INDIA TURNS 70 AND THE MISSIONS AHEAD
India has reached its 70 years of independence that was hard-fought and was not given on a platter to us by the British. In fact, when we open the annals of history, we do not miss out the details of the fatal lathi blow which Lala Lajpat Rai took on his head and the manner in which Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose organized the final assaults on the colonial raj. The sacrifices of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev along with the great revolutionaries like Chandrasekhar Azad and Khudiram Bose and countless others gave us what we are today. A sovereign, free and democratic India!
India has to fulfill the aspirations of its 1.25 lakh crores proud citizens and in this solemn moment of reaching our seven decades of freedom, we analyze how much have we attained since 1947. It should be a matter of special concern for us to realize where we stand now and what should be struck down from our system, so as to be on the pedestal of a great nation.
In the 70 th year of our independence, Pakistan managed to beat India not in GDP or literacy rate, but in the height of their flag, which they hoisted on a 400 ft pole, while India unfurled theirs on a 360 ft pole.
However, India’s literacy indicators are quite bright as it has made great advancement in improving its life expectancy and also its literacy. In 2015, seven out of 10 Indians aged above 15 years, were able to read plus write a short, plain statement that concerned their daily activities with understanding as per the figures laid out by the United Nations.
Though literacy, has been on the rise the further challenge lies in making learning as an empowerment tool and bringing higher productivity. One thing is for sure, that the nature of learning is all set to transform in the coming five years, due to e-learning and digital transformation.
Higher Income level
In the past 56 years, India’s income has soared up 21 times, but the progress is slower compared to China and Malaysia. After 1991, the per capita GDP developed at an average of 7.5% per year.
The World Bank figures have revealed that the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita that represents the average income of every citizen and the welfare of its population rose 21 times from Rs 1,705 during 1960 to Rs 1,14,530 in 2016. However, this progress is comparatively slower than China, Malaysia, South Korea and Brazil.
No Vote-Bank Politics
The time has arrived to stop for once and all the vote-bank politics that has crippled India since independence. The need of the hour is nation-building and in an outward looking nation the minority have to give up their ghetto politics and move on similar lines with the rest of India.
Patronizing the Muslim community as a vote bank as has been followed by some political parties as their path to power is detrimental to the larger interests of the country and even the Muslims themselves. They should themselves move forward beyond the inertia produced by vote bank politics. It is up to them to empower themselves with education and articulation and be a part of the democratic space of India and join the mainstream instead of being letting them be used as vote bank symbols.
No Dalit Politics
Politics should move beyond caste identities and in fact Dalit politics should be one of integration into the majoritarian polity, rather than challenging it. There should be an overall upward mobility for them by receiving acceptance and there should be no place whatsoever, for the abstract concept of annihilating them.
An interdependent relation between the upper caste and the Dalits is the need of the hour for a strong India. Though they have mobilized by various political parties and various subdivisions like OBCs (Other Backward Classes and Extremely Backward or Most Backward Classes designations have been given to them , the real interests lie in moving out from the social backwardness level and join the majoritarian political system.
The only aspiration that India feels on its 70 th independence should be that the Dalits are also as much a portion of its growth story as the conventional upper castes and the rest of its citizens. The language of caste has to be completely destroyed from the face of India.
Fastest Developing Economy
We have placed ourselves as the fastest developing economy of the world due to the policy of reforms and liberalization followed from the last 25 years. In fact, the last 3 years has seen rapid reforms in the form of the launching of the goods and services tax (GST) , the expansion of the tax net and helping in the ease of doing business process.
Our economic development is also assured under reforms like the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, throwing open sectors to direct foreign investments and from efforts like Make in India, Smart Cities, Digital India and the port- driven development Sagarmala project to harness India’s coastline of 7,500 kms. The targets for 2022 are numerous like the renewable energy objective of 175 gigawatts and the project of housing for all. The recent address of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to the nation has marked a national resolve to make a new nation by the end of 2022.
Clean India like its Western Counterparts
We have to get this straight, that the Clean India mission should be the responsibility of every 1.2 billion Indians also along with the government. It is a point worth thinking that if we Indians can reach Mars at a low cost, why can’t we tidy up our neighborhoods with a little patriotism for our country. After all, Mahatma Gandhi also reposed great faith on the power of cleanliness.
It is within the Centre’s plan to invest Rs 2 lakh crore within a five year period to clean India totally by 2019 to coincide with Gandhiji’s 150 th birth anniversary.
Removal of Article 370 & Article 35 (A)
The time has come for the removal of Article 370 that grants a special status to the Jammu & Kashmir state. It is this article that has put India on the back foot and has alienated Kashmir from India. This article does go against India’s interest and is in letter and spirit a separatist article which has to go.
Likewise, Article 35 (A) prohibits non J&K state residents to purchase or settle property in J&K. Though, the issue is under the Supreme Courts radar, yet this privilege should no longer remain and every citizen of India should be allowed to hold or dispose property even in J&K similar to the provision as permitted throughout India.
Actually, what one sees is that the only manner of ending the Kashmir conflict is by removing its special status that has made it alienate itself from the mainstream and by allowing people to settle from outside the state along with the authority to hold land and property and even exercise franchise in the elections to its assembly. This special status given to Kashmir is indeed a roadblock towards national integration which the political powers in Kashmir does not allow it to happen. Their divisive politics has to uprooted for the intent of building a strong and unified India.
Further, power has to be drawn from the Indian Constitution and not from the J&K constitution which has to be stopped from blatant misuse.
Tightest Leash On Corruption and Black Money
Though demonetization helped in removing money stacked from corruption and different economic activity and on which payment of tax had been evaded. However, this move did attack the accumulation process and the stock and the removal of present black money. It has also affected terrorism and trafficking that blossomed from the counterfeit currencies and unaccounted wealth accumulation.
But this ongoing drive to fight corruption and black money has brought back three lakh crores into our banking system and the mission must go on to return back home the ill-gotten wealth stacked in foreign safe havens and banks. It is our nationalistic pride that we are ready to persevere and bear with difficulties so that our nation’s money is brought back and utilized towards infrastructure and outstanding works of public utility.
The black money of Indians in Swiss banks is to the tune of 1.3 trillion dollars and don’t you think this is enough to create ten Americas?
High Sports Index
A nation’s progress is also measured by the global standards of its sporting facilities and infrastructure and its capacity to host mammoth sporting events like the Olympics and International sporting tournaments.
India should also have a high sports index and sports funding and sponsorship that are considered as indices for a nation’s progress.
These were some of the Independence Day resolutions that we want our great country to imbibe and rise to glorious heights that it is hugely capable of. We salute this land of matchless diversity and once again ask what we can do for our country as its proud citizens.