The India We Must Deliver

article

There’s no disagreement over India’s potential or the direction in which to take it, the problems lie in the choices our political class choose to make, in a flawed administrative system characterized by graft and the lack of strategic thinking across government . BY Vice Admiral Venkat Bharathan(IN) Retd.

There comes a time when it is no more about who is right or wrong, but on “What” is needed in our country. Seven decades of Independence, an exemplary sustenance of our secular sovereignty, makes our country confident that India too “Can” look after itself as a stable democracy on the overarching principle of Unity in Diversity.

India no doubt needs a “make over” through Make in India across domestic social cultural traditional norms; through technology, innovation, methodologies, eclecticism on time; in inter- intra synergy of the politico-economic-bureaucratic-military-diplomatic combine; on national governance, security and military readiness management and in striving to honour the fundamental guarantees and rights of our people enshrined in our Constitution

The above requires our political parties to shift from ideology to implementation on what India needs

THE PRESENT

Our country has a ruling party with absolute majority. The prime minister appears more a Politico-icon than a Politician! In fact, at the present moment, he enjoys tremendous international support and goodwill along with strategic fiscal investment. The global Indian diaspora too believe that India has a providential opportunity to turn itself into a vibrant secular democracy under the shepherding visionary leadership of Narendra Modi. The crescendo of consequent heightened expectation is reflected and refracted throughout the country as well as abroad.

In effect, India is at a political cross road which could be ‘India’s Pilgrimage to Destiny’, that would include an all-party inclusive approach by the present leadership; or a fatalistic ‘Burdened Journey to Nowhere’, which would characterize the government as exclusive and stand-alone, relying more on autocracy rather than collectiveness in the context of managing this complex democracy, enabling growth, development and looking after its people. Let’s look at both approaches

PILGRIMAGE TO DESTINY

Our nation’s pilgrimage to its rightful destiny needs focus on:

- The vital and essential dynamics of nation management, economic and human development.

- Critically tenuous, internal and external security situation and hence on readiness of its military and security structures.

- Strategic focus on the imperatives of maritime governance for maximizing wealth creation opportunities through our uniquely combined continental and coastal geography.

- Maximizing it’s youthful energetic human resources through real Make in India manufacture realms; a vibrant competent industrial complex able to counter, stem and compete with the continuous inundation of China-made goods into the country.

- Rapid creation of relevant infrastructure pan India

- Renovating “Renewing and Energizing” rural India alongside retention and growth of its greening agricultural “mien.”

- Improving aggregate health indices of its burgeoning population by breathing life into its thousands of desolate villages.

- Encouraging its eclectic ethnic, cultural, traditional and social evolution.

- Creating and facilitating, facile transparent open source administrative, judicial, municipal and corporate access to its teeming millions as part of its Rules of Administration and constituent policy.

- Enforcing civic, societal discipline in cooperation with the leadership of all national and local political parties. Empowering police forces to enforce law and order through legislation and effective public relations.

- Build awareness of the India big picture vision

BURDENED FATALISTIC JOURNEY TO NOWHERE

The question that is to be asked is should India diminish and disappoint itself by misplaced focus on the following:

- Misguided, misunderstood and misinterpreted dogmas of caste creed religion, social and cultural habits.

- Short term populistic and cost prohibitive issues of reservation, subsidies and infructuous schemes.

- Rightist insecurities of a few rabid Hindus and Muslims who fail to appreciate the spiritual essence of this holy land that has spawned over many centuries, a multicultural, ethnic, traditional, modern blend of Live and Let Live.

- Misinformed and uneducated political leadership leading local populace astray to miss the forest of opportunities for a few trees and that too barren.

ADMINISTRATIVE FLAWS

One hundred fifty years of British dominance, while beneficial in many dimensions, has also left behind a mammoth millstone of opacity in rules regulations to be administered by authorities who enjoy job security. The Central and State governments over the years continue to hold back when it comes to implementing information technologies lest they lose their privileged status and centralized command and control.

India No Doubt Needs A “Make Over” Through Make In India Across Domestic Social Cultural Traditional Norms; Through Technology, Innovation, Methodologies, Eclecticism On Time; In Inter- Intra Synergy Of The Politico-Economic-Bureaucratic-Military-Diplomatic Combine

Several administrative commissions have not been able to introduce transparency and relative simplicity for facile and direct access to it’s people for their essential living needs; commerce and industry for business processes, foreign entities to trade with India, decentralize and delegate, empower and enable the hierarchy to be performance and productivity-oriented instead of being people pleasing and “graft” habituated!

Current government rules of business either by default or design do not clearly and unambiguously, specify areas of responsibility and accountability. Resultantly, the decision making is invariably diffused and consequently delayed. Time and cost over runs are common place in most projects with attendant management inefficiencies and collateral malfeasances.

MODI WALKING HIS TALK- SIMPLE STEPS

Eighteen months of ‘MODI TALK’ is full of potential promise. It is time that results on the ground can be palpably sensed. Pragmatic imperative nurturing steps are needed to prod and provoke, inspire and incentivize India and its leaders and managers across the spectrum of nation management.

