After a tryst with destiny 70 years back India is said to have now finally arrived at a take off stage to achieve the dreams and aspirations of its people.
The nation is witnessing an upsurge of youth power bubbling with enthusiasm and confidence.
It is not out of context to state here that the present government at the Centre got elected on a massive mandate from electorate consisting in abundance of young, mostly first time, voters.
India has traversed a long way since the attainment of independence. The leadership of the party which guided the destiny of the nation for a number of electoral terms was obviously inclined towards socialism and adopted a model of planned development pursuing mixed economy with huge state sector investment. But the state machinery was not equipped and even prepared to own the mammoth task.
State intervention was needed and it initially paid dividends because we could not do without it as the big investments were not possible from private sector.
We witnessed the first decade of independent India as full of hope and aspiration for change in socio economic situations that has been stagnant for historic reasons. There was superb enthusiasm and confidence among the people of the new republic that they would change their destiny. However, the following decades proved to be the period of disillusionments. Despite the country pumping in huge public money we found, by the turn of the century, it was complete shattering of hopes as the system started showing it’s rotten state.
For a long time state sponsored economy kept the market based economy at bay. But for the first time in all these long years we are witnessing a course correction after the last elections sent a party to govern with huge electoral mandate.
Unlike its predecessors, the NDA government has no inhibition or compulsion to follow the beaten path and is using the bulging market economy for the benefit of rising the standard of living of the masses, particularly of the poorest of the poor.
The government at the centre, headed by Narendra Modi, is showing a determination and vigour in taking decisions and implementing them, including the latest one of GST.
The whole model of subsidies has been changed to transfer financial help directly to the beneficiaries in their bank accounts.
With the clarion call of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas‘(Together with all, development for all) and ‘Minimum Government and Maximum Governance’ as policy initiatives the present government, headed by Narendra Modi, has established itself a doer.
Of all the policy initiatives taken by the government, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is the most transformative and impactful reform GST aiming at making India a common market with common tax rates.
Replacing the leaky and inefficient welfare delivery system with the cash transfer model has been adopted using direct benefit transfer (DBT) pilots with the JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, Mobile) as its foundation.
This initiative is natural corollary of the ambitious ‘Make in India’ which aims at making the country a global manufacturing hub. ‘Make in India’ initiative encourages both multinational as well as domestic companies to manufacture their products in India and the transparent and efficient tax collection system would make it realise.
Similarly ‘Skill India’ wants to make India a skilled country targeting skill development training to over 500 million youth by the year 2022.
Coupled with this the flagship ‘Digital India’ programme has already started transforming the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by bringing in digital infrastructure, creating digital empowerment and delivering governance and services through digital means. That brings transparency and efficient governance.
‘Start-up India’, ‘Stand-up India’ is aiming at young entrepreneurs to become self-employed. The scheme was launched to give a boost to entrepreneurship and job creation. The policy initiative promotes bank financing for start-up ventures.
The Prime Minister has rightly commented recently that “the pace at which people are taking to digital technology defies our stereotypes of age, education, language and income.”
For the first time a sustained and effective effort is made against corruption which pervaded not only the state machinery but in politics too.
The battle against corruption has already started cleansing the rotten system it inherited. The Prime Minister is not only asserting that boldness is required to drive the corruption out of the system but adopting a bold approach indeed defying the preachers of doom. A robust boldness is evident in the functioning of the present government breaking the inertia.
Election driven development schemes, wrapped in rigid bureaucratic framework, are now slowly but certainly being replaced with people’s participation.
Young generation of the 21st century is now aspiring for finding its national identity too as a powerful and competing country in the world. Majority of Indians are now asserting that they be counted and are not in a mood of compromise. We may call it self-confidence.
The country is preparing to celebrate Independence Day with greater hopes and aspirations with full of confidence not witnessed for a long time.
*The author is a senior journalist with experience of more than 40 years of journalism. Has served in the Press Trust of India for over 26 years in various capacities including the Chief of Bureau, Rajasthan.
Views expressed in the article are author’s personal.
(The feature has been contributed by PIB Jaipur)