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7 Vitally Important Issues Have Taken A Backseat Because Of A Movie

A fictional queen has taken precedence over unbreathable air, a dysfunctional parliament, Aadhaar deaths and many other pressing matters.

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It started with Sanjay Leela Bhansali getting beaten up during the shooting of Padmavati way back in April. Now that the movie is about to be released, the same people are threatening to cut off Deepika’s nose, some want her beheaded while some are flashing swords on live TV debates while the anchor watches on.

The problem with the focus on this story, of course, is that it is taking attention away from a whole host of other stories that are far more important.

Don't get me wrong. The Padmavati issue is not unimportant. Attacking filmmakers and artists needs to be condemned. The ridiculous statements being made by idiots must be reported so that action is taken against them.

But, at the same time, it’s also important not to be a goldfish; to not get distracted from the important task of holding the Government accountable for various crises that are unfolding across the country.

Here are some national issues other than Padmavati that need to be addressed and given primetime slots:

1. Pollution in north India

Afp Contributor / AFP / Getty Images


US TOO!” — Varanasi

“DON’T SPREAD PANIC! This is not like… uhh… the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, ya know?” — Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan


“Meh. That would be pointless and futile.” — Capt. Amrinder, Punjab CM


2. Aadhaar-related deaths due to starvation

Narinder Nanu / AFP / Getty Images

An 11-year-old girl in Jharkhand and a 50-year-old woman in Uttar Pradesh died with one common theme: both were denied rations and died of starvation. Both had Aadhaar-related problems which resulted in their exclusion. Mind you, these are just the two cases that have been reported. Again, no pressure on the government. No sustained coverage.


3. Winter session of Parliament delayed

Raveendran / AFP / Getty Images

Usually, around this time of the year, our members of Parliament swoop into Delhi to sit in our favourite circular building to discuss, debate, and decide on important national issues.

Not this year though.

The Winter Session of Parliament has been delayed, according to sources, due to the upcoming Gujarat elections. This is plain unfair on the other states and representatives who were gearing up to raise their concerns before the government during the session.

4. Paradise Papers

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The Paradise Papers, one of the biggest global news breaks in the recent past, is finding little or almost no mention at the moment. The Finance Minister said: “It will be found out that who are those people with totally illegal accounts and who have plausible defence.... Every case will be considered on its individual merit.” And that is about it. No follow-up, no public outrage, no pressure on the Government, nothing. End of story.

5. Allegations of corruption against the government

Sam Panthaky / AFP / Getty Images

Here is a quick recap of allegations of corruption that have risen against the current government (in the very recent past):

– Jay Shah, son of Amit Shah, has seen a dramatic increase in some of his businesses in the recent past.

– India Foundation, a think tank run by Shaurya Doval, the son of national security advisor Ajit Doval, has four Union Ministers on its board of directors and has been accused of having a conflict of interest.

— The Modi government cancelled an old deal with Dassault Aviation, a french company, to supply 126 Rafale jets and signed a new one to supply 36 jets instead for a much higher price.

The government has been quick to dismiss all of these as ‘politically motivated’ allegations and Jay Shah has even slapped a defamation case on The Wire for reporting on his business. Only a few online news publications are fighting it out among themselves to cover these issues.

6. Unpaid NREGA wages

Prakash Singh / AFP / Getty Images

The payment of wages in 19 states under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) are frozen. That means around 9.2 crore workers haven’t been paid their wages for literally months.

That’s about 7% of the population of the whole country. That’s more than five times the population of Delhi. The crisis is happening despite the Government giving the ‘highest ever’ budget for NREGA i.e. ₹48,000 crore.

Now, reports say that 85% of all that money has already been spent by end of September. We still have four months to go till the next budget, just saying.

7. Drama in Supreme Court

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Two PILs were filed in Supreme Court asking for a court-monitored enquiry into a bribery case regarding the Medical Council of India. The petitioners said that it can’t be left on the Central Bureau of Investigation to handle it because the government might put pressure.

Here’s the catch: Our current Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra had handled the case in the past, so they also asked that the matter should be heard without involving him to avoid conflict of interest.

Listening to the petitioners, a separate constitutional bench was set up. But CJI Misra dramatically stepped in, nullified the order, and setup a new bench to consider the case. The Supreme Court, last Tuesday, held that the administrative function of a Chief Justice in assigning cases to benches does not constitute conflict of interest.

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