There has to be a dynamic review of the Constitution for articles to be rewritten to include “Authority- Responsibility and Direct Accountability”z by authorities holding office, especially on matters of sovereign and national importance

The government needs to optimize informed higher decision dynamics across the span and spectrum of governance administration, fiscal, foreign military and security policies. It only needs integrated mechanisms culled out of existing organizations. Effective and efficient usage of robust information technology systems should be mandated by Act of Parliament.

The government has to introduce capability-oriented Make in India plans in partnership consensus and collaboration with public and private entities. It must institute dynamic audits on state of combat, operational, maintenance, logistics and inter-operable readiness of military, security, paramilitary police and Intelligence forces with the focus on integrating cost effective mechanisms.

MARITIME INDIA

Only on the oceans lie India’s hopes. Maritime infusion has to be eclectic in approach and attitude. Commerce is the critical tipping point. Its security has to be ensured across the spectrum of trade, infrastructure, organization and through military protection. A robust and vibrant sea power is the catalytic need to sustain and accelerate the present growth rate of India.

The Indian Ocean is a maritime common that is the focus of great interest by several countries, USA, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, among a host of others are our maritime neighbours in presence and influence. Our response, apart from being diplomatic, has to be physical in the maritime arena. The Indian Navy does enjoy considerable reach with long sea legs. The Coast Guard and the merchant marine are continuously expanding. These augur well. What is needed is only focused optimization through dynamic coordination. India cannot afford to abdicate its rightful maritime suzerainty.

The question that now begs asking in whether the Indian Navy can fulfill its role in India’s imperative maritime military matrices. If not, can a completely maritime dependent India afford to discount this? Our domination by European powers was through the sea with lasting colonial scars. Should we allow history to repeat itself? The start point is maritime governance that brings together all stake holders in peace. Only then can we maximize the use of the sea to great advantage.

Decentralize and de-bureaucratize, outdated ineffective and cost prohibitive governmental control mechanisms in both the Centre and States on the foundation principles of granting access and guaranteeing security of people wellness and their inalienable rights as India’s citizens.

INDIA MAKE OVER

Makeover only requires ‘Our’ to become India specific! It means enforcing discipline in public life of both people and rulers across the spectrum of society. Dynamic, accountable, innovative management practices through pragmatic governance and expert consultation. This is already happening in parts of the country.

There’s need to spread awareness of citizenship and public official responsibility through the media and use of information, communication technology. We must get the bureaucracy, military, para-military and police forces to work in synergy Promulgated rules of business can ensure this.

Strategically strengthen the Political, Executive and Judicial triad to improve higher decision making matrices towards nation building and management.

THE POTENTIAL

We are a land of plenty with people whose needs are greater than wants, yet willing followers in search of good leaders. Prayer and faith keeps us intact as a nation, guided by the genesis of spirituality unique to our earth and our soil. We have politicians, leaders, planners in many nation building facets who can be inspired to deliver.

We have a society that constantly adjusts and accommodates itself to the astonishment of itself and others, systems that are becoming robust, a bureaucracy that is a basket of wealth which needs to be used with responsible, answerable vigour; an apolitical military committed to democracy and sovereignty; a mature judiciary with constitutional consciousness; an industry of world standards growing by leaps and bounds; technology prowess with enormous potential and most important, a youthful demography that is prepared to deliver.

It is no more about what the political leadership Can do, but more about what it Needs to do.

Summary

  • Not for the first time India is at the crossroads in the New Year between realizing its potential or descending the depths
  • The problems are well known including the cupidity of our political class, administrative inefficiency and graft and lack of strategic thinking
  • The question is whether India can surmount these barriers, cultivate discipline and use technology to bring transparency, accountability and good governance
  • Taming-the--lion-in-his-lair

    Taming the lion in his lair

    There are six degrees of separation between any two individuals. Or, so the thinking goes. In economic parlance, there are also six degrees of separa...

    The-Only-Man-in-Her-Cabinet

    The Only ‘Man’ in Her Cabinet

    She had a short but very tumultuous life. Had she been alive, the country would be celebrating her birth centenary on November 19 this year. Indira G...

    She-had-found-inner-peace

    “She had found inner peace”

    T o write about Indira Gandhi in a short article is virtually impossible. My correspondence with her, published by Penguin entitled ‘Kashmir and...

    Superbly-bold-highly-charming

    Superbly bold, highly charming!

    Indira Gandhi would have found a place in history as one of the greatest Prime Ministers but for her declaring Emergency in June 1975, and for allowi...

     
    The-Bounce-Back

    The Bounce Back

    I am in politics for the past 65 years and have been in the Congress since the beginning. I was a minister in Bihar and at that time Yashpal ...

    the-making-of-babas

    The Making of Babas

    Baba-turned black sheep Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan has done his best to erode public faith in spiritual leaders: he is convicted of rape, charged w...

    Baba-Neta-Parivar

    The Baba-Neta Parivar

    Couple of images will be etched in public memory forever. Like top BJP leaders including then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Deputy Prime Minist...

    Big-Baba-Business--

    Big Baba Business

    Cash and property. These were the two basic commercial foundations of a Godman’s spiritual and religious empire. Cash came from fame and trust – b...

    magzine-cover
    ads