As the parliamentary elections are around the corner, rising unemployment and religious nationalism are the two key issues bothering the citizens, revealed a survey conducted by Lokniti–Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and the Azim Premji University.
"Twenty per cent of those surveyed said unemployment was the biggest issue facing India, and 15% said the top government priority should be a remedy to joblessness," said the survey titled ‘Politics and Society Between Elections 2019’, released on Tuesday.
The study that was done in three phases examines citizens’ trust in political institutions, ties across social groups, ease of public service access, citizen-state interfaces and governance, gender roles and relationships, nationalism and political identity, freedom of expression and populism. According to the researchers, they have analysed the views of more than 2,000 people from each state.
Following the unemployment and religious nationalism issues, the second and third issues cited were 'development' (15%) and 'law, governance and corruption' (13%).
In case of trust, people consider Indian National Army as the most trusted institution in India. “The Indian National Army is the most trusted institution in India with effective trust (percent of citizens who trust – percent of citizens who distrust) of 88%. The Judiciary ranks high as well. The Supreme Court, High Court and District courts enjoy over 60% of effective trust. Political parties are least trusted – 55% express effective distrust.”
Elected local governments bring citizens closer to the state – among those surveyed in rural regions 32% would approach a sarpanch, and 15% say they would approach a local political leader to get important work done. Nineteen per cent of the urban residents also note that they would approach the ward councillor followed by government officials (14%) and the MLA (14%). More citizens approach the sarpanch or councillor to get work done over elected representatives to state Assemblies (MLAs) and to the Parliament (MP).
However, 50% prefer to approach a leader from the same caste or religion as themselves. There are differences across states on this preference, but it suggests social and cultural identities are entwined in how a citizen experiences the state and governance.
Another finding in the report is that Indians distrust the “elites”. Sixty per cent of those interviewed for the survey said no minorities and migrants but influential people blocked progress. This sentiment was stronger among the youth. Sixty-one per cent of those below 35 years of age felt that elites are blocking development.
Fifty-one per cent of those above 35 years held the same view, said the report. People also said it was easier to get admission in government schools than getting a water connection.
The report said that even though caste identities were prominent, these were overshadowed by religious identities when it came to religious nationalism.
People in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Assam sought punishment for those who don't say 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' at public functions. But residents of Nagaland, J&K, Kerala, Mizoram, Tripura, Punjab and West Bengal disagreed.
The opinion was almost similar for those who won't get up during the national anthem in public places.
Barring J&K, Nagaland and Mizoram, majority of those surveyed in other nine states sought punishment for beef eaters.
Also read: What Voters Want But Modi Failed to Give: Jobs, Healthcare, Drinking Water