable?
Certainly, I do not expect all of us to read the bills and analyse their structure. That is our job as journalists and we shall do it in the coming days. But we cannot accept that learned and opinionated people of this state have no opinion on our assembly session being curtailed with such great hustle in an election year. We cannot digest that most of the erudite crowd in our state is not outraged over the budget of the state being passed without any deliberation. And then comes our super-duper outburst on a statement made by the CM. Can we blame anybody else other than ourselves for our politicians behaving with impeccable impunity?
Each of the bills mentioned above will have a massive impact on our lives. Some of these bills have already attracted controversy. Opposition parties, journalists and legal experts will break down the implications of these bills in the coming days. Hopefully, our keyboard warriors will be up in arms then.
I have absolutely no problem if you are debating Pramod Sawant's statement on a serious crime. But I sure have a problem if you have no opinion whatsoever on your budget being passed in a manner that we witnessed. What has happened to us?
Political parties are in the process of framing their manifestos. A cursory look at their thought process, one would realise that the focus is purely on enticing the voter by offering various freebies and doles. When I ask some of the experienced career politicians why don't they focus on robust policy or progressive reforms, they always tell me - that won't earn you a vote. Have they judged us correctly?
Our selective outrage during this week probably answers this question. Sentimental but not substantive.