It's really a pity and a challenge to the system particularly those who are in power, that even after 67 years of Independence, we have a lot of people living below poverty line. We have issues like rural-urban divide and serious economic disparities. Then we hear of farmers' suicides and sometimes of hunger deaths here and there. And then we get criticisms about the system not being sensitive to the vulnerable sections.
To my mind, there cannot be any controversy or debate as to how to achieve inclusive growth. I think the experience of all developed and developing countries as well as India shows that in order to achieve inclusive growth we need to do five things.
The true challenge for India is to really to grow at 9-10 per cent per annum year after year for two decades of more to lift a vast section of population out of poverty. India has grown at those rates but grown relatively for a short period. Therefore, to have a sustained high growth for three decades, is a challenge. And these challenges will happen at a point when 700 million people in the 3-4 decades will move from rural to urban areas.
Narendra Modi government has replaced 65-year old Planning Commission (Yojana Aayog) with a new institution named NITI Aayog. NITI stands for National Institution for Transforming India. To bring in a lasting transformation, radical change in the process of planning and implementation of developmental work is required. Plans should be formulated at local bodies and village level on felt-need based approach.
It has been 10 years after P V Narasimha Rao, the country's Prime Minister from 1991 to 1996, died. India's history would have been different had Rao led the Congress to re-election in the 1996 general elections. Had it won, the Congress might have had the real chance to break loose of the Nehru-Gandhi family's vice-like grip. However, what followed a few years after the 1996 elections was political theatre. Within months, Rao had to quit as president of party, but his downfall was not complete until the representative of the first family, Sonia Gandhi, was anointed party chief in 1998.
Skill gap remains a major challenge for employment of a large number of youth in the country. The new government has accorded top priority to skill development and after hectic consultations new schemes with focus on outcome would be in place by the year-end.
To be or not to be is a question being posed in context of NIC for long. When Secretary, DeitY says that NIC does not have even a fraction of capacity to implement 'Digital India' as envisaged by the Prime Minister, the statement can either be read as a criticism of NIC or a prelude to unleashing an NIC invigoration plan this may help NIC to evolve as a formidable information systems organisation that any country would be proud of.
While the entire world is watching how Prime Minister Narendra Modi is courting Chinese President Xi Jinping along the ghats of Sabarmati, India has quietly implemented a high-decibel diesel price reform that will help in narrow the twin deficits -- fiscal and current account -- and may improve India's sovereign rating.