It is indeed heartening that there is a new wave of excitement and a visible thrust of the Government policies and programmes directly aimed at the making of a New India of our dream. The Union Budget proposals exhibit the thrust on making India Atmanirbhar a digitally empowered developed nation. These are in line with the Niti Ayog’s blueprint of strategies for India@ 75 and the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Niti Aayog’s comprehensive national Strategy for New India has identified forty-one crucial areas. It recognises the progress already made, identifies binding constraints, and suggests the way forward for achieving clearly stated objectives for 2022-23.
The approach to the strategies, however, dates back to the Pre Covid-19 era and this should be brought in line with the post-Covid-19 developmental goals. The purpose of development is to be aligned to the meaning and purpose of life. This necessitates a much greater focus on redesigning our development goals to assure a more balanced and inclusive development that passes the litmus test of sustainability in all aspects of human endeavours.
Economic progress alone would not suffice. The India of our dream requires a perfect balance between economic progress, inclusion, sustainability and happiness. Inclusivity would then go beyond inclusive economic growth to cover the wide disparity of capabilities as well as opportunities. Presently, the impressive growth of the Indian economy has resulted in a concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, the top1% in India still possessing 43% of the nation’s wealth while the bottom 50% have only 2.9 %.
The India growth story is no different than that of other developed nations as in the US also top 10% of households possess 70% of the country’s wealth while the bottom 50 % hold just 2%, confirming the presumption that the western developmental models result in economic disparity. This disparity and the growing gap between the rich and the poor cannot be allowed to continue for long.
Further, like India and the nations around the globe hope for the slowdown of the third wave of Covid19, the voices in the background are already alerting us for the fourth wave. They will then say the fifth is coming and so on. So the moot question is should we continue to live in fear and uncertainty or prepare for the ‘Robust Future Defence’ from pandemics of any kind?.
My considered opinion is that we as a nation and 1.35 billion-plus people of a great vibrant republic must prepare ourselves for the robust Self Defence for guarding our nation and ourselves against any future pandemics.
In short, as we celebrate the 75th year of our great nation, let ‘Be Future Ready’ be the mantra of self-reliance, both at the individual as well as organizational and national levels. What does this mean in real terms? We need to learn from the experiences of the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic and apply willingly the corrective actions on several fronts.
We need to recognise that the business as usual cannot be allowed to continue anymore. Despite daily reciting the Vedic Mantra of ’Sarve Bhabantu Sukhina Sarve Santu Niramaya’, we continue to mindlessly inculcate inequality and economic disparity by following the Western culture of mass production and mass consumption. So the first corrective action that I propose is that we adapt to ‘Sustainable Consumption. This will enable us to inculcate the wisdom of our Vedic sages and seers who prescribed Aparigriha as the way of living a blissful, happy and healthy life of 100 years, Jim Sarada Satam will then be a reality.
It is doable and must be achieved by mass awakening and through education at all levels, I submit.