Haryana’s claim of becoming a global economic zone in the world rests not only on its impressive infrastructural growth, but also on their maintenance by its citizens. In a civilised society like ours, the citizens’ civic sense must always be upright. In Haryana, this sense of maintaining social ethics, of prioritising the cleanliness of public spaces over the selfish personal interests, of respecting the law on roads and streets, and of maintaining the standard behaviour in public sphere, is increasingly becoming a low priority for the residents of the state. In other words, civic sense is on a downswing in Haryana. How Naya Haryana must address this issue, is the question.
Besides school education, which deals with this question of inculcating civic sense in its very basic form, the Haryana government must, first of all, enhance the awareness of the people of the state across all sections of the society. Inculcating civic sense is a continual process, and the lack of it can be seen in people across all age groups. Regular workshops must be organised to make the citizens aware of the need to preserve the resources in the state. An added sense of social discipline must also be inculcated among the people, so that they can value and respect themselves and others on road. Basic everyday practices, like standing in queues, conserving the environment, keeping the roads and public places clean, must be made a norm among the people, rather than an exception.
A report of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on water-sewage management in 2012 warned the Gurgaon administration of the depleting levels of drinking water, which can increase the huge urban swamp in the city, making Gurgaon a living urban nightmare. Civic sense in Gurgaon has hit an all-time low, as residents do not feel the need to save water and electricity. The Haryana government must seriously restrict such unwarranted use of resources, which can completely ruin the state of its human habitat. Inculcating civic sense in people to preserve the already-depleting levels of water and forests in the state is an immediate necessity, if the state government does not want to choke the state with garbage.
Another realm in saving the state from the misuse of its resources is the implementation of stricter laws. Violators on the streets are often not punished, and this has given rise to an ignorant attitude on the streets. Spitting, littering and urinating on the streets are no longer considered offensive to the people, because no laws curbing such menaces are ever implemented. If civic sense is to be ensured and inculcated, the government must strictly punish the abusers, along with alerting others of the ill-effects of poor civic sense.
Culture can enhance people’s awareness of the need to preserve their public spaces. Especially in the rural areas where education has not percolated to all sections of the society, the use of cultural performances like theatres, street plays and movie screenings can greatly boost the cause. The Haryana government must seriously introspect on regularising such cultural encounters among the people to inculcate a civic sense in them.
On a final note, it is necessary that people develop the basic sense of ethics while utilising public infrastructural amenities. Only in this way can Haryana retain its position as a global economic power, as well as conserve the state’s resources.