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[email protected]: Political Will In Place

Much is wrong with India at the moment, but it can change if the country supports the government

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It will be a brave man who can predict the condition of India hundred years after independence, unless he is a latter-day Nostradamus. The progress of the nation in the past 70 years can be a linear guide, though the future doesn’t always follow the past. However, one can extrapolate as to how the current major problems and issues will play out in the next 30 years. India is no more economically isolated from rest of the world. The Indian ethnic, communal and caste realities, the frightening rich-poor ratios; the superpower conflicts affecting India, the progress of ‘technology’ that can take unpredictable trajectories, will surely complicate any accurate periscope peering into the future.

What are the current internal time-bombs that can impact the future? The population is projected to reach 1.7 billion by 2047. By 2020, India would start depleting its underground water reserves. And the failure to address the ‘water issue’ could possibly lead to major inter-state / intra-community water wars. The sustainability of Indian agriculture then will be highly doubtful. Again 30 per cent of the population is now in the 0-14 age group, which means about 50 crore new entrants in the employment fields are likely in the next 20 years. Will the economy be able to sustain this? Is anything being done to dramatically accelerate creation of skills and employment opportunities? Only 8 per cent of the 6-crore current tiny units, which provide 92 per cent of non-farming income, have access to institutional finance — the others still get their financial inputs from usurious private sources.

Already, the Indian education system is the worst rated in the world and our preventive health systems are among the most inefficient. These are the fundamentals of a democracy; their relationship with the development of society is well established through econometric correlation.

Corruption is highly widespread, galloping in every segment of the administration and governance. Politics has become purely an unregulated, uncontrollable business, massively contributing to black money generation. It is no more a public service; it is apparently meant for reckless personal enrichment.

Churchill had rightly prophesied that India will be run by venal rascals and rogues. India since then has politically consolidated. The fault lines mentioned earlier are not sustainable over the medium run. Are we likely to have a scenario where armed young men will roam the streets sometime in the next two decades, forcing a de-facto revolution? Will this be the end of the democracy that started in 1947/50? Perhaps, it is not a question of ‘whether’ but by when! If these are not effectively and adequately addressed, the question about the state of the nation in 2047 will not be relevant.

The Prime Minister recently made a call for a new India. He has shown the way to a cleaner and more purposeful central government — (unfortunately, the state administrations are still going from bad to worse). He has also taken very significant and effective steps in the economic field. The ‘Quit India’ call against corruption, poverty, casteism/ communalism, etc., is meant seriously, even though no road map has been given to achieve these. Clearly, without drastic political and electoral reforms, none of these can even be remotely contemplated.

If the right steps are taken now, India can be turned around within 10 years. Is there a political will for it — there is, the PM is proof, but will this ‘democracy’ support him? The answer to this question will determine the shape of India in 2047 — of its existence or as the leader of the world.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


T.S.R. Subramanian

The author is a former cabinet secretary

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