Let us make the right choice in 2014
Anyone who has visited Singapore will vouch for the efficiency, cleanliness, order and quality of life in Singapore. Do you think that was created overnight? No! It was the efforts of one man – Lee Kuan Yew. Quoting from Wikipedia LKY led the “transformation from a relatively underdeveloped colonial outpost with no natural resources into a “First World” Asian Tiger.” He is widely regarded as a great statesman and anyone wanting to do good for them or their country HAS to learn from LKY.
Let’s go to India.
What we need today is institutions that promote a culture of creativity and merit. Only a strong leader like Lee Kuan Yew can do it. It takes perseverance to build a top country out of a mosquito infected swamp.
Let’s take up the inevitable question. Is it possible to make India developed? Yes, yes and yes!
How? India needs reforms in a lot of different areas. There is no magic wand and no overnight solutions. This is not a semester exam, nor is it a game of cards. This is our future. We need to bake the pie before distributing it as LKY reminded us.
For the lay man: Economically, India should stand on 3 pillars: agriculture, manufacturing, services. Socially, India needs education, and hygiene.
An economy which creates jobs organically and supplies skilled laborers has institutions that promote these.
Who can do this? Answer is Narendra Modi.
Why do I believe this?
- He has shown in Gujarat how economy stands 1/3rd on agriculture, 1/3rd on manufacturing and 1/3rd on services.
- In manufacturing his recipe has 3 focus areas: skilled cheap labor, political support and zero defect manufacturing. These are precisely the ingredients that will create institutions which will take India forward.
- In agriculture, assured water, electricity, soil health card, irrigation practices, innovative land use, agro-forestry has boosted agricultural production in Gujarat. These are important ingredients which have the potential to succeed.
- Promotion of tourism, teacher export, technology export, you name any service industry, Modi has already implemented changes to boost it
- Education is a big focus area for Modi
- In primary education, Gujarat has furthered the DPEP system and focused on girl child education, increasing enrollment, and reducing dropout rate.
- In higher education Gujarat leads the way with the number and variety of universities.
- He has put in place institutions for skill development. One example is how he delinked government from lift inspection, and encouraged private parties to inspect lift by recruiting skill from it is which simultaneously started courses on lift inspection. This is a small example. The focus on skill development is important as it not only provides jobs, but also increases the morale of the people. He proves that he truly follows his principle “Glass is always full, half with air, half with water”
- Socio-economic impact: Providing clean water to Ahmedabad from Narmada has resulted in reducing fluoride in drinking water and also increased the immunity of the people. Modi started speaking recently about celebrating Gandhi-150 in 2019 by a call for clean India. Promoting tourism is another way to ensure cleanliness of our streets. All these initiatives will have a strong socio-economic impact that will boost India to the path of development.
- Will, vision, assurance and trust: He said Gujarat will have 24×7 electricity in 1000 days and he did it, with the same bureaucracy, same people. If he is determined to do something, he does it. He does not just complaint, sit and cry, or do anshan. No, he is a man of action. He has a vision for India’s development and knows the strength and weakness of every part of our country. His style of functioning is that of trust, and there is an assurance that he will make everything right, as proved in Gujarat.
How long will it take to set the machine rolling? I would estimate 20 years.
Let me now talk a little bit about political and economic ideologies.
There is no conclusive proof on whether central planning or free market works. There are only indications on why some people are able to make either work for them. There is no doubt, however, that strong institutions work. When people have faith, and are part of the institutions, it works everywhere. Modi’s 4-P framework is precisely that. It is neither capitalism nor socialism; it is modiism, modinomics, modirajya, whatever you want to call it. It will unite India and create institutions.
It is not that I don’t believe in “non-silly socialism” of Yogendra Yadav. I’m sure YY has the good of India in heart. I just don’t trust this to work because it has failed so many times for us. At stake is the future of 1.25 billion Indians. India must make up for much time lost.[LKY] These policies have resulted in nothing extraordinary as LKY observed in his lecture. We have messed up again and again. We messed up in 1977, when Morarji was chosen over Atalji. We messed up in 2004 when Atalji was shown the door. It is time to make things right, for the last and final time.
I will quote Lee Kuan Yew again, “To run democracy, whether it is British style or American style, you must have the pre-conditions, and the pre-condition is a fairly large educated middle class, that provide stability in society, that can vote one way or the other, between parties that are fundamentally in agreement on basic principles and in disagreement as to how to achieve certain objectives. Now when you have total disagreement in parties within a country and there is no middle class that is educated and has a certain standard of life that enables them to choose between one or the other, it has collapsed.”
We don’t have that pre-condition! Let’s first create that pre-condition! Let us first bake the pie before distributing it!
It is absolutely essential that we make the right choice in 2014.
If we make the right choice in 2014, then in 2034, I will endorse the distribution of the pie. We will all sit down and discuss how “non-silly socialism” is so cute. This should happen not in 2014, but in 2034, when whole of India has Electricity, Water, Roads, Cleanliness, Health assurance, jobs, and a quality of life that affords lofty ideas like “non-silly socialism”. I promise to campaign for AAP in 2034, not now!
Reference and further reading:
4 part series by Atanu Dey on Lee Kuan Yew’s address to Indian parliament in 2005
Why Narendra Modi is like LKY: http://www.firstpost.com/india/modis-social-contract-is-like-lee-kuan-yews-in-singapore-654892.html