India’s most populated and politically significant state, Uttar Pradesh, will go to polls on Saturday in the first of a seven-phased election to elect a new 403-member assembly. While most parties are busy promising freebies like mobile phones and laptops to woo voters, the state according to its citizens faces some real governance challenges.
People don’t want freebies, they’d rather have better law/order, healthcare services and reduced corruption, according to a survey conducted by citizen engagement platform LocalCircles, which had a participation of more than 20,000 citizens.
Around 82 per cent of the citizens are concerned about their safety. In a related poll, 48 per cent citizens said that the incoming government should enable transparent and accountable police-citizen connectivity and governance.
People have also pointed out police and property registration to be the two key areas with the highest amount of corruption. Therefore, they questioned the plan that political parties vying for their votes have for reducing and removing corruption in their areas.
Public healthcare infrastructure is falling apart in the state with 72 per cent citizens rating it as poor. There have been numerous scams in healthcare in the past and 55 per cent citizens want the incoming government to improve the healthcare infrastructure and services in the government hospitals.
To reduce corruption in the state, 39 per cent of the citizens who responded wanted the government to move all citizen-government transactions online and make them cashless. This is one important reform that politicians rarely mention in their speeches.
The people also also want corruption redressal systems like Lok Ayukta to be strengthened in the state.
While 58 per cent see an improvement in infrastructure in the last five years, am ajority wanted more investment in improving the road infrastructure by the government. Ninety-one per cent citizens see no or very less job opportunities in the state.
Due to high corruption and less ease in doing business, more than 73 per cent citizens want the incoming government to cut red tapism and reduce corruption.