Monday, August 15, 2011


15TH, AUGUST, 2011


64 years of Freedom has seen - India emerge as a great, vibrant democracy  on the path of economic progress.

So, what today are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and Treats (SWOT) that India faces today?

Strengths :

1.    A strong Election system – that ensures reasonably Free and Fair elections. We must remember Sri T.N. Seshan for giving the election commission the necessary “backbone” – to deal with the wily Political system.
2.    A fast growing Educational system – that is producing a huge number of professionals in various technical, medical, management, scientific and other streams. The quantity (in terms of number of institutions) has improved – by throwing open the system to private participation in a big way. But  the quality is yet to improve to desired levels.
3.    An Exceptionally talented, Entrepreneurial class – with world Class ambitions and skills. Most of the Progress that India is making must be credited to this class. This class just needs to be allowed – to make India prosperous.
4.    A Growing and upwardly mobile Middle class – welcoming every product and service with open arms.
5.    An international quality, English speaking class, which can beat the English in their language capabilities
6.    Media which is hugely supportive of Growth and willing to take up causes of reform – political, economic and social
7.    A strong youth force that cuts across language, caste, religion and regional barriers – willing to move out to any country – in search of progress.
8.    A strong Higher Judiciary – with willingness to look at the root causes of crime and criminal mindedness – and not merely the instant crime before it – and suggest measures to cleanse the system – has been a great strength for India.
9.    Effective autonomous / semi-autonomous Institutions like CAG, SEBI, Banking Ombudsman, RBI  etc are proving to be of great strength in their respective areas. Some Institutions like Lok Pal, CVC, NHRC, NWRC etc are effective in part. It is obvious that India needs a large number of such independent regulators in each field – and appoint really fearless, devoted persons to head these institutions.

Weaknesses :

1.    Political Class : How I wish that I could mention our Political Class as our greatest strength! It is increasingly suspect - to be our main weakness. There are no doubt, stars of great caliber among the Political class. But, by and large, the Political class is more illiterate than the youth of this country(actually it must be the reverse), more corrupt than the average Indian, and I suspect, more crime-prone too. The Political Parties are still recruiting people with criminal back grounds at very early ages – and grooming them for Political leadership. Rowdyism should be stopped by Politics but now, it starts in Politics. How many of these Politicians have read Indian constitution, or even a short summary of it, to be able to swear by it and guard it – is anybody’s guess. How many of them are aware of the problems of India is even more suspect. How many of them are in Politics with service motive – the less talked of, the better. All said – if the best in all Parties come together to plan to cleanse the Political system – it can be done easily.
2.    COMMON MAN Barred from Politics : When India started off on its, socialist, democratic Journey, any common man could stand for election, campaign his cause and win in elections , either based on a Party ticket or on his own. Now no more. One needs to be able spend huge moneys for the purpose – which automatically cuts off all the middle and poorer classes from contesting in elections. Readers should not go by the declared assets of Politicians. Just look at how much spending is done in each constituency. The marginalization of the common man from Politics, directly and indirectly, by the Political class, is a big blow to democracy
3.    Corruption : Corruption at all levels – has become the bane of Indian Governing system. And the Governing System – is unwilling to listen to any saner voices. The Governing system has shown no appreciable propensity to expose the corrupt, or proceed quickly against the corrupt, or stand away from the corrupt.
4.    Violence – in politics and outside is on the increase. Cinema and TV are encouraging the same. Violence emanates basically from the corrupt and the crime prone. The violent men are more organized than others.
5.    Divisions of caste and religion are a bane of India. While the youth of India unreservedly fight off the caste and religious barriers; and even the religious heads of all major religions make efforts to come together – the Political class makes all possible efforts to ‘divide and rule’. Looking for caste and religion in every ordinary crime – is a sickening trend.
6.    DELAYS IN LEGAL SYSTEM : Justice delayed is Justice denied. In India, delays in dispensing Justice, are too common, and too much – for whatever may be the reasons. At the same time, arrests, remands, Spending time in Jails / Police custody without trial are becoming common.
7.    POLICING SYSTEM : The Indian Policing system is probably the most ineffective in tackling crime or preventing crime. From News reports, media reports and other sources, we find, a number of Policemen are into crime themselves in large numbers. Custodial violence in India is becoming too very notorious and attracting adverse attention everywhere. Reformation of the Policing system is the most urgent – from the common man’s point of view.In my opinion, the recruitment and training methodology must focus on integrity of Police personnel, more humane methods of treating both complainants and culprits and improving the pro-active prevention of crime.
8.    Disintegrating Family Values : I think , this is a fast developing weakness. Lack of respect for elders, lack of concern for traditions and morals, disappearing bonds of love and affection are clearly visible in Families across the country. The growth of Old age homes in all metros and smaller cities is a clear pointer to the disintegrating families and family values. So is the growth of children’s homes. While these alternatives are welcome to tackle the adverse, disintegrating family systems – the causative factors for them must be disturbing for the nation. If the younger generation is not tuned to shouldering responsibilities of both elders and children in a more acceptable atmosphere – the nation will slip into a nation of unnecessary suffering due to disappearing value systems.
9.    Education sans morality : Today, Indian education does not guarantee moral fibre and Integrity. For some silly reasons – the Educational system has done away with moral and character building education almost totally. Either people Want a religious book or no morals at all! This is the height if illogicality. Morals and Integrity are clearly transcending all religious barriers. You don’t need to belong to any religion to practice truth, non-violence, love, service, compassion, help and such other things.

Opportunities :

1.    Religious harmony : This is one thing which can be brought reasonably easily in India. Most religious leaders have shown that they want peace and harmony in India. Politicians must only refrain from inciting this or that religion – by passing partisan laws and making partisan demands.
2.    Abolition of caste System : Caste system is several thousands of years Old – and any such social system degenerates, when the whole social environment has changed. Today- clinging to an outdated caste system is meaningless. We as a society, must make efforts to smoothly abolish the caste system, without undue rupturing of any class. It is definitely possible – and we must start off with the premise that it is possible. Caste basis must be abolished in temples, government services and every where – even while prescribing the essential qualities for people needed by each service. For instance, a priest needs to be a devotee, willing to adhere to sanctity, cleanliness and any procedural aspects. He can be taught whatever needs to be taught.  A devoted, well learned priest is any time better for a temple and the God – compared to an ignorant person belonging to any caste. Same goes with every government service or any service. We must also develop respect and gratitude for every socially relevant service. For instance, people want to abolish manual scavenging. Fine – if we are able to do it better by other means. But, at the back of the demand is a disrespect for the manual scavenging work. This is not correct. Every socially important service must be respected. In the homes, the traditional mother does it for her children. Who else will do for the child – if the mother feels it nasty, as some modern women tend to feel? The manual scavenger is like the mother of the society. That’s why Gandhiji did it himself and showed the dignity of labour.As we progress towards abolition of caste system – let us retain and improve our respect for all traditional works performed by any caste. This is more important.
3.    Improving Laws : All or most of our Laws are punitive and not reformative in nature. There is very less proactive prevention of crime or criminality. I am pointing out many such laws and social practices in a services ‘Uniting the Nation, dividing the Nation’ in one of my blogs. Ideally – we must not allow a Police man to enter in any dispute within a household, either between a wife and husband or between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law or father and son and so on. The Police man is the least qualified to settle their disputes. There must be a quasi social-judicial set-up which goes into these disputes proactively, on any information from even any neighbours or from any of the parties to the quarrel or dispute – and effectively advice and warn the parties – long before any crime actually takes place. This will avoid khap panchayats which are said to be extra legal and the Police – who are worse than khap panchayats in dealing with household disputes. The goal should be to keep the family united – but all present laws and systems  take the family through tortuous processes towards disintegration – and total destruction.
4.    Improving Political systems :We must make the following Laws to improve our Political and governing systems. (i) Make Laws that all MLAs and MPs must be Graduates from a recognized University. There is no point now – to be electing illiterates to govern  a highly literate nation. (ii) Make Laws that every MLA and MP must have stayed in another state, other than the state of his constituency – for at least 2 years. The absence of such a law is the root cause of all inter-state disputes and separatist agitations. The initial slogan of Unity in Diversity has now degenerated into more diversity than Unity. (iii) Every person intending to stand for election as MP must have toured ALL STATES of India once – in an organized tour conducted by Government of India and stayed in each state at least for 10 days (iv) Every MP / MLA should conduct a meeting in his constituency that may be attended by members of public once in every two months – and tell them – all that he has done in last 2 months for the constituency and country.
5.    Promote Individual Merit : We often hear of a 10 year old getting a medical Degree or even a Ph.D., in advanced countries like US and Canada. We can by all means promote the reserved classes and support them in all possible ways – but that need not inhibit the meritorious students from reaching their levels of excellence at their pace. You will find to your pleasant surprise that such meritorious students (Like Abdul Kalam) who can move speedily through conventional education systems will come from all castes and religions. This will also spur the growth of the reserved classes much faster than at present. It is myth to say – that merit is caste based. It is not so. This myth will be totally demolished – if merit gets recognition.
6.    Promote research & Innovation :India is one country where first class Post Graduates in science do not get jobs in science streams. There are virtually no research institutions of any great merit. India, both Government and Private sector, must spend huge sums on research and Innovation and must produce innovations which the whole world will be grateful for. Today – all things that we are using – are the result of research in other countries. This must change. Indians must imbibe the spirit of research and innovation.
7.    To be No.1 in Defence Research :India is surrounded on all sides by great neighbours. China and Pakistan are nuclear Powers already. But, for some historical reasons – there is suspicious atmosphere between India and these countries. India must therefore aim to be No.1 in defence research and defence capabilities.
8.    EXCELLENCE is the motto : India should consciously choose excellence as its motto – in all fields of human endeavour. All people, belonging to forward, backward, SC/ST, minorities will all come up well – if only we keep excellence as our motto in all fields. The feelings of separation will vanish very quickly if this is done. We are all Partners in excellence.
9.    Supluses – Not scarcity : India must plan for surpluses in every thing – not for scarcities. Today, our mind sets are still tuned to scarcities. Huge food grains stocks co-exist with high inflation in food grains. All raw materials and all man power needed for road building, electricity generation, transport facilities are all TOTALLY available in India – but we wait for FDI to connect all these, which is ridiculous. If we plan well – Indian money can connect Indian raw materials with Indian Man power and Indian Brain Power – and we can have all these which we want within 5 years sharp, all over India. USA talks of trillions of dollars, because USA has related assets of that value. We must come out of scarcity mind sets and plan for surpluses.
10.  POPULATION : All progress will come to nothing – if current rate of population growth continues. India must have an aggressive population policy – like many other countries have. Every section must co-operate – else we will all fall flat and remain undeveloped forever. There are just not that much of land or natural resources to support this level of growing population. The only surplus we can boast of seems to be our Population.
11.  Environmental Protection : It is easy to plant millions of (Useful) trees within a few months and grow them within 2-3 years – in our cities, towns, villages, roadsides, riversides etc. We only need to use funds like NREGA for such measurable, productive purposes. At least we can ensure sufficient oxygen for our growing population.

Threats :

1.    Terrorism : Terrorism is a threat. But, if you deal sternly with terrorists – terrorism may come down. If you pursue terrorists  and hunt them – they will have less chance of planning their attacks. Make them defensive. This goes for external terrorists and organized terrorists like Naxalites. But, other internal violence should not be and need not be equated with terrorism. They are law and order problems.
2.    Other threats : I don’t think there are any other major threats – if we take care of our strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. India can rise to No.1 Position, economically, militarily, and culturally. India can show the way how to prosper unitedly with diverse cultures.India has Great leaders - almost in each Party - waiting in the wings, to take it to this deserved Position.

* * *  JAI HIND  * * *

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