New decade's pressing issues that govts should look into
We have bid farewell to yet another decade which saw the rise of social media, the Arab Spring, the #MeToo movement and, US President Donald Trump and ...
We have bid farewell to yet another decade which saw the rise of social media, the Arab Spring, the #MeToo movement and, US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi emerging as reformists and tough administrators. The decade also witnessed seven global challenges which could have impact on the next decade. The seven challenges on which the global leaders need to lay focus are plastics, migration, climate crisis, nationalism, consumerism, biodiversity and participatory democracy.
If we keep politics aside, as far as India is concerned, there has been some transformational change on the ground particularly during the last phase of the decade. Serious efforts by the Centre involving all the States had led to construction of over nine crore toilets and the Swachh Bharat had become the buzz word in the country.
It is a different issue that a lot of complacency had crept into the minds of the State governments and the people and the concept of Swachh Bharat has turned into a mere slogan. Notwithstanding the report card, the Centre and States may hide the ground realities when they present the budget proposals. The fact of the matter is that the world in general and India in particular face many a challenge. As the last decade came to an end, we have seen slowdown of the economy. This certainly did not happen overnight. It had begun almost three years ago, but our rulers and administrators turned a blind eye.
The focus of all governments, whether it is the Centre or the States, has been more on doling freebies in the garb of welfare schemes. This mania has been so high that many States which once had surplus budget have been pushed into deficit budget.
From political angle, it is easy to blame it on the Centre, the GST and demonetisation. But if we indulge in honest introspection, the fact is that the State governments and the administrators too badly failed in gauging the situation and taking necessary corrective measures.
The biggest need of the decade is that the political parties strengthen their spine and learn to call a spade a spade so that the economy can be put back on track. While welfare measures are a must in a country like India, it is equally necessary to see that the economy does not collapse for the sake of vote bank politics. The interest of the State should be on the top, not winning elections by hook or crook. The efforts to win election somehow have made the voters corrupt and there are any number of examples where vote has been put on sale.
This is where the first reform should begin during the decade. This may not sound music to the ears of politicians but that is what it should be. The other areas where reforms should be taken up on a mission mode are education and health. There should be public private partnership. If the governments particularly the State governments ruled by regional parties, feel that they can manage everything. If they try to revive the Nehruvian concept of government, taking up the responsibility of developing everything, it would be the beginning of decade of disaster.
The country has reached a stage where PPP has come to stay, and it is this concept which has catapulted the country and its economy into a different orbit. It is time all political parties and leaders come out of narrow political outlook and start thinking big. We have all necessary resources including human resource.
There is a need to encourage participatory democracy, maximise the involvement of citizens in decision making and increase in the levels of political tolerance towards Opposition. What we are lacking is dynamism and positive attitude in the way we look at things.