Under the leadership of Narendra Modi, we have shown as to how after a long time, there could be a government in power with absolute majority. This could become possible on the strength of BJP’s belief in inclusive growth with the common man at the center. While the earlier dispensation kept harping on aam admi, its delivery was quite the opposite. The real leadership is about setting the delivery systems right to deliver better and efficiently.
I have lived in Delhi all my life. I have seen Yamuna deteriorate and I have also seen Sabarmati do better. Recently, I met a group of young people from IITs / IIMs and other prominent institutions – all very bright, aspiring to do well in their chosen field for nation building. Came an out-of-the-box idea – to run cruise in the river if all goes well with Yamuna. Certainly, a money-spinner for the tourism industry. Scores of opportunities could be created only with one act that will contribute to employment generation, amongst others.
From entertainment to connectivity – the youth of this country is brimming with intelligent ideas and is equally tempted to be part of such potential changes. Now the basic task is to harness this energy. It’s about making the country what we all dream of. Is the life worth extracting your pound of flesh and moving on or it is about contributing to the society and making it worth living for? It is here that the political system and leadership can make a big difference.
Many people say Gujarat was always developed. Yes, Gujarat was, maybe, always more moneyed then rest of the country but the scale of development was different if we compare 2000 with 2014. And for understanding the Gujarat model, the matter of scale has to be dealt with rationally and poverty should be seen more than an area to implement statistical regression.
The scale has to be shaped out of four very basic things – uninterrupted supply of electricity, drinking water, Internet and road connectivity matching with world standards. Today, Gujarat has achieved all these and quite effectively. Can any other state claim these to have done equally well? Very simple – if Gujarat was always developed, then where were these four basic things?
Kerala is geographically a small unit and Kerala Model has been much talked about as a concept but in reality, it has not delivered even close to the mark it has been known for. The conditions of primary civic facilities are in dismal state and we still hear the news how for getting into hospital, people have to come on foot for over 40 kms in rural areas.
At larger level, economically sound principles are the basis of a welfare state that can be ensured through effective administrative machinery. The very idea of ‘welfare state’ is centered on the state’s capacity to share the resources with citizens. That means, the state has to be resourceful and for that the economy has to be in good shape – attainment of this whole process is good governance. There is nothing complex about it. Gujarat has implemented the programmes into action and the difference is obvious.
Lack of transparency in governance is the biggest concern. I am a member and presiding officer of the NDMC council. In that capacity, I have come across strange things. Like, the two toilet blocks had been given to a particular company for seven years – beyond seven years, they still continue in the service. Interestingly, extension is provided in the contract itself. Now whether the extension is going to be for one year or five years, the matter goes for arbitration, an arbitrator is paid the sum of Rs 400,000 and the decision is, five years extension.
Why five years extension, why should it not be re-auctioned. Why should any extension be given to anybody at all? I firmly believe that such expenditure deserves thorough auditing – this will further help the other projects with scrimped money. It is here the intervention of government shall come in. When I compared Delhi with Gujarat I feel very bad because I feel that there is so much one can do and one could not because of a bad governance model.
Good governance is what we all look up to and sound economics is a good way to begin because sound economic policies are for everyone. You have Hawkers and Vendors Act but no rules. Over 5,000 hawkers are sitting in NDMC area but there are only 1,200 licenses. We are not able to remove them because they have no alternate skill to pick-up any other vocation. So, we not only require big ticket reforms but also have to take small sensible decisions for making nation’s development truly equitable.