India needs a new direction

India needs a new direction
Highlights

The National Pledge which is recited by Indians on important occasions was composed by a little known Telanganite Pydimarri Venkata Subba Rao, a noted author in Telugu While working in Vishakhapatnam in 1962 he composed this which was passed on to the then Union Education Minister PVG Raju through Late Tenneti Viswanadham a former Minister and Member of Parliament

The National Pledge which is recited by Indians on important occasions was composed by a little known Telanganite Pydimarri Venkata Subba Rao, a noted author in Telugu. While working in Vishakhapatnam in 1962 he composed this which was passed on to the then Union Education Minister PVG Raju through Late Tenneti Viswanadham a former Minister and Member of Parliament.

The Pledge goes like: “India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters. I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage. I shall always strive to be worthy of it. I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders respect and treat everyone with courtesy. To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion. In their well-being and prosperity alone, lies my happiness”.

The question is, to what extent the words in the pledge are relevant today? Is there a brotherhood and sisterhood among us? Are we really proud of our rich and varied heritage still? Are we worthy of our country? Are we politically in a position to steer the country towards progress? Do we have a perfect national agenda to take the people forward looking? Are we in a position to compete globally with other nations? Where do we stand and where do we place ourselves in many areas? The country needs a new direction as seventy one years have passed since independence. People are struggling for basic minimum needs.

China which is our neighbouring country and has been consistently maintaining a high growth rate since 1979. For more than 25 years, it has been continuously registering very rapid growth. The GDP of China was less than that of India till 1971. Now it is four times of India. India’s GDP in 1968 was 180 Billion Dollars and that of China then was just 134 Billion Dollars.

By 2016 China reached 9504 Billion Dollars, increase of by more than 70%, whereas India could reach to a mere 2465 Billion Dollars that is little over little over 13%. The percapita income of China which was just 172.91 dollars in 1968 increased nearly by 40% in 2016 whereas that of India which stood more than China at 340.36 dollars in 1968 could grow only by 5.47% and register just 1861 dollars by 2016. This is a serious concern and should be addressed sensibly.

In power supply front today India has just 3.45 Lakhs Mega Watts installed capacity with 1122 units per head, but China has 17.77 Lakhs Mega watts Capacity with 4475 units per head! The land useful for cultivation in India was 41 Crores of Acres in 1979 and by 2015 it got reduced to 39 Crores acres. In China However in the same period it increased from 24 Crores to 29.75 Crores.

East Asian Tigers like South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan and ASEAN countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines etc achieved miraculous growth. Japan rose from ashes to become a country with one of the highest percapita income in the world.

Can’t we leverage the wealth and inner strength of our country and its economy? What is stopping us? It is not an insurmountable problem but requires a mindset. If we have to develop India, it requires out-of-the box thinking and not just the routine way as has been done during the past 71 years. We have to first get rid of poverty of thought and plan in a big way instead of incremental thinking.

Then who are responsible for all the ills? The Nehru-Gandhi leadership Congress Party era followed by Morarji-VP Singh leadership Janata-National Front era and then the Vajpayee-Modi BJP era with in between PV-Manmohan Congress era are squarely responsible for all that happened in the past 71 years. Basically it was either the Congress party or the BJP that were at the helm of affairs.

To what extent Nehru’s policy of agrarian reform, industrialisation as import substitution and mixed economy where there was to be the government controlled public sector coexisting with the private sector, helped this country to develop, needs to be analysed now. Indira Gandhi at one stroke nationalised 14 major private sector banks, industries like coal and services like insurance.

Whether the move helped India to march fast or it was a counter productive one also requires to be studied in-depth. Did the banks nationalisation free the economic growth of the country from the clutches of a few vested interests and thrown open the banking facilities to the common people or not?

The technological advancements of Rajiv Gandhi era which are supposed to be a turning point in that front have not been consolidated even during his regime. He was although allegedly involved in Bofors scandal and could hardly escape from it. This certainly resulted in hindering the development of the country at that point of time.

In a way PV Narasimha Rao though tried his level best through economic reforms, dismantling of License Raj, globalisation and rescuing India from near bankruptcy to what extent they were consolidated in the later regimes of BJP is a question to be answered. If at all there was a development of India it was certainly during his tenure but unfortunately could not be sustained long.

Manmohan’s Rural Health Mission, Aadhaar experiment and the RTI Act, though were his achievements had no direct impact on the country’s growth. Atal Bihari Vajpayee the first non-congress PM to complete a full five year term probably had nothing great to his credit barring Pokhran nuclear tests, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and National Highways Development Project and the biggest failure was his India Shining campaign.

With Demonetisation and GST experiment Modi the present PM had gained a big negative name and how do they contribute to country’s growth is yet to be seen. There was nothing significant during the rest of the period and it was mainly alternate governments assuming charge one after another. India needs a momentous change and maybe it is possible if the political system is changed as the national political parties and the present political system failed the nation.

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