In just a little over three decades we would be in the year 2015 AD. For our politicians in power and those wanting to get into power, it might sound like an year too far in posterity to be concerned about as, by then, most of them would be either not around or would have become completely redundant. But, a child born in 2017 would be 33 in that year – the most productive, ambitious and restless phase of his/her life – and we need to think, deliberate, and articulate, with some sense of social consciousness, as to what kind of India would we want him/her to be a part of and at start working out plans and strategies for getting there.
It goes without saying that whichever party is in power thinks that it would be there for all times to come. No one creates an institution or a corporate or a political party and puts an ‘expiry date’ on it. It is expected that these would last much beyond the lifetime of the principal players and the closure of the establishment or the loss of their power is just not expected – does not even cross the mind – even while going through the most frustrating times. The party in power – whichever it is and for howsoever short or long a period it remains there – should work on the assumption that “we are here to stay” and while working out plans, strategies and tactics for retaining power, it should think about the kind of nation that it would want India to evolve, at least, in a 30 to 50 year timeframe.
The driver for the long-term plan has to be a meeting the ever increasing expectations and aspirations of people on a sustainable operating platform. The elements that need to be kept in mind while developing the framework of the vision for India has to be the ability to: generate social equity; re-enforce the strength and independence of institutions; strengthen the internal security and law & order system; play a proactive role in generating and maintaining peace in the region; build adequate military might to protect the sovereignty of the country; develop appreciation and sensitization for religious and cultural diversity; promote and practice gender equality; provide affordable and state-of- the-art healthcare facilities; increase employment generation; increase and improve the coverage of literacy, education and training; promote development and use of breakthrough technologies; develop integrated transport systems to cover the last mile in the remotest area; provide and promote availability of affordable urban and rural housing; provide access to digital technology for communication, information and market accessibility to even people in the lowest income group; increase the share of clean energy in meeting the increasing energy demand; increase industrialization and improve industrial output and productivity; make agriculture an economically viable proposition; encourage and support entrepreneurship and startups; become an aggressive and dominant player in Global trade; and promote tourism – and use all these to generate higher growth of the economy for providing better income and living standards for people of all sections of society and generating an overall sense of well-being.
The party in power needs to look beyond clichéd slogans and completion of programmes on anniversaries of important people and events and start thinking beyond cleanliness drives – which seem to have been a near disaster. The BJP philosophy for India of tomorrow, “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas” – which reportedly is the driver for the PMs vision – is a rather subtle acceptance of the fact that it is labor that they have to go through in carrying ‘Sab’ along. There are so many other slogans which have beenthrown at people at regular frequency. There are some – Start Up India and Stand Up India – that sound like the instructions of a self indulgent physical instructor of a middle school. These slogans that, probably, are the handiwork of some in-house wordsmiths who have no idea of issues in development are meant to only re-kindle some hope for change and good times amongst the masses. In the run up to the launch of a product in the market, the catchy slogan that helps in establishing a relationship between the consumer and the product is one of the last things that is taken to the drawing board. The marketing team at Perfetti would not have worked backwards after coining and announcing their slogan “Demag Ki Batti Jala De” to develop a scotch mint to ‘enlighten’ their consumers. Interestingly the groundwork on the slogans that the PM is so fond of sharing in his eloquent speeches is, probably, done after he launches his ‘product’. And, unfortunately, too many slogans ‘spill the beans’ in his case – as it becomes clear that slogans are just meant to be shouted and not acted upon.
What the PM needs to do is to articulate his vision for the country for 2050 and this he should do in consultation and collaboration with NITI Aayog – his in-house/captive think tank – and after consulting the leaders of his party and opposition in the Centre and the States. The people of this country have a reason and a right to know as to where we are heading. It is expected that this vision document would take a holistic view of things and not limit itself to giving out projections of a few economic indicators for 2031-32 – like what the NITI Aayog has done.
It is generally seen that in all successful companies, the vision statement is clearly articulated by the Chairman of the company and this becomes the driver for the design and deployment of all plans and strategies and is the raison d’être for all the decision- making managers. By the same logic, the ministers and officials of the Central and the various State Governments, who take major investment and change decisions on a daily basis, should be clear as to how their decisions are aligned to the articulated vision of the ‘Chief Executive’ of the country. If the chefs are not informed about the theme of the food festival, they might end up preparing a sumptuous Kashmiri Waazawan for a Jain gathering.
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision” – Helen Keller
Cartoon in Words :
1) 10 Janpath (Residence of Sonia Gandhi): Sonia & Rahul standing infront of large group of squatting Congress workers: Rahul – “Just don’t bother about what the opposition has to say – Mama has told me that I am the best”.
2) Prime Minister’s Office: Amit Shah sitting on a chair and the PM sitting on the large ornate sofa: PM – “I have reprimanded the Gau Rakshaks and I hope that you are taking good care of them”.