India. The word fills you with a feeling of belonging, love and commitment. The country’s diversity makes you feel elated to be a part of the culture. And it is not just the archaeological and anthropological discovery but the reality that appeals to you and also poses a challenge. Challenge to witness a democratic country with a plan to have everyone’s needs fulfilled while the future generations, too, are left with ample resources.
There is no doubt, however, that the nation needs leadership. One can’t think of a single leader capable of guiding the nation. If I am part of a collective leadership, we can’t ignore the contribution of the millions who help in maintaining peace or producing goods, providing services, even governing communities themselves.
Today, the State through its pillars, the legislature and executive, is not representing the majority of our people, the farmers, labourers, fishermen, artisans and others. Hence, the common man’s dreams — not of castles, but homes; not of high-fly infrastructure, but pathways and roads; not of global universities but value education with quality and equity — are not reflected in the policies. If I were to take over, the first task would be to make policies in each sector to address the issue of inequity.
We don’t need either big corporates from India or abroad, or even international financers like the World Bank to provide basic needs such as primary education if only the government provides the same by raising the education budget from 3-6% to at least 10%.
This needs attention to shift from growth to justice. In the power sector, where crises erupt at the drop of a hat, it’s easy to aim for minimising transmission and distribution losses as well as using a mix of renewable sources and technologies in localised projects to light communities first. I would nationalise all minerals and take a loss instead of allowing corporates to make massive profits with huge subsidies and higher pricing.
For the above, it is necessary to have inclusive planning. I will decentralise the present State system. Should governance be based only on rule of law? There will have to be rule of values and principles. Human is above legal. If I am to guide the country, I surely will pay more attention to people’s empowerment and self reliance.
Corruption is the most critical factor today affecting the government and society. That has to be removed. Misappropriation of land, minerals, water and power leading to vulgar profits for builders and investors will be challenged by bringing in bodies such as the Jan Lokpal. Why talk of democracy if we are to govern a large area of our country with the armed forces with special powers? A political dialogue with militants and phasing out of the army from the North East and J&K will be priority. Equally important will be the end of caste politics, religion (beyond personal), gender and region as factors dividing society.