Developing India - A New Model
When the other countries in our own continent, Asia, have developed by leaps and bounds, one is pained to find India in the league of the underdeveloped nations even after 63 years of Independence. Not only India, full development is eluding the entire Indian sub-continent. We are not living in an ancient or medieval era. This is not even a nascent modern era. This is a full-blown modern era. In this age of globalization, we have complete access to all information, latest technology, international capital, and world-class human resources, but, for one reason or the other, we lack in our determination and direction. When we should feel ashamed of being an underdeveloped nation in these times, there seems to be an all pervading complacency about the slow, natural, unplanned, directionless, and chaotic progress we are making.
Many questions arise. Can India be developed? Can India be developed in the foreseeable future? Can India develop itself and take the leadership of developing the neighboring nations? If yes, what will be the price and will we, as a nation, be able to pay it? We must answer all these and more other questions if we want to achieve a life-style worthy of humanity in our own lifetime for all the Indians and if we want the Indian sub-continent to occupy a place of pride on the global stage.
We must sincerely analyze why we have not developed and why other nations in the same or even worse predicament have achieved commendable development. The main reason for our underdevelopment in the first 30 years post-Independence was the model of industrialization and planning adopted by us for our economic development. That this model is not delivering results had become evident after 15 years of Independence, we continued to cling to it for another 15 years hoping against hope.
In the last 30 years, we have made many amends, but full development seems far, at least, not happening in our own generation. We have elaborate plans related to poverty alleviation, demographic sustainability, educational missions, industrialization, ecological balance, etc., but none of the plans have ever brought the desired results. The plans fail mainly because they lack the most elementary ingredient, i.e., the public trust. In fact, the public, in most of the cases, is unaware of the benefits of the plan as well as its role in the success of the plans, making it the most unconcerned element for the outcome that is designed to make a final dent in its impoverishment and unworthy human conditions.
It is interesting to see the growth story of other nations in Asia. These nations, like, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc., have brought about much more worthy life-styles to their citizens, though they have emerged from the similar or even worse situations as at the time of our Independence. Though they are smaller in size as compared to India, we can surely take a few lessons to make a turnaround for ourselves. Similarly, the bigger nation, China has also developed despite serious constraints. Though China has a different political dispensation, we will ignore this example to our own peril.
First of all, we must decide to be a developed nation, and that too, in a pre-determined period, say 5 years or 10 years. The time limit must not be very lengthy so that the interest of the first generation is generated and kept intact in its success, thereby, making them a willing participant in the processes. Secondly, we have to set year-wise targets which are transparent and easily monitored. A perfect monitoring system will observe the achievements on periodical, say, monthly basis. The guiding principles will be full transparency and earning the trust of the public in the benefits of the plan to mobilize its active support.
By creating the trust of the public in the govt plans, a perennial source of unflinching, spontaneous energy will be unleashed. If this ingredient has not been found or not utilized till now in so many years post Independence, it does not mean that the same cannot be explored now. We must also not feel frightened of the hugeness of this task, because this will really become a very simple and easily achievable task. The political leadership and the government machinery only needs to inject transparency into each level and process of the plan with full sincerity. Once this ingredient gets into work, the success of our plans will be guaranteed and many other positive developments will take place.
The public must be made aware that we have to start from the basics for achieving development and a world-class life-style. The basics are cleanliness and discipline. Without these basics, we are never going to join the developed world. If we have to have these basics later on, why not have it now. The benefits of adopting these basics will be phenomenal. By adopting cleanliness, which entails freedom from roaming stray animals, flourishing greenery everywhere, and innumerable other positive side effects, there will be a sea change in the way we have been living till now.
Similarly, the role and importance of discipline in public life cannot be over-emphasized for achieving development. For the public to voluntarily abide by various laws and procedures, it is necessary that it be made aware of the fact that the observance of rules is in its own benefit. Towards this end, such an environment and ambience will have to be established which encourages spontaneous observance of law. We are the same persons when we tour other countries behaving in a thoroughly disciplined way there. The reason is simple; the ambience there motivates, rather, compels one to observe discipline. If we thrust cleanliness here, it will go a long way in laying the foundation for the start of a disciplined life in India.
Simultaneously, the government should work transparently and seek people’s co-operation in implementation of various laws after duly bringing forth the various aspects and benefits of the same. This will unleash unforeseen public discipline and active participation of the public in the development process. We will sure be on a better footing to achieve development and a world-class life-style.
Thus we can start by enforcing the features of economic and social development and create harmonious conditions in India laying the foundation for the ultimate development to take place. In other words, let us begin by creating a façade of economic and social development by inculcating cleanliness and discipline and force the development to take place. As there will be cleanliness and discipline in public life, there will be better rule of law and order. Given the privilege of democracy and anglicized society, international capital and technology will flow in single direction to India to tap the huge market available here. As this will infuse new life into the sagging economies of the developed nations, India can set its own terms with the sole aim of making India developed by creating infrastructure, increasing production, and developing latest technology. Incredible though it may sound, the strategy, once adopted, will work wonders in a short period.
The other features and consequences of real economic and social development may be achieved likewise, that is before the real development takes place. These are freedoms from public begging, slums, encroachments, terrorism, child labor, etc. We can achieve all this within a record time to firmly set our journey for full development in full steam and to realize the same sooner, in our own lifetime, than later.
This is a model of development that is best suited in the present times given the availability of technology, capital, and the requirement of new markets for the developed world to survive and grow. Europe and other developed countries made their progress by taking benefit of the colonies since the 19th century. They followed the theory of exploitation to develop. However, in India, we can develop by capitalizing on the virtues of democracy coupled with the super-imposition of the features of development in a painless and beneficial-for-all way. The development of India and the Indian sub-continent will go a long way in making people’s life happier and peaceful and the entire humanity will be benefited by lesser frictions and conflicts. The world will surely be a better place with a developed India.
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||Dear Daniel Rey M.,|
Thanks for your comments. There may be many ways of reaching the goal, to make a focused start is more important. For starting the journey, there cannot be a better ground than by doing so with a minimum necessity which can be fulfilled immediately. Land reforms, political uprightness, social peace, economic unwinding and all other rational developments will be deftly engineered. Cleanliness is one drive that can be carried out with a little outlay of money and efforts, it can be achieved quickly, and it can be a great building block for India of tomorrow.
I look forward to your continued contribution. Thanks.
||At a seminary on land reforms and the achievement of peace I recently heard economist Pranab Bardhan, who is a researcher at the U. of California at Berkeley, saying that in the late 70's and early 80's there were significant land reforms in West Bengal. He mentioned no other examples in India, apparently because there are none. You're forgetting the urgent need to deal with the huge numbers of peasants, many of which have felt it necessary to leave for the cities and live in horrible circumstances there. No fully developed nation has managed to solve its basic problems without a good land reform, as in Japan and South Korea. Your Cleanliness Campaign will get nowhere unless it includes this. ||