Former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam wrote a book in the year 2000, called India 2020. His book was an in-depth analysis of his great vision of what India is and it should be by this year, and where he wishes to see our beloved country, and now the year 2020 has arrived.
Are we anywhere near that vision?
The GDP growth rate of second quarter of 2019 was 4.5 percent with 2011-2012 as the base year. This figure is the lowest-GDP figure in six successive years. The IIP (Index of Industrial Production) data of November shows a growth of 3.8 percent which is 0.5 percent less than October 2018. The sectoral picture of IIP data shows manufacturing at (-) 2.1 percent, mining at (-) 8 percent , electricity at (-) 12.2 percent. The government has targeted fiscal deficit to be equal to 3.3 percent of the GDP. But, the reality is that our fiscal deficit has already crossed 5 percent of the GDP.
The recent figures have also shown that the Goods And Services Taxes (GST) collection have fallen short of government’s estimates; recent public banks merger has led to downgrading even of public sector banks that had less non-performing assets (NPA) compared to other public sector banks;infrastructure growth rate of October 2019 is down by (-) 9.2 percent compared to October 2018; agriculture sector has taken been declining in it’s growth since 2017, and unemployment rate is at 45 years high.
Former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian said in a recent interview that India’s economy is headed to ICU and that India might see it’s first biggest economic crisis since 1990. He called it the ‘Second Wave of Balanced Sheet Crisis’. Gita Gopinath, Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said India will need serious economic reforms to come out of the economic crisis of 2020.
While that is macroeconomic scenario, other issues that of concern and may imping upon day-to-day life includes water crisis which is looming large. According to the report of Niti Aayog, more than 21 cities of India are depleting groundwater in the year 2020, this includes major cities such as Delhi and Bangalore. One of the major reasons is overuse of groundwater in agriculture, and second is the wastage of water by common citizens. The report also said 40 percent of India will not have access to clean drinking water by 2030. Though Niti Aayog aims to convert salty sea water into drinkable and usable water like Saudi Arabia has done in the Middle East. But, that’s not all.
Environment crisis gets worse with Air Quality Index(AQI) reaching 1000+ in certain regions of Delhi NCR at 2.5 PM level in the month of October of 2019, and about to get worse this year. If the issue is not solved by the end of 2020, the AQI will keep getting worse giving people of Delhi major lung problems as they breathe 44 cigarettes per day already. But, who is on top as the Commander-in-Chief to solve all these major issues coming up this decade?
Prime Minister Modi for all his words says a lot, delivers very little on economic front. He calls climate change a hoax, his Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman dismiss economic slowdown, and he advertises beautiful idea of Digital India, and 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024 while he shuts down internet in different parts of the country because of dissent. On the other hand, Congress party leader-in-charge is Rahul Gandhi – an inexperienced, immature 49-year old who is riding on his surname to become India’s next head of state. This is the situation of two major national parties in India, other major parties have leaders such as Mulyuam Singh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee, one is a thief and other is a female ‘Gabbar Singh.’
While you have leaders like Nitish Kumar but because he buttering up to Prime Minister Modi, he has not been able to come to the forefront. On the other hand, we have Arvind Kejriwal with no experience in dealing with foreign affairs and has a semi-state that is completely urbanized. In other words, when majority of your country, almost 70 percent is below poverty line(BPL) and lives in rural area, you governing a state like Delhi still leaves you inexperienced to hold the top job. He also tends to indulge in blame-game regarding Delhi’s air quality index, just like any other political party in India. So, where does India go to find that leader that it has been looking for since Common Wealth Games (CWG) scam 2010?
Though the Congress party has a beautiful ideology, it has taken itself down by putting forward an elected monarchy, and being corrupt enough to smear it’s image in the public eye by creating an ABCD of scams. It is still very fresh in people’s memory, and Gandhi family running the party is a constant reminder to the people about Congresses failures. So, where do we go from here?
We need a leader, an administrator, and a savior who can solve the issues that India will be facing in this decade. With a population of more than 50 percent under the age of 35, we have a huge demographic dividend if used wisely, we can achieve the same heights as most western European countries have already achieved, and have our very own Industrial Revolution required to come at par with developed nations, and become an emerging superpower, competing neck-to-neck with China and the United States. But, if the aspirations and desires of jobs and basic requirements of water, shelter and oxygen is left unfulfilled for this coming generation, we will end up a banana republic. Therefore, India is in desperate need of a leader to save it from drowning into a complete mess, and take the charge required to fix all the major problems that India is going to face in this decade.