It has been almost three months since the Mr. Modi took over as the PM. And in this time, few important developments have come to surface, notably, the new railway line in Jammu and Kashmir, the budget and the BRICS bank. Mostly, people have praised everything, and hopes are still as high as they were after the election results.
The railway line in Jammu and Kashmir had an ironical fate. The plan was mooted by the Vajpayee government, was worked on by the UPA government and finally inaugurated again by a BJP Prime Minister. It, therefore, definitely marks a unity in determination of our politicians. But this has come very late and very less. By this time, we should have had a full-fledged railway network in the valley. Compared to the Chinese growth in its mountains, it is a minuscule fraction. Apart from the Kashmir valley, the north-east also needs such infrastructure. The emigration should be brought down. For this, the government must show an unequivocal and firm stand.
The budget focussed mainly on infrastructure, and for the good. Four new AIIMSs, five new IITs and IIMs were announced. We already have new IITs, IIMs and AIIMSs that are not fully functional, rather they do not have a complete campus. If things are going to be only about numbers, I doubt if we are going to arrive at a better state, when the demands are going to shoot up with the growing population. The key lies in implementation. Moreover, the immediate concerns like the retrospective tax and the labour laws have not yet been addressed. The railway budget was quite fanciful. Every Indian would like to see the majestic bullet train on Indian tracks, and people are definitely willing to pay more. However, the government should present a realistic picture about how the funds are going to come and how plans are going to be implemented. A tentative statement would serve no purpose, rather malign the calibre of political crusaders of the NDA.
Food Security is another issue which has not attracted as much attention as the gravity it holds. A deficit in monsoon has already been reported and with inadequate infrastructure to collect, store and distribute food, things are going to be in a mess.The previous government showed no farsightedness and brought up this bill in such a hurry as if this alone would save their sinking ship. Futuristic trade as suggested by many, could be brought in action. Farming should be a lucrative business, not a suicidal affair.
The budget has laid emphasis on tourism circuits. Goa attracts more tourists than any other part of the country. In this light, to bring the dream of revival of Varanasi to reality is a tough and commendable commitment of Mr. Modi. Definitely, the pubs of Goa or the palaces of Rajasthan are not the only tourist spots in India. We have a rich cultural heritage. The Nalanda Univesity is believed to be spread in approximately 10 sq. km. I suppose rarely can an institution of this era boast of such a huge campus. The British army sent 4000 of its battle-fatigued troops to recover from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Bodh Gaya in 2012-13. The hills and valleys in north-east must not be secluded and confined to GK books. I urge the government to look into those. There lies a huge potential in such lands in oblivion of Indian populace. For how long are people going to migrate to places like Delhi and Bangalore? Moreover, our cities have become epitome of suffocation rather than township and development. A pocketful of 1 rupee coins weighs more but if we strive for bills of 100 rupees, we will earn more. Tourism thrives on infrastructure, and a plan for these circuits undoubtedly deserves a big applause.Celebrating Sanskrit is a good step to make the younger generation know about and feel our rich heritage. Opposition from Tamil Nadu should be condemned. It is Sanskrit which we all share. Otherwise, we have more divisiveness than reasons to hold us together as a nation. Regional culture should be respected and preserved but we ought to have a national factor. Too much of regionalism is more a sign of foolish and obstinate conservatism than anything else. Leaders baking their political breads on this are misleading their people.
The FDI in defence is one of the rightful decisions of the government. After all, our units are suffering and are unproductive. Whatever useful we need lies outside, and can never be brought in without FDI.
The decision on the BRICS bank should be welcomed but like the Jammu and Kashmir railway line, it may not fully feed the rising demand. A fund of $100 billion would not be sufficient for Asia or Africa, which needs trillions for its development. However, being a small and daring step towards a new world order, it should be praised. On the other side, India should keep track of growing influence of China in this world order. China recently signed a $7 billion deal with debt-ridden Argentina for power and rail projects. The Argentine economy is going through a very tough phase. The exchange reserves are at a 7-year low at $34.4 billion, and they would pay for Chinese imports with the yuan currency. Besides that, Russia is going to save China from its impending energy crisis, while Russia itself is facing sanctions from the US and Europe over Crimea. China is going to build ports in Pakistan and in Colombo and Hamabantota, Sri Lanka.This definitely should bother India and make it cautious with future dealings. India must gain the confidence of her neighbours, and the world. Unlike China, we are a democratic nation and with a credible muscle power. When the OECD report says we have fifty years of capitalism left, why not make the most out of it? The path is not rosy but not impossible. To reach the plethora where China lies today, what we have done will not suffice.
Its NOW or NEVER!!
Its NOW or NEVER!!