As reported by Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post) the province of Bali celebrated its 55th anniversary in an official ceremony held in Denpasar’s Puputan Margarana field.
Bali’s beleaguered governor, Made Mangku Pastika, used the occasion to outline the many challenges faced by modern Bali. Said Pastika: “We have at least 10 major challenges we are facing nowadays. We have to work hard to deal with those challenges.”
The challenges cited by Governor Pastika were:
- Population: The limited land area of 5,780 square kilometers, and not all of it suitable for human occupation, is now home to 4.2 million people. The population of Bali continues to skyrocket, increasing from 3.6 million people just five years ago. While the birth rate contributes 1% more people to the population every year.
- Bali’s Economy: A strong economy lures migrants from across Indonesia while unemployment remains high among the endemic Balinese. This is another challenge for Bali. Pastika saya local people should improve their skills to be able to compete with those from outside Bali.
- Traffic Congestion: Pastika told his audience: “With population growth of 400,000 in four years, imagine if around 50,000 of them buy new cars and 200,000 buy new motorcycles. Congestion has become a problem now.”
- Education: Bali lacks highly skilled and qualified teachers, with many people in charge of classrooms in Bali failing to hold a bachelors or a masters Degree.
- Growing HIV/AIDS epidemic: Bali has the second highest rate of new infections from HIV/AIDS nationwide after Papua. High rates of new infections are increasingly found among mothers and their children, a concerning trend blamed by health officials on the high rate of HIV/AIDS rates among Bali’s commercial sex workers and the tendency for Balinese men to pay for sex with prostitutes.
- Uneven Rates of Economic Development: Investment and development in Bali remains concentrated in the southern regions of the island. Meanwhile, people living in the less developed regions of Bali struggle for access to roads, water, healthcare, education and funding. The Governor told his audience that his administration has been successful in reducing poverty rates, declining from 6.17% living below the poverty line in 2008 to 3.95% in 2012. Programs initiated by Pastika’s administration seeks to reduce the percentage of those living below the poverty even further to 3.28% in 2013 and 1% by 2018.
- Zoning Laws and Regulation: Despite the passing of a comprehensive zoning law in 2009, many continue to blatantly build structures of a types and in areas where such projects are prohibited.
- Land Usage: Bali’s agrarian culture is under threat due to the rapid conversion of fertile farming land to other uses.
- Slow Implementation of Bali’s Clean and Green Environmental Programs: The people of Bali remain slow to embrace steps to reduce pollution on the island.
- Security Standards: The governor said that security systems in place on Bali remain below international standards.
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