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Rebuilding India A new socio-economic vision

Srinivas Venkatram

I We are on the threshold of a great opportunity. We, as a nation, are becoming self-conscious of our power, our capacity for greatness, our untapped potential both in terms of people and resources.

II How are we to realize this great opportunity? How do we convert this dream into a reality? That is the question facing us as a nation today. Why is this a question, in the first place? Why must we worry whether our dreams will be converted into a reality? The reason is because we have in the past seen similar, if smaller, visions but have, in the final analysis, failed to mobilize ourselves as a people, as a national collective to realize this vision.

III Why the failure to mobilize? There are two reasons commonly presented. One, that we are a diverse nation, with a wide range of economic and social needs, from the tribals of Bastar, to the urban elite. Two, that we are a democracy, due to which any action however worthy and well intentioned, is capable of, and does get blocked, by numerous contrary interests. Both these arguments that we are diverse and a large and complex democracy means that all solutions are necessarily consensual, “diluted” and delayed by the time they become acceptable. In short, we are far too complex as a nation to “mobilize” meaningfully and purposefully to realize our own vision.

© Srinivas Venkatram, 14th December 2014

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IV But what does mobilization really mean? What or who must mobilize for the nation to transform itself? Usually, four units of transformation are talked about in this context. These are shown in the pyramid below:

Let us elaborate on all four (I) mobilizing political energy will mean a more honest, committed political class that is willing to go beyond the narrowest possible self-interest in which they operate. (II) mobilizing institutions will mean rebuilding institutional purpose as the driving force for change. (III) mobilizing individuals means rebuilding the sense of citizenship and responsibility – beyond self. (IV) mobilizing communities means acceptance of the evolutionary potential of transformation rather than a blind rejection of the new in favor of an older way of doing things. All four types of action have to take place simultaneously – across a nation of one billion plus individuals, across thousands of communities, across several hundred institutions, and across a political system that has been systematically corroded over decades – for a quantum leap to take place.

V What is the strategy needed to engage with this seemingly unsurmountable problem?

© Srinivas Venkatram, 14th December 2014

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