As a reforms historian, I had seen the situation of Indian economy in the last phase of Congress Government which was engulfed with policy paralysis and stagnant economy and therefore in reassuring the peoples' faith bestowed on him-Modi had to take several bold steps and one of it -is demonetization.
"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.
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?
A chain, they say, is only as strong as its weakest link. How then are societies and economies grow successfully without safeguarding and strengthening their weakest members?
Under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), India along with other developing countries, has committed to eradicate extreme poverty. The deadline to achieve the goal is 31st December 2015. However, according to a recent United Nations report, nearly 300 million people still live in extreme poverty in India and face deprivation in terms of access to basic services, including education, health, water and sanitation.
I am in politics for over 35 years. Since early days we have been talking about poverty alleviation. "Garibi Hatao" (remove poverty) slogan was given in early 1970s. Since then a number of schemes have been introduced aimed at removing poverty. I am not saying that nothing has happened. But surely the pace has not been good.
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.
It was a prudent move for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revive the e-governance scheme with renewed vigour. As Gujarat chief minister, he has used IT as a tool to improve governance not just at the top level but also at the grassroots levels. It is the success in Gujarat that emboldened him to implement the e-governance scheme at the national level.