There is no one to match Shankar Acharya and his “Speculations about 2022” in Business Standard. He has covered 15 significant areas as he looks to the year ahead. In this piece, the effort is to take off from the last few lines about India and elaborate on the challenges and possible achievements ahead in the country’s 75th year of Independence. India@75.
First, the issue of Trust and Mistrust. India has, over several decades, followed a Mistrust based system, framing complex procedures, multiple checkpoints, red tape and the like. This has slowed down decision-making at every level. During India@75, can India switch to a Trust-based system, abolishing the cobweb of checks and balances so as to unleash a new spirit of enterprise in every aspect of life and work? This would be transformational.
Second, can India@75 be witness to new “Courage” in policy-making, procedure-framing and connected issues? There is a saying that it takes courage to leave behind the sea-shore and venture into the ocean. In the same way, all aspects of governance could adopt a new level of Courage to change the way things are done. This, too, would be transformational.
Third, Implementation of intentions and policies with efficiency and speed. Driving development and growth at new speed, much needed by the country. This would be significant move away from the slow pace of implementation which is the hallmark of Indian administration. And, yet, India has shown, repeatedly, examples of successful and rapid implementation. Can these be the Norm rather than the exceptions?
Fourth, carrying the People along, especially the common man and woman who face challenges in daily life of an extraordinary order. This calls for intense communication and consultation so that public opinion supports the direction of policy, programmes and projects. In the kind of society that India is, there is no alternative to taking the People along. They are central to everything and not to be underestimated or ignored however poor they maybe. And, never to be taken for granted because there is wisdom and character in our people.
Fifth, Women. India@75 must, and can, herald a new culture, ethos, regime – call it whatever – of respect for Women. Empowerment of Women, a place at the main table for Women, at every level of Indian Society. 48% of the Indian population but equivalent to more than 60% of our strength, our capability, our character, our backbone. 2022 needs to be, the start of the years of the Indian Woman full of potential. India, then, instead of working to 50% human capacity can function at near 100% capacity.
Sixth, concurrently all the key areas will continue to receive maximum attention such as food, agriculture, manufacturing, services, infrastructure, MSME, rural economy, export, import, skills development, jobs, privatization, technology, education, health and, of course, defence.
2022 can then be a truly outstanding India@75 year for all. It calls for a massive gearing up and harnessing resources to deepen Development and build Growth.