How India votes and what are the top priorities
New Delhi, May 16: There are a variety of issues that the people of India vote on. Some vote for real issues, while there are a good number who vote on caste an religious lines.
Interestingly nearly 40 per cent have also said that they have voted for freebies as well, which is actually quite distressing to learn suggests a survey conducted by the Association for Democratic Reforms.
The top priority of the voter is jobs followed by better health care. The next on the list of priorities is drinking water.
Better Employment Opportunities (46.80%), Better Health Care (34.60%) and Drinking Water (30.50%) are the top three voters' priorities at the all India level, followed by Better Roads (28.34%) and Better Public Transport (27.35%) at the fourth and the fifth place, respectively.
It is important to note that agricultural related governance issues featured predominantly in the all India top 10 voters' priorities e.g. Availability of Water for Agriculture (26.40%) that was ranked sixth, Agriculture Loan Availability (25.62%) that was ranked seventh, Higher Price Realization for Farm Products (25.41%) that was ranked eighth, and Agriculture Subsidy for Seeds/Fertilsers (25.06%) that was ranked ninth.
The other top two voters' priorities, Better Healthcare (2.35) and Drinking Water (2.52) were also rated as below average. Better Healthcare was ranked seventh and Drinking Water was ranked third.
It is a matter of serious concern that for none of the 31 listed voters' priorities, the performance of the government was rated as average or above average.
The worst performance of the government, as rated by the voters, was on the issues of Encroachment of Public Lands, Lakes etc., Terrorism, Training for Jobs, Strong Defence/Military, Eradication of Corruption, Lower Food Prices for Consumers and Mining/Quarrying.
The comparative analysis between All India Mid-Term Survey 2017 and All India Survey 2018 reveals that the top two voters' priorities (Better Employment Opportunities and Better Hospitals/Primary Healthcare Centres) have continued to remain at the top.
The significance of Better Employment Opportunities as voter's highest priority has increased by 56.67% from 30% in 2017 to 47% in 2018. At the same time, the performance of the government on this issue declined from 3.17 to 2.15 on a scale of 5.
The significance of Better Hospitals/Primary Healthcare Centres as voter's second highest priority has increased by 40% from 25% in 2017 to 35% in 2018. At the same time, the performance of the government on this issue declined from 3.36 to 2.35.
The significance of Drinking Water as voters' priority has increased by 150% from 12% in 2017 to 30% in 2018. At the same time, the performance of the government on this issue declined from 2.79 to 2.52.
The significance of Better Roads as voter's priority has increased by 100% from 14% in 2017 to 28% in 2018. At the same time, the performance of the government on this issue declined from 3.1 to 2.41.
Amongst the 32 states and UTs that were surveyed, in 29 of them, voters have given below average ratings to the government for its performance on all top 3 voters' priorities at the state level. This is with the exception of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Puducherry.
Out of all the 8 Empowered Action Group (EAG) states, which are considered as most socio-economically backward, in 7 states (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh) Better Employment Opportunities is the foremost voters' priority.
Drinking Water is the topmost voters' priority in 3 States/UTs like Odisha, Karnataka and Daman and Diu.
As per All India Survey 2018, 75.11% voters disclosed that CM candidate was the most important reason behind voting for a particular candidate, followed by candidate's party (71.32%) and the candidate (68.03%) himself/herself.
It is distressing to see that for 41.34% voters, distribution of cash, liquor, gifts etc. was an important factor behind voting a particular candidate in an election.
In relation to voting candidates with criminal antecedents, maximum number of voters (36.67%) felt that people vote for such candidates because they are unaware of his/her criminal records. 35.89% voters are also willing to vote for a candidate with criminal records if the candidate has done good work in the past.
Although, 97.86% voters felt that candidates with criminal background should not be in Parliament or State Assembly, only 35.20% voters knew that they could get information on criminal records of the candidates.