Indian economy has in recent years come of age by clocking 9%+ growth rates for three consecutive years from 2005-2007, before being struck by impact of recession and slowing to 6.7% in 2008 and is expected to grow at 7.2% in 2009. For the financial year 2010-11, indian economy by its resilient recovery and prosperous domestic strength is expected to clock above 8.5% and then eventually moving back to 9% growth rates in following years, perhaps this is first time in our history we stand at verge of crossing over to 10%+ growth rates, sustained for long.In the decade, 2010-2019, india is set to overtake china to become world’s fastest growing big economy .The high growth rates is a great advantage for india’s low per capita incomes, since the per capita incomes too will grow at minimum 8% if GDP is sustained at above 10%. Growing per capita incomes means , richer india, and richer india means higher consumerism, better standard of living, and better services. India is going to be a market no one can longer tend to ignore, the Airbus, Volkswagens, Walmarts, Siemens, Goldman Sachs , you name a big MNC, and you will find it competing for a place in india. And perhaps not only MNC’s, this will be a decade for our domestic industries and companies, Airtel, ICICI Bank, HAL(DRDO, ISRO), NALCO, NMDC, Reliance, Tata Group, Infosys, ONGC, all would be at par with the big MNC, perhaps defeating the IBM, BP, Vodafone, etc.
It will be a decade , millions of indians will get employment opportunities, poverty rates decreasing, power deficit narrowing and banking becoming revolutionary. it will be a decadew when we will go to space, we will have indigenous weapon technologies, world class retail stores, superb airports, railways, and expressways, finally we will have infrastructure we so much envy for looking at west.But all this is still a nascent dream that has to be nortured and realized with great prudence, vision and efficacy.And lets be realistic on ground that we face challenges too, that makes our dream of glory overshadowed by misfortunes of poverty, disease, and corruption.I believe poverty in india is not the biggest challenge we face today, it is provision of basic services of food, health care and education to the poor that we have to take care of.Our growth rates , make it easier and key technological progress in IT services that we have made, in mobile connectivity revolution shall help the policy makers in the coming years to target specific poverty alleviation schemes e.g direct cash transfers.
Taxation reforms round the corner , like DTC, And GST shall help in putting more money in hands of people and help higher savings and investments. We have been a large consuming nation , with consumption rates in excess of 60%, this though has helped domestic industries and multinations to bring in vast quantity of products for all, has hurted our savings and exports for long.Only in recent times has the trend started to change , with savings rates climbing to 35%+ and investments rate peaking at 37%. Our exports are growing at 20%+ and we are expected to reach 5% of world merchandise trade.FDI , FII and remittances have been strong and will continue to swell our capital account over and above the current account, thus helping in having positive foreign exchange reserves.
Going into the new decade we face challenges of raising agricultural productivity, yields per hectare and also bringing in technologies to agriculture that help use our limited water resources in effective way, so that we dont just over use and have fate of agri basket of india, Punjab ending as barren land in distant future, newer and better techonlogies of irrigation are a must, and hence should be agricultural investment encouraging innovations, we have to shift agricultural labour to more productive activities of manufacturing .We have to become self sufficient in grains, pulses and edible oils, and have huge stock reserves of crops to feed the poor at subsidised rates that can be afforded.
Power sector though has made progress in connecting villages to grid, but we face deficits of 12% that makes the line feeding limited to only a few hours a day, in cities let alone villages, and a reason for that has been that we didnt invest much in infrastructure projects of which power forms a major chunk, and private sector has been away from this because of huge capital investment and longer gestation periods, but as we approach the decade we have a dozen of private players competing for a name , aiming higher and higher production , building plants of 2000 MW and even bidding for UMPPs of 4000 MW, we have nuclear deal signed , giving us access to civilian nuclear energy market and thus allowing imports of nuclear reactors from advanced nuclear countries, which will help us achieve in excess of 20 GW by 2020, wind energy , where we should be proud as we rank amongst the top 5 countries and have a world leader domestic firm SUZLON producing power equipment. And is perhaps the most opptimistic sector in renewable energy generation where we are bound to achieve success. Solar energy being expensive , has so far been only a minority contributor, but with increasing energy innovations , efforts are on to make it cheap , and we have the biggest potential to produce energy from solar and photovoltaic mirrors.No wonder we need 370GW energy production by 2017 to have peak deficit down to manageable conditions , meaning we have a colossal task in lifting generation from present 160 GW, majority of which will come through coal fired plants .Since no matter what we owe responsibilty to environment , we must invest in clean coal technologies and target in reducing emissions.
