“Tat Tvam Asi” (Thou art that, That thou art, That art thou, You are that, or That you are) powerful message of peaceful co-existence, which the entire world has experienced in the First Quarter of 2020.
Intuition and understanding of Indian psyche is the biggest gift, the current Leadership of India is bestowed with that in plenty. So while the current regime has got the naming of all the building blocks right:
- Swachh Bharat
- Make in India / Start-up India
- Aayushman Bharat
- PM KIsaan/ PM Awaas
- Smart Cities/ Digital India
(Ps: liberty taken to club flagship schemes is to exemplify the thematic priorities)
The above throws light on the clarity of vision. Similarly, in the case of COVID 19 response by the state actors largely demonstrates the ability to align all for a common purpose. The response from all the Democratic pillars; media, parliament, civic society, Scientific, Administrative and Political stakeholders have been exemplary as far. What is left to see is the Execution focus, which might bring a fine balance of lives and livelihood in the country. The question in my mind is, Will the post COVID world provide an opportunity to get that EXECUTION piece right, for India? Unfortunately, something as a country we have missed quite often in the past.
Not many will disagree that one person who had a unique experience of understanding India was Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, who before initiating the freedom struggle in 1915, covered the length and breadth of the country to feel the pulse of India. His prescription for Indian prosperity was from a school of economic thought based on spiritual and socio-economic principles, largely characterised by rejecting the concept of the human being as a rational actor, always seeking to maximize material self-interest. This to a large extend could have been an interesting model to look at in the Initial years of building India, unfortunately, we trod a different path. Similarly, in the current context Honourable PM has relevant experience of understanding the pulse of Indian masses, he is championing the causes of capacity building for the weakest in society, environmentalism to create global leadership of India, growth of the rural economy on Trustee Ship model by Decentralization of Rural Economy. Challenge is with the restless young India, do we have enough capital and on the ground support to build this on right time.
In the last blog I mentioned about Relief, Recover and Reform measures after the great depression in 1910. The next one year will define that with the capital spent, whether India will create short term relief measures or long term reforms. The combination of both can lead to recovery of India and generate long term assets for revenue generation
For example we all have observed how nature takes over when humans retreat, on a positive side it is a good boost for Swach Bharat, but that’s not how one would have thought to executive a policy. Post lockdown if we continue with the similar approach of social distancing, functioning with 30% staff, adapt technology to do business, maintain cleanliness we will be able to unlock the tourism potential of India. We should also look at investing in human, physical and social infrastructure for building long term capacity in tourism. It might sound counter-intuitive, but what better time than now to showcase the world that the Indians understand living in Sync with Nature and are better equipped to handle the current challenge despite not having the best health care infrastructure.
Migrant Labourers are getting back to their respective villages, It is unlikely that they will return to metros before monsoon. This is the time to encourage agriculture-based activities in rural areas. Direct benefit transfer, employment schemes, focus on creating Infrastructure can kick start the rural economy that can potentially spiral up the demand. Another way to utilize the power of collaborations is to build the Indian context-based health care infrastructure and micro industries in villages. Trapping the group wisdom, two-way communication from top to bottom and vice versa will enable this task. We have seen PM reaching out to all sarpanches, other communities one to one, but what will potentially ignite purpose is two-way communications. It’s time we see the shift in leadership as well, from “I know it all and follow instructions” to “How we are going to overcome a challenge together“.
A fast track-focused execution of Infrastructure projects and revamping the health care systems by refining Arogyashree Scheme also provide opportunity to create enough employment as well as long term assets.
The question is where will we get the money to invest at this stage? While India may not have the power of Fiat currency, but with its newly acquired soft power, India can convince the world that real wealth is country’s natural resources, young educated population, Industries sectors such as Auto, IT, Pharma, Aerospace and many more where we have to build noticeable Research and centres of excellence, we have high levels of public gold reserve. India has the highest reserve of Gold held with masses. An appeal from the current leader, explaining the progress of the country is the responsibility of every individual and needs to be supported with Income at all levels than the same, Gold Monetisation Scheme launched in 2015 can work wonders now.
Govt can weigh about launching a gold Monetisation scheme with 2.5% of returns on Gold Deposit, also an assurance of not harassing the owners of gold, measures to build trust in the system and national appeal by the Prime minister with a large campaign can bring unprecedented gold leverage to the Indian government. Which can be used to pump liquidity in creating long term assets for the country. Like former Governor of RBI Mr Rajan said in a recent interview that India will have to give assurance to the world that this time around India is different This is the moment where the world will take notice of India and its immense wealth. Question is can we live up to our potential by following the Mantra of “Clarity”, Alignment and Execution”