February 1, 2013 by vishfulthinking
Communal to Secular India by Political Design or Demographic Demand?
Twenty one hundred crore project to build eight cluster cities on the periphery to decongest Bangalore by 2030, has just been conceived on paper by the Karnataka State govt.
By 2030, predictions are that Bangalore would have ballooned in population from 10 million to about 18 million people, which is roughly the current population of Mumbai city.
On paper, this proposed project is a model of great foresight to create new semi-urban centers that will take the burden off the major metropolitan cities across India and in this case, Bangalore. It also transforms in to new avenues that brings in more people to the middle class by creating new jobs in these planned eight cluster cities to be constructed from what is now semi-rural extremities of greater Bangalore.
Having said this, in the next 18 years will Karnataka have stable successive governments? With Flyovers and Metro Train infrastructure deadlines hardly ever met, can roughly 3 to 4 successive Karnataka governments pull this project off, neatly? Or, is this largely prompted by the approaching State assembly elections? In other words, a political gimmick and not a carefully structured plan!
Whether it’s a result of a transient political demand or a detailed plan for a better structured demographic design. The plan that’s now on paper is presented to the media and promises are now in public domain. These developments, one out of many in India suggests, that the Indian vote bank politics, more specifically the urban Indian vote bank politics has decisively transformed a large part of its landscape (although, with minor hiccups like the ban on movies that allegedly bring religion or certain sections of the society to the forefront in a ‘bad light’) from just promising economic welfare through communal and religious bias to promising overall welfare through ‘secular’ infrastructural projects. A much needed change in today’s India, which is on the road to hopefully greater transformations in the near future.
The soft power of the growing urban Indian middle class will overwhelmingly influence and dictate the Indian politics, to act effectively on the harsh realities of the infrastructural bottlenecks created by its own population explosion, that will in turn, generate new urban centers and new middle class.This nascent but a very real, positive feedback cycle of better governance is already set in motion. More power to cities, education, jobs and unwanted-unplanned Indian population explosion!