Our urban infrastructure is in shambles today, congested and on brink of collapse, needs massive investments given the pace of urbanisation. We need to build not only highways, but upgrade them every now and then to expressways and link ways.Given our automobile sector growth, we can’t depend on roads as the most primary source of transportation in developed india, there is need for mass transit system , that be clean, efficient and quick.We need metro rails, airports, and latest mass transit sytems to carry millions every day to work in our huge cities to be emerging , with population sof above 4 million.We need rural connectivity with better roads, railways so that we can connect with cities and provide food, fertilisers and necessary supplies.
Our defence from external threat is best safeguarded by not only powerful million plus armed forces, but by powerful armed forces equipped with latest weaponary. I strongly support armed forces modernisation, newer jets, naval vessels and tanks and missiles should be both acquired and produced domestically.But wre should keep it in our mind , that we modernise our forces only for defence of our territory from aggression and not to use them self interested offensive plans. And so we should try to allay fears of our arms build up to our adversaries who will like to competer in arms race with us, thus damaging regional security.
Education sector , has seen a spurt in urban india, with enrollment ratio in higher education improving, but still overall GER is about 11%, way low when compared to economies we want to compete with in East Asia, who have 35% GER, India has the best demographic dividend to go into the coming decades, but what use will it be, if youth ends up illiterate, it will only add fuel to insurgency , and old false ideological activities of lenin ad marxism, we need educated youth , and employment opportunities to employ them , target should be to raise GER to about 30% in coming decade , and also focus on quality of education , rather than mere quantity , open up lucrative research institutes and encourage students to do research and publish papers and journals.We need patents and innovation, and quality education system is the only thing that can accelerate skill development and rapid industrialisation .
- Relatively of 6 years of UPA and BJP each over the last 12 years time frame, BJP has increased MSP of only 2 crops i.e, Gram, Rapeseed considerably over what UPA has done in its 6 years since 2004.
- If increases in MSP over 6 years of each coalitions are compared, it is quite clear that magnitude of increase in UPA is far larger than NDA years.
- From above observations it can be understood that , not only UPA has given farmers incentives to good income via, loan wavers and easy credit but also higher incomes
- The menace of Food inflation that people( consumers) complain about is partly due to higher MSP given by UPA, but it is ironic that nations middle class wants to enjoy higher incomes every 5 years by protests , demanding better pay scales, from 5th pay scale to 6th , and average 8-10% increase in incomes in private sector yet they are not willing to pay a little more for food crops, so that farmers too enjoy better incomes.
- We as a nation’s big consuming class , owe responsibilty to farmers to make them inclusive to benefits of growth , and development india is witnessing over last 6 years, and we can do that if we contribute part of our increased incomes, to farmers , rather than complain about higher food prices.
- Food inflation occurs either because of supply scarcity or higher food prices as is the case of recent food inflation. Also Now with increased MSP of food items over last 6 years, the government had to provide huge subsidies to meet the set MSP, currently subsidy bill in fiscal 2009-10 was 72000 crores, and from budgetary point of view subsidies are just give aways , that add to deficits, which is surely not good thing to have.Subsidy arises in case market price of these commodities is lower than MSP, the government is then forced to buy all the produce at MSP and then sell in market at lower price. In the process it bears loss as it has to buy at higher prices from farmers and sell at lower prices in market.
- To ensure farmers get better incomes, the subsidy bill of government will continue to grow, if the sale prices in market are not increased .Hence comes the food inflation, which we consumers and BJP protests, saying it is anti farmer.The reality is that last 6 years have been one of the best years for farmers of india, baring drought period of last year.
- So food prices have to be hiked in order to reduce the subsidy bill , and i support paying a little more for food in short term, because after 5-6 years, it will lead to increased productivity of farmers, better crop yields and higher production, to bring down the prices and reduce the impact of droughts and floods on food prices.
Only healthy and profitable conditions of farming can encourage farmers to increase area and yield of production , and UPA has tried to do that via better incomes supports for farmers.
In any democratic setup, political parties arise by drawing strength from votebanks created on basis of pro people specific issues like populist politics on religion, caste, development, secularism etc.But there is a flaw in this setup , as people unknowingly in return end up votring for too many parties , which results in a fractured verdict of the people and a handicapped government on lots of issues , as to prevail consensus eludes.This has been story of indian politics since 1990, and perhaps we are worse than some other multiparty democracies of west as our opposition parties also have only one capability and that is to protest , oppose and defame government on whatever policy initiative it takes.No wonder why we had seven Prime ministers since 1990 when we should have had just four.
Also the fractured governance for me is one of the biggest challenge india faces in 21st century.We can not afford it, as it is unreliable, unwilling and a lethargic government that will always fail to meet the expectations of reforms.It is sad that people blame government after government on failing to meet expectations and still continue to elect a government that stands on double edged sword of unrelenting opposition on one hand from opposition parties and also its coalition partners for support to meet required numbers for wining trust votes and continue to govern.Strange that we people have made a political party winning 180-200 seats beg for support from parties winning just 10 seats to continue governance.A pathetic state.
Who is to blame? I blame the people of india , the youth , the middle class, the elites, and the poor for all of them have visualised a different sense of government policies suiting their self interests, rather than thinking for the interests of the nation. If we continue to pursue our own self interests above and over the interests of the nation , i am afraid we might never become a powerful respectable nation.
I urge the readers and people of india to choose a political discourse in the name of development of the nation and benchmark which political party of the two big , INC and BJP they want to vote for against their performance in reality. I am going to vote for pro inclusive growth party and so i vote for INC, whom do you?
More quickly do we limit the rise of smaller parties onto centre stage , better we secure the future of india and more efficient we make the governance process, Lets unite indians to give mandate to rule to a political party on its own, without needing support of allies, Lets vote indians for 272+ seats for a single party, Lets vote for 2014, Lets vote for INC.
There are 4 issues nurturing the rivalry between these two nation that i will be analysing. First is disputed status of state of Jammu And Kashmir, second is Political rhetoric of distrust and blame game, third is arms race and fourth is Terrorism .
Jammu And Kashmir was a princely states at the time of partition of india, hence had the option to go with either India, Pakistan or remain independent.The ruler of the state at that timeMaharaja Hari Singh decided to buy some time before he can make decision and entered a stand by agreement with viceroy of india Lord Mountbatten.Before he can make any decision, tribesman backed by Pakistan invaded J&K , the ruler disheartened by the attack, pleaded for help to Lord Mountbatten , who agreed on condition that ruler accede to india and entered an agreement of accession with india.Thus J&K became a state of india and hence indian defence forces defended against aggression of pakistan and saved state of J&K from being occupied by pakistan, though pakistan had already occupied a part of J&K before indian forces had arrived for defence of J&K, india claims that part to be illegaly occupied by pakistan and calls it POK- pak occupied Kashmir. Pakistan on the otherside claims that there was no agreement between ruler and india and hence india is illegaly occupying and calls indian state of J&K as IHK – Indian held Kashmir.
J&K is central issue of rivalry between two neighbours. Pakistan’s ambitions of claiming IHK, has led to three wars between india and pakistan, in all the three wars india won and defended the state of J&K from being seized by pakistan.Having failed in direct confrontations with india, pakistan continues to try indirect means like insurgency, separatism and terrorism.State of affairs between the two nations has harmed the people of J&K the most, and this has led to growth of separatist movement in J&K, with section of people demanding to make J&K an independent country.
Some possible solutions to solving the problem of J&K could be , autonomy to the whole state of J&K IHK and POK with special arrangements, acceptance of status quo by both the nations, holding of plebiscite as promised to decide the fate of J&K i.e people deciding whether it goes with india or pakistan and lastly independence of whole state of J&K IHK and POK.
Among all the above listed solutions i find autonomy to the whole state of J&K as the best solution , followed by acceptance of status quo as second most favoured solution and holding of plebiscite as the third most favoured solution.Independence of J&K as proposed by separatists is the worst solution since an independent kashmir will become a soft centre of attraction of enemies of India and hence a national security threat and centre of escalation of rivalry rather than bringing peace.
Autonomy to the state of J&K- If somehow leaders of both the countries agree to make whole state of J&K an autonomous region with democratic set up i.e people of J&K electing their own government which derieve it’s powers from a constitution based upon secular, democratic , pacifist fundamentals.The only thing this autonomous state must lack is sovereignty and hence exercise of diplomatic relations with other countries and defence forces of it’s own and be a de-militarised region keeping just a police force consisting of it’s own people. The problem with this solution is that political parties emanating from india and pakistan to contest elections can start pro india or pro pakistan rhetorics when in power respectively and hence hamper the chances of winning of each other.A sort of thing that all political parties do be it congress-bjp in india or PDP-PML in pakistan.Politicians are always greedy for power they cross every limit to gain power.Hence the constituion of autonomous state must come with a strong rider that any party having a pro pakistan or pro india or pro separatism stance be barred from fighting elections.Only pro people and pro development party be allowed to contest elections and hatred campaign and propoganda be barred.This solution can also work as a catalyst for normalisation of relation of india and pakistan and if it goes successful maybe both nations work towards political and economic reunion before 2047 to celebrate 100th year of their partition as years of reunion.
Acceptance of Status Quo:-To accept present boundaries of state of J&K as final and hence normalise relations abd build trust , de militarise the region, and give autonomy to respective regions they hold. But the problem with this solution is that neither of two is so far willing to accept status quo especially more so in pakistan’s case. Holding a plebiscite :- this would make whole state of J&K go to either of two countries and hence isn’t a good idea since there are sentiments attached and is a matter of national pride.Peopleof J&K rather than voting to go with a single country , must aim to go with a united india and pakistan. Political rhetoric and blame game is what sometimes limits the progress of any effort we make in confidence building.Politicians should act responsibly and stop this blame game.They should rather work towards development of the state and address the needs of the people who elect them.Moreover opposition political parties must be barred and penalized for making irresponsible statements and people should be made aware to criticise politicians and not vote such rhetoric politicians to power.
Arms Race- The sense of insecurity of pakistan because of large size of indian conventional forces has led to nuclearization of S.Asia.Both these countries until now mainly have nuclear arsenals, other conventional missiles and tanks that are specifically targetted at each other.This has led to extreme insecurity in whole of S.Asia, as any war between the two can possible be disastrous.But none on each side seems to realize this fact.For a peaceful S.Asia both india and pakistan must first solve issue of J&K peacefully and then move towards collective security alliance for whole of S.Asia.The armies and arsenals of two rather than being targeted at each other must work together for security against aggression emanating from outside.Pakistan must realize that a strong india in 21st century is vital for its security interests and is not a threat to it.Both the nations must come forward with peace treaties vowing not to use armed forces, conventional or nuclear arsenals against each other ,i.e vowing not to fight again ever , and sign treaties and agreements to shared and disciplined joint security alliance.India has to be the first to propose such a solution to allay fears in the minds of pakistan of intimidation and threat posed by india’s superiority in conventional and nuclear forces.A united S.Asian security force consisting of armies, navies and airforce of all SAARC members with nuclear sharing for defence of S.Asia .Both countries should work for global nuclear disarmament, and put pressure on U.S.A, Russia and China and others to give up nuclear weapons.Only a nuclear free world can be a place of lasting peace and progress and S.Asia should make every effort for it.