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New India Pledge: Perspectives on Hopes and Aspirations for Development.

India, the "Bharat" which was said to be the "SONE-KI-CHIDIYA" (Golden Bird) during ancient times was plundered by many forces which aggravated it and exploited all types of its resources. As a result, by the time India got its independence from the colonial rule, it was turned into a socio-economically weak underdeveloped nation. The leaders of the country set the goals ahead to be achieved. Radha krishnan in his speech on the midnight between 14 and 15 August, 1947 said:

"A free India will be judged by the way in which it will serve the interest of the common man in the matter of food, clothing, shelter and the social services. Unless we destroy corruption at high places, root out every trace of nepotism, love of power, profiteering and black-marketing which have spoiled the good name of this great country in present times, we will not be able to raise the standards of efficiency in administration as well as in the production and distribution of the necessary goods of life."

After independence, the nation through its national and state planning process adopted by the union and the state governments struggled hard to improve the socioeconomic status of its population. During the process, a few states have achieved higher degree of development, while a majority of them have still remained underdeveloped, but delicately the Sovereign, Socialistic, Democratic, Republic of India with the endeavors' of the national and state governments has made considerable socio-economic progress since its independence. This is reflected in the achievement of its success in the economic growth rate during various periods. The average annual growth rate during the first three decades of Indian planning was only 3.6 percent; during 1980s, the GDP growth rate accelerated to 5.6 percent and after economic reform in the 1990s, it has further accelerated to 6.0 percent. Indian economy after 1990s has been experiencing an average annual rate of growth of more than 6 percent with little bit variations. Along with faster economic growth, there has been reduction in poverty and improvement in various indicators of human and social development. The literacy rate has gone up from a meager 18 percent in 1951 to 74 percent in 2011 and the percentage of population living below the poverty line has been reduced from 45 percent in 1993-94 to 22 percent in 2011-12. The infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate have been drastically declined. The import and export of the country has jumped from a meager 1016 million dollar in 1949-50 to 490737 million dollar in 2013-14. The foreign exchange reserve of the country has also gone up from 524 million dollar in 1950-51 to 309723 million dollar in 2013-14.

However, the pace of development is very slow in rural areas and socio-economic status of a large percentage of rural population has not improved adequately. There are a lot of regional and inter-regional disparities in terms of development. Moreover, contribution of gender and disadvantaged sections of the society towards the economic growth of their state varies from one region to the other. The standard of living and quality of life are still to be improved to a satisfactory level. The people living in rural areas, those who are living in urban slums, working in the informal sector and those who are socio-economically marginalized, have a lot of expectation from the "New India' mission. The government aspires to build a new India by 2022.

Some of the perspectives on tasks before the nation for building a new India are:

(i) Eradication of social, economic and political disparities-both from rural as well as urban areas.

(ii) Eradication of social, economic and human poverty and promoting human well being with a human face. The goal needs to be greater happiness for the larger sections of the population.

(iii) Promoting economic growth with social justice. The goal should be pro-poor growth with maximum trickle down effect.

(iv) Ensuring basic needs such as roti kapda makan; bijli, sadak, pani; and sikhya, swasthya and safai for all.

(v) Good governance and removal of corruption and making the political and bureaucratic system more accountable to their duties and responsibilities.

(vi) Emphasizing on social and cultural capital and magnifying the role of social institutions in nation building.

(vii) Laying stress on sustainable and inclusive development.

(viii) Making the nation free of terrorism, casteism, communalism and naxalism.

(ix) Skilling the nation and empowerment of women, youth and panchayats.

(x) Energizing all the sectors such as primary, secondary and tertiary sectors and all the actors such as government, corporate, NGOs, civil society organization in the process of meeting the challenges of nation states such as unemployment, inequality, illiteracy and ill health.

(xi) The motto of the development should be of the people, by the people and for the people. Sabke sath sabka Vikas.

Although the perception of anticipation from New India varies from individual to individual, yet some of the common areas of agreement that it should provide basic needs to all its population and country free from poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and socio-economic inequality. The legislative and executive system should provide corruption free good governance. The country should achieve a respectable position in the area of inclusive and sustainable development. There should be respect for social, cultural, religious and constitutional values. The democracy and decentralization need to ensure peoples' freedom and knowledge regarding ethos of democratic and decentralization principles and values. The New India need not only aspire for higher economic growth and development but also ensure greater degree of "Happiness" to its entire citizen.

Note: Summary of the Guest of Honor speech delivered in Institute of Technology and Science (I.T.S.) in International Conference on "Globalization: Prospects and Opportunities for a New India" at its campus in Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad on, 7th April, 2018.
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Title Annotation:The Editor's Column
Author:Pattanaik, B.K.
Publication:Political Economy Journal of India
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jul 1, 2018
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