The pervasive theme this year was clearly that of 'Maximum Governance, Minimum Government' and the jury was happy to learn that all the states, which had sent in their nominations, stood firmly behind this talisman. The states sent in their entries under a variety of classifications. These were Health, Finance, e-Governance, Transport, Agriculture & Rural Development, Governance, Municipalities and Education.
Sometime back Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ambitious target of 175 GW by 2022 for renewable energy. India has a low consumption of energy and will need to increase it several fold in the coming decades. With the global community working on reducing carbon footprint and the commitment of each nation being already in public domain with the international community as Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), the pressures for improving energy efficiency and increasing share of non-fossil fuel generation has become more intense.
The Indian economy is largely dependent on cash. Only 5 per cent of the country's personal consumption expenditure is done electronically. A sharp acceleration of economic growth is not possible with such kind of dependence on cash. Overdependence on cash is a major hurdle and a radical thinking and coordinated efforts are needed to take electronic payments system to the masses.
As we embarked on a period of planning after independence, import substitution constituted a major component of India's trade and industrial policies. Planners, more or less, chose to ignore the option of foreign trade as a stimulant of economic growth. This was primarily due to the highly pessimistic view taken on the potential of export earnings.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines poverty as "the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions." However, poverty is not simply characterised by a lack of adequate income. It has far reaching implications.
To my mind, there cannot be any controversy or debate as to how to achieve inclusive growth. I think the experience of all developed and developing countries as well as India shows that in order to achieve inclusive growth we need to do five things.
The true challenge for India is to really to grow at 9-10 per cent per annum year after year for two decades of more to lift a vast section of population out of poverty. India has grown at those rates but grown relatively for a short period. Therefore, to have a sustained high growth for three decades, is a challenge. And these challenges will happen at a point when 700 million people in the 3-4 decades will move from rural to urban areas.
While six months is too short a period to judge the performance of a new government, Narendra Modi has rolled up his sleeves for a slew of reforms-some have been announced and implemented, some are getting framed and some caught up in administrative, political and legislative tangles.