Do you often ask, with all the manpower and resources why India is yet to be a developed nation? It is the same question the late former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had asked. Along with 500 experts, he made a blueprint of the road to development. Aside from all the jet-setting and speeches, PM Narendra Modi could take a few pointers from the Missile Man. Dr Kalam noted 5 areas to focus – agriculture and food processing; Infrastructure electrification; Education and Healthcare; Information and Communication; Technology and Industry. As you are a busy man, Mr. Modi, we have taken the liberty to draft 8 steps which will make Kalam’s Vision 2020 a reality.
1. Irrigation Irritation
Well, it seems like every year part of India gets flooded. Mumbai literally goes under water yet Maharashtra’s drought scene remains unabated. Farmers continue to kill themselves year after year. Either there is too much water or none at all. Until proper irrigation is implemented, rain will be erratic, crops will continue to fail and farmers will continue to incur debts.
2. Leaky Cauldron
I asked my Sabjiwali, “Why do prices shoot up every monsoon?” The lady said leaking warehouses spoil fresh produces. First of all there are far lesser storage facilities than needed. But even those which are standing are dirty and ramshackle. Forget temperature-controlled, insulated rooms in developed countries, in India if it’s not leaking it’s a miracle.
3. Meddlesome Middlemen
This is a classic case of government inaction. Middlemen are the reason why the farmers are underpaid and consumers over-charged. They hoard and stock up and regulate the flow in a free market. They are a menace, enough said.
Image Source: Satish Acharya
4. Dil hai NOT sunny
Dr Kalam paid special emphasis to solar energy. India falls in the tropics. Hot is an understatement when hundreds of people die. The most sensible thing is to harness solar energy. Yet we are still bringing out tenders for coal fields, destroying forests and dislocating tribal.
5. E for Education
What else can we say that hasn’t been said before? Education is one of the strongest pillars of development. Every child should be entitled to it. Illiteracy is the single most incriminating factor in the lack of progress. More schools and better quality of education is a must.
6. The Bitter Pill
In government-run hospitals, the lack of hygiene, careless attendants, rampant bribery and obsolete tech will make you wonder if the government at all cares about saving lives. But most importantly, villagers have to travel hours for treatment. More numbers of hospitals would definitely go a long way in easing the pressure and better treatment.
7. Research un-benefit
Indian PMs have lamented brain drain from the country, but developed nations make research and post-doctoral studies lucrative. Our researchers hardly get enough pay or benefits and often take up corporate offers.
8. Tech troubles
We need to stop buying and start inventing. There used to be a time when Indian physicists and engineers were world famous for their inventions. Now we spend an obscene amount of money to buy weapons and jets from other countries. Spend that amount on our own scientists and R&D, the world will come to us.
Mr Modi, it’s time to come home and take stock. There is a lot of work to be done, and the clock is ticking.