Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath announced this week a decision to constitute a migration commission. He also said on the occasion that in future other states would require permission before employing people from the state. There is little reason to take either the commission or his fatwa for permission seriously, although they both are breathtaking displays of ignorance and administrative ineptitude. The announcement that henceforth employers in other states would require permission before employing people from Uttar Pradesh also betrayed a stunning ignorance of economic realities and of the Constitution. While chief ministers of BJP ruled states are known to suffer from delusions of grandeur, the imperious statement about permission refuses to acknowledge the mismatch between employment opportunities available in UP and in other, more developed, states.
Predictably, the statement has not been received well elsewhere and as and when migrant workers go back to Maharashtra and other states to work, they may well find the going tougher and face a higher degree of hostility. The Yogi’s statement may not have done them much good. The statement also betrays an ignorance of Constitutional provisions. It could also be a deliberate statement to show the middle finger to the Indian Constitution, which allows citizens of India to move freely in the country and find work of their choice and ability. People tend to migrate in search of better opportunities and a better life and no decree from Sultans in Lucknow is likely to change it. But the control freaks in the BJP, living under the delusion that they can do what they like, have shown themselves to be inept, incompetent and arrogant. Public memory is short but people have not forgotten how the Yogi had mocked Kerala’s public health system. He had in fact advised Kerala to learn from Uttar Pradesh. Not content to have reduced himself to a laughing stock, the Yogi continues to provide fodder for entertainment. If only he had some time for good jokes, he could have been reminded of the tongue-in-cheek saying that committees and commissions comprise people, who individually can do nothing but, as a group, meet and decide that nothing can be done.
The incompetent governance is not confined to Uttar Pradesh. The BJP Government at the Centre too has not quite covered itself with glory, particularly during the last one year. It succeeded in abrogating Article 370 but managed to reduce Kashmir to an area of physical and military occupation. It pushed through an utterly unnecessary Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and triggered nationwide protests. It ignored warnings about the pandemic and got busy serenading US President Donald Trump. It allowed inflammatory statements and rioting in the national capital. It allowed Delhi Police to attack the campus of Jamia Milia and AMU and watch the attack on JNU. It imposed a prolonged lockdown without adequate notice or preparation and crippled the economy.
And, finally, its monumental mismanagement of the migrant crisis and mishandling of trains and flights are there for everyone to see. Its foreign policy failures have been equally spectacular with both Nepal and China disputing the Indian stand on borders with the neighbours. The lockdown has also served to expose the chinks in schemes like Swachh Bharat, Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao, Made In India and Ayushman Bharat and PMJDY, to cite just a few. And yet, the brazen ruling party and the Government is preparing to celebrate, yes celebrate, the completion of one year in office of Modi 2.0.