Independence Day : Reflections on Economy , Politics and Society


I am writing this post after about 2 years of hibernation from writing . As we are approaching another Independence Day I would like to reflect on the current status of Economy, politics and Society.

We Indian used to brag a lot about our economic performance but sky-scrapper with shaky foundations are rarely able to withstand the storms and cyclones. While Amartya Sen may have rightly project Indians as “Argumentative Indians” but he just stopped there. Just the Arguments are not enough to win the game. To use diplomatic parlance, you may win many arguments in room but that doesn’t ensure victory in game. To win the game, you need to have a clear vision , know your strength and shortcoming and use the strategy to achieve your full potentials while exploiting the vulnerability of opponents. To cut short, implementation is key in winning the game. This is where we fail miserably.

Tough some people have rightly identified the implementation gap and are working to bridge the same. “Ib-In” or India Backbone Implementation Network is case in point

On economic management India is classic example of “To kill the Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs“. While India was struggling to climb the stairs of growth the ‘coteries of crony capitalism’ disguised as voteries of inclusive growth killed the Goose in search of a Golden Egg. They advocated re-distribution giving a scant regard to sustainable revenue generation or growth.  While they may advocate that  programmes like MNREGA has doubled/tripled/quadrupled the wages for Rural and Urban Manual laborer for whom only source of subsistence is their wage and this has actually led to inclusive growth. what they ignore is productivity increase of Economy which has actually declined in recent years  indicating loss of competitiveness in Economy. This is hindering the growth of India as a manufacturing hub , which can create large employment opportunities to effectively leverage the Demographic dividend, at a time when MNCs are looking to diversify their manufacturing base as china is becoming costly. To grow at a rate that pulls more people out of poverty, India needs to invest more, create more non-farm jobs or manufacturing jobs . but who cares about growth as long as they are able to grow their personal empire  classic example being crony capitalism witnessed in series of scams from 2G , Mining, Commonwaelth , Sarkari Damaad & list goes on….  A very good technical analysis or procedural details on working of crony capitalism can be found in Sarkari Damaad case aka Rober Vadra land deal case.

This loot of national resources will go unhindered as long as public doesn’t understand or care about their rights and duties and continue to think on basis of their own short term interest /benefits /advantages (by demanding reservation/ subsidy /allowances) rather than keeping public interest(which would includes demanding governance, basic infrastructure, accountability from public officials including politicians and bureaucrats) in mind. As in case of change of presidentship from George W Bush to Barack Obama has demonstrated, behind much of the chest-thumping of politicians, there usually lies a continuity of policy between different administrations.” This is where the vigilant , conscious public & citizenry come into picture. We have every right to know the vision and strategy of our political leaders which includes government as well as opposition. In this hyper-informative digital world we can hardly remain aloof from Public affairs , but consciousnesses of public affairs also bring with its own set of views, prejudices and biases. But we can greatly overcome the shortcoming of these biases and prejudices if we make a conscious efforts to make us aware about them. As rightly & timely inquired by one sympathizer of Mr. Narendra Modi in a column in newspaper, we need to ask tough question from our politicians rather than believing in spin given by their sympathizers . This is kind of vigilance we required to make politician accountable to general public. While many present their views through columns as done by one of MP in today’s paper on foreign policy but nuanced , critical public discourses on issues of relevance are largely missing from Indian Public life.

On the social front we have witnessed huge churning happening in last year which included mobilization on the issues of corruption, anti-rap protest. but we are yet to see any impact of these mobilization on actual social life. while reporting of corruption & rape cases may have gone up temporarily but we are hardly seeing any change of heart in general public or increased morality in public life. We have scant regard of sensibility of others. we are not used to think critically during our socialization process whether it is at home or in school and society.Only a enduring, sustained long term efforts on the parts of public to create awareness accompanied by institutional change can bring a societal transformation.

India is society of confrontation and conflict. There are ideological, political, religious, regional and caste based division present at every moment in every hook and corner of country ample evidence of which we see in form of communal violence(whether it is in J&K, UP or Assam), political blame-game( on transferring of bureaucrats to who is writing the speech ) , Caste rivalries or honour killing which are just another manifestation of existing wide gulf in different castes  in society, Regional movements for creation of new state of Telenagana, Gorkhaland , Bodoland & half a dozen others. This list is unending and ever expanding.

In spite of these division , conflict and confrontation, what had united the people living from Kashmir to Kanyakumari , Silchar to Porbander – this is Idea India and belief of people in this Idea of India. Some discomfort and struggle makes us comfortable & tough, removing every discomfort make the species fragile. e.g. extreme hygiene , by destroying the body’s natural ability to fight with germs and adapt to environment , we become vulnerable. we counter it by ingesting probiotics , the good ‘dirt’ that we denied the body in first place. Similarly we can’t just wished away from reality and live in a Utopian world but we can achieve a true Independence for India only if  the “common problems of India” could become “common concern for all”. This will create shared sense of understanding and give all of us a stake in progress of nation . only then we can prosper, develop and realize the true independence, independence from our ignorance, our hatredness towards other, independence from our parochial thinking , independence from dogmas, independence from bad habits and above all independence of mind.

Jai Hind Jai Bharat.

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