New Delhi, 22 September 2015: The government is in the process to accelerate reforms by pushing through crucial bills on land, GST, real estate and several other sectors, in the coming session of parliament, Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu said at the 41stSkoch Summit on Tuesday.
"You have to dream before your dreams can come true." This famous quote of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who himself turned his dream into a reality as a nuclear scientist and has "ignited" many minds with his ideas, is perhaps the most appropriate theme for present day India aspiring to become an economic and knowledge superpower.It is the culmination of the dreams of 1.2 billion people that has led Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ideate his plan of making the $2 trillion economy a $20 trillion behemoth within the next two decades, eradicating poverty and making India a knowledge society.
Nearly two years ago, INCLUSION ran a special edition featuring 'State of Governance' in which some well-known authors analysed the reasons behind some of the vexed issues confronting India like the dispartiies in development performance among states, shrivelled grassroots governance, barriers to social mobility and the frailties in the justice system. The series of articles underlined a fact that has not diminished in value-the acute need to "develop a credible framework for assessing quality of governance in various states that could possibly provide an agenda for governance reforms," as our Editorial put it.
Since independence, all governments of India have been committed to gradual rather than revolutionary means for spreading democratic and socialist principles (as attested notably by the Preamble to the Constitution of India). Independent India averted the revolutions (and most debates), which shaped the role of the state in the western world for some 500 years.
The British colonial administration brought in progressive developmental forces by bringing in education (Kindergarten to University) and railway networks for commercial exploitation of agricultural, forest and mineral resources and various social activists rose to the occasion with giants such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ranade, Gokhale, Phule, Dadabhai Naoroji, Pantulu, Sayyad Ahmed, Narayana Guru, Sane Guruji, Vidyasagar, Swami Vivekananda, etc.
The socio-economic development in India has been severely hampered because of the significant divide between the urban and the rural economy and a wide gap between the rich and the poor. While 30 per cent of the urban population has a wide range of remunerative employment opportunities, over 80 per cent of the rural population have to be dependent on a highly uncertain agricultural sector.
Whereas the number of poor can be fixed simply through a sample survey, identifying them would need visiting each and every household. While Planning Commission was the official agency to estimate the percentage of population below poverty line (BPL) once in five years based on the National Sample Survey on Consumption Expenditure, a Census to identify the BPL households has been conducted by the states through the Ministry of Rural Development of the Central Government three times (1992, 1997 and 2002) in the last 25 years.
Since taking over as Prime Minister last May, Narendra Modi has made several major announcements-smart cities, bullet trains, Digital India, Make in India, Jan Dhan, to name a few. Recently, he talked about taking India from a $2-trillion economy to a $20-trillion one. Of course, one day, some time in the future India will be a $20 trillion economy. But, what is the timeframe we should be looking at-15-20 years, 30 years or 40 years? In a subtle way, can India become a $20 trillion economy within a generation?