Election symbol: Battery torch
Neeraj Kumar (photo attached) is Socialist Party (India)’s election candidate from Obra Vidhan Sabha constituency (220), Aurangabad district, Bihar. Apart from being a Masters in Chemistry, Neeraj has been very active in social reforms in Obra. Neeraj believes in age-old golden mantra of ‘Vasudhev Kutambakam’ and appeals for people to live in harmony, with mutual trust and cooperation – just like we live in a family. When we can feel the pain of others in our family, why cannot we be sensitive towards our fellow people in the society, asks Neeraj.
Deeply entrenched inequities in our society is one of the major concerns for Neeraj. It is because of systemic inequities and corruption that is not letting the benefits of government’s welfare programmes reach majority of those in need. Corruption is rampant from village level to the highest levels of governance, and until we uproot corruption from our system, it is difficult to imagine a just and social order.
Neeraj is equally concerned about rapid privatisation of education and weakening of government’s public education at the same time, due to which majority of underprivileged children are unable to seek quality education. Corruption is also deep seated in our education system. Unless we implement common school system where children of the rich and poor go to same schools and receive same quality of education, we cannot end social inequities.
Neeraj is also involved with agriculture on 10 acres of land – out of which 2 acres are for organic farming. Neeraj shares that agriculture has become unsustainable now compared to the past. Few decades ago farmers were storing their own seeds but now they are so dependent for seeds on multinational companies. Asia was known for thousands of variety of seeds in earlier times but now we have lost that traditional wisdom. Barring few exceptions of some organizations that conserve their seeds most of the farmers are dependent on companies to get their seeds. Chemical fertilizers have also wreaked havoc on sustainable agriculture. We need to help support farmers to get back to organic farming.
Issues related to labourers are also very important. If more sustainable employment opportunities will exist in rural parts of our country then rural to urban migration will also get curbed.
Neeraj points out that unabated privatisation of healthcare is so alarming as health services are becoming out of reach of so many in dire need. Costs of medicines and other health related services have shot up manifold, severely affecting access to healthcare for a majority of our population. We need to strengthen public health system, check corruption in healthcare and regulate private health system, because healthcare is not a ‘business’. Government must ensure that all those in need of health services must be able to access it.