'Time for Bharat' offers clarity of thought and balance of vision on governance

Mumbai Nov 14 (IANS): The book, 'Time for Bharat' has been put together by a group of 19 authors from various disciplines, and curated and edited by Arun Ganesh and Srinath Sridharan.

It instills curiosity in the uninitiated, and provides a platform for knowledgeable conversations for others on public governance across Economy, Education, Healthcare, Agriculture, Urbanisation, Industry, Trade, Financial Services, Taxation, Technology, Environment, Energy, Internal Security, International Relations, Defence, Constitution, Legal, and Administrative Governance, in an encompassing way. This book is not about any doctrines, belief systems or philosophies.

The book's uniqueness lies in framing up long-term interests to help Bharat transform in the next 25-year timeframe, fulcrumed on 25,000 years of its civilisational and timeless values, which need effective governance processes, and world-class institutions - all underpinned by principles and underwritten with a ring of security - both from within and without. A forceful imperative, according to authors, is that if 'India is Bharat', then 'India' doesn't need to be around - Bharat must stay only as 'Bharat', which has persevered with plurality and profundity, since time immemorial. Bharat's civlisational narrative requires uninterrupted flow and undivided focus.

The book, 'Time for Bharat' offers clarity of thought and balance of vision on public governance by leading professionals:

The economic governance requires non-linear approaches, including a paradigm shift in the science of economics to build a more resilient and equitable society. The structural constraints would tend to persist with supply-side economics or data-driven empiricism; structural economic change is of the essence. Policymakers need better models as complex, organic, and living systems, not machines.

Healthcare needs