By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
Things change with time but the spirit of freedom that binds us in harmony of democracy is cherished with same vigor without ever being dampened by time. Today’s India is young, it’s changing fast and the desire to progress and building a stronger nation is felt more than ever. Considering the volatility and conflict that we saw last year, geo political and economic shift will sooner or later compel us to strategize our position.
West is leaning towards right again and that too in an extreme way, it’ll be for good or for bad only time will tell but India and its leadership has to brace for times where we may have to consolidate our position both economically and militarily. With many countries around the world in a frenzy to move inwards under domestic pressure will leave a vacuum outside which we should be prepared to fill. There was a time when we preached and practiced “live and let live” but many decades later it turned out to be a losing proposition, I am not saying we should have chosen a side but we could have advantaged more. If we don’t choose to fill this void someone else will fill it to our dislike. So we have to be prepared.
We have been trying to reinvigorate our manufacturing sector, Make in India is a crucial step in this direction but Government should encourage Research in India too and with a much more emphasis. We have a huge talent pool that unfortunately gets lost to body shop IT companies and foreign countries. Research is one key aspect that can address both economic and strategic issues. China not only invests in building factories but also in getting their talent to work for them in labs and testing facilities. We are doing a terrific work in fostering an ecosystem for entrepreneurship but I think we can do more.
Energy is one such sector where we can not only create jobs in fulfilling our domestic demands but this will greatly save both country and citizens billions of rupees we spend on gas, power and other necessities. We import most of our oil and paying 73 Rs/Liter puts a real strain on wallet of middle class and lower income families. Now here is where it gets difficult, most of the petrol pumps are owned by politicians or businessmen with connections to power. They buy cheap from domestic players like ONGC and sell it dearly to Indians. Since it’s goes against vested interest of these entities to make things easier for general public, they want us to keep running on expensive oil. It’s time for renewables to be introduced in an assertive way, tax breaks, subsidies, discounts, special economic status whatever it may take but we’ll need that push from the government to reduce the costs over the long run as not only it will reduce emissions but save precious oil for more pressing times and also with our geographic location we get more sunlight than we can ask for.
Another crucial freedom we need from is pollution. Those who live in metropolitan cities clearly knows this first-hand the stifling effect of smoke that comes out of our vehicles and factories. Climate change may be hoax for some people but it’s very much a reality in India, we need more trees too besides new jobs and manufacturing facilities.
Governance is another sphere where we need more flexibility and pace to cope up with our sizable population, there is a joke that a turtle moves faster than Indian bureaucracy. The red tape is important but it should not log jam the wheel of development. Law and Order, secure border and aggressive stance on terrorism is necessary. Soft approach of Europe resulted in disaster and doesn’t look like it’s going to resolve anytime soon.
We have lot of challenges but that means we can find out more solutions too, we have to believe in ourselves and strive to make it a shining example of liberty, justice and progress. If you believe in freedom, peace and democracy, you are Indian.