Dreaming the Pradhan Sevak's dream
My vision for India 2022 cannot but be the one visualised for the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modiji. We have to work in unison to actualise his dream of a strong, flourishing nation that is at the forefront of the comity of nations by 2022.
This has to be an India which gives every citizen the opportunity and the means to realise his growth and potential, a country which is vibrant socially, economically and culturally. The PM has already indicated the way ahead: "A new India where the poor do not want anything by way of charity, but seek opportunity to chart out their own course ... Indians today are not waiting for governmental sops. They only want opportunities to be created for them, so that they can work for their livelihood and prosperity."
The nation has miles to go before it can arrive at destination 'New India', but if every citizen lends his shoulder to the wheel, the goal should be well within our reach. Blood, sweat and tears—as in earlier times and different climes—are in order. But we need to chart out our own path. Any borrowed 'isms' will not do, as Dr. Deendayal Upadhyaya emphasised in his
Mumbai series of lectures in 1965 and which was reiterated by Mohan Bhagwatji in his Vijayadashami address in Nagpur on September 30, 2017. Swami Vivekanandaji has already spelt out the way ahead for us: "We must grow according to our nature. Vain is it to attempt the lines of action that foreign societies have engrafted upon us."
Mindsets also need to change in the country if we are to realise our goals, be it Swachh Bharat, Start-up India, Make in India, etc. We have to first instil in ourselves the spirit of rashtra dharma that Deendayal Upadhyayaji talked about. All our actions and efforts have to be directed to the realisation of this dharma. Recall, too, that Prime Minister Modi's vision of New India is not restricted just to developmental goals. "India is about shanti, ekta and sadhbhavna. Casteism and communalism will not help us. Violence in the name of asthaa is not something to be happy about, it will not be accepted in India."
The PM has already spelt out the seven key areas ('The Rainbow Power of India') that we need to focus on in the lead up to 2022: knowledge, democracy, natural resources, agriculture, women's empowerment, youth power and cultural heritage. Progress in all these broad areas is, of course, of the essence. But I, for my part, would also lay stress on a new thinking and a new charter when it comes to health, education and the environment.
To education first. Seventy long years after independence, the goal of full literacy still eludes us. This certainly needs remedying fast. But more important than merely scoring a statistical success on this front is the need to provide quality education. The initiative taken by our government to set up 20 institutions of excellence is certainly a step in the right direction. Care must be taken, however, to ensure that these institutions are not hemmed in by the usual bureaucratic hurdles and get full operational autonomy.In the field of education,
I would say, less is more—less official intervention at all levels, school upwards, would make for a radical all-round improvement. If any official monitoring is needed it is only of fly-by-night operators, the schools-as-industry entrepreneurs, the donations-for-admission vultures. The languages to be taught, the curricula to be opted for, should all largely be left to the institution(s) concerned. Improving education is not the mountain that it is made out to be. Look to the success stories—the IITs, the IIMs—and policy-wise opt for replication/cloning. Education has to be a calling, not merely a money-making proposition.
In the area of health, the watchword has to be 'health for all', especially affordable and professional healthcare for the poor. Over the years, we have overlooked age-old Indian wisdom and have instead promoted borrowed ideas and advocated only one system of medicine, the so-called 'modern medicine', which has failed to ensure availability of healthcare to everyone in even the most affluent nations despite a whopping increase in spending. Of late, however, has come the realisation that health-wise, we need to go back to our roots, to opt for a holistic system of medicine that takes care of the physical, mental and spiritual well being of an individual. We need to incorporate our indigenous systems of medicine (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha) in the delivery of healthcare and encourage our medical fraternity to incorporate these as part of a holistic healthcare package.
The funding for the healthcare sector needs to be stepped up greatly and it has to be ensured that there is equity in the delivery of healthcare, with a radical improvement in government facilities for the poor, rather than only glitzy hospitals for the well-heeled. The recent moves to lower prices of essential drugs and health equipment are steps in the right direction and there is a need for timely and strict monitoring on this front.
As far as environment is concerned, its protection and preservation cannot remain just a "concern" or a "mission" any more. No less a person than Prime Minister Narendra Modiji has pointed to the seriousness of the prevailing situation and urged all countrymen to put their best foot forward to protect and preserve the environment. He has said, "For us, protection of the environment is an article of faith." This is one area, I feel, where pious pronouncements only will not serve any purpose and every Indian has to step up to the plate and ensure that he does his bit daily to protect and preserve the environment through small, individual initiatives. If all citizens collectively decide to make the protection of the environment a mass movement, then, and only then, can we look forward to a cleaner and greener India by 2022.
I would say that there is a tide in the affairs of every nation, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. The time could not be more opportune for Bharat. Destiny beckons us. The ship of state has the strongest of hands at the tiller. We all have to lend a hand to the Prime Minster to realise the Bharat of our dreams.