Today, India possesses the fourth largest economy in the world and her prominence in the global economy is increasing even further. If predictions are to be believed, the PRC (People’s Republic of China) will surpass the US economy by 2020 even as India overtakes Japan to become #3. It goes further, with predications that India will overtake the US by 2050. It is only natural that we, being Indians, will approve these predictions. After all, these are in our favour. The experts, from around the world, have given obvious reasons – Second Largest Population, Increasing Business Opportunities, High Economic Growth, Power of Democracy (to overtake China)… and the list continues. The experts, from India, sing on the same tunes, though some of them also highlight the biggest challenges that India faces. Obviously, we prefer to hear people praising our country and hence, Indian media shows the same picture.
However, I believe that we, the youth, are the architects of the India as we see it 30 years from now. Yes, we have to our advantage those points, which were pointed out by experts worldwide, which will help us in achieving that. But, these favourable points are not enough. As architects of Modern India, we need to know and address the grave problems that our motherland faces today.
To Help us understand and address these problems, Ramachandra Guha, a historian and biographer based in Bangalore, listed the 10 major challenges that the Republic of India faces today, which should be overcome if we want the above predictions to hold true. Though this list is not exhaustive, it still states some of the serious problems.
The entire talk given by him can be accessed here,
In case you intend to watch the video, which I strongly recommend, here is some info which might come handy:
- The video is 1 hour 23 mins long
- Ramachandra Guha starts explaining the 10 major challenges from 12 min 30 secs onwards.
- After he finishes explaining them, he lists them again. (at 1 hour 2 mins 20 secs)
- The Round of Queries begins at 1 hour 8 mins
But since the talk is quite long, I will give you a brief highlight of the same below. There is also a brief description for the points which may not be entirely clear by the headlines itself.
1. Left Wing Maoist Insurgency (includes tribals, naxalites etc.)
2. Currently recessive but ever present Right Wing Religious Fundamentalists (includes BJP, the RSS etc)
3. Decline and corruption of democratic centre and Conversion of Political parties into family firms.
No person in our country is a stranger to the corruption that prevails in our country today. We may be trying to set everything right using tools like LokPal but the required efforts go much beyond that. At the same time, everyone is familiar with the family business called ‘Political Party‘. While, these Parties were born with genuine problems to be addressed, their heirs seem to have somewhat lost track. (e.g. Kanimozhi, suspect in 2G Scam, is the daughter of DMK supremo M. Karunanidhi)
(Interesting Read : The Curious Case of Rahul Gandhi )
4. Degradation of Public Institutions
5. Growing gap between the Rich and Poor
6. Rapid pace of Domestic Environmental Degradation
Some of which include
- Rates of pollution in Indian Cities amongst the highest in the world
- Major Rivers are dead
- Short Sighted agricultural policies which have led to groundwater level depletion below safe limits.
- Waste disposal (which includes Nuclear Disposal)
7. Apathy of the Media
The Indian media, which had a major role in nurturing nationalism during the time of Independence and in furthering the idols of Indian Democracy post-independence, plays a less than optimal role in addressing the present day issues. Media is more concerned about readership, TRP and wealth and concentrates unnecessarily on Celebrities and Superstardom.
8. Political Defragmentation & Policy Incoherence
Though, it is justified to say that two party or three party system cannot take care of each community and represent each problem effectively. But today, because of the huge number of such parties, at the time of election, it is very unlikely that a single party will form a clear majority. Hence, the parties require coalition with smaller parties. These small parties tend to ask for most profitable ministries in return of the coalition. The Multiparty coalition is a constraint against rational far sighted policy making. It merely becomes the gateway to corruption in the government.
9. Unreconciled Border lands
While the majority of Indians are proud to call themselves Indian, there are few people from states like Kashmir, Nagaland and Manipur, who are more inclined towards converting these states into independent nations.
10. Extremely Unstable Neighbourhood
It is natural that quite a lot of us will tend to disagree with these problems classifying them as not-important or not-critical or an exaggeration of a nominal issue. But, Mr Guha is not the sole person to believe that the road to superstardom for India faces these many challenges. There are many other notable figures, like Amartya Sen, who have stated similar problems.
Similarly, an interesting perspective has been presented in the Economist, where the GDP of Indian states are compared with GDP of nations.
(Check it out here – Comparing Indian states and territories with countries | The Economist)
Hence, addressing these problems is the first step towards building the Modern India that we dream of. Since, most of these problems can only be addressed by the state, the role of the citizens is to choose the right people to represent them i.e. the right politicians. Additionally, The citizens and the media need to create awareness about the same and ensure that due attention is given to it by the state.
Do what you can to contribute.
Help spread the words.
Do share your views on the same and suggestions if you have any.
Featured Image – A day in photos (Aug 9, 2009) Slide 28 | Washingtonpost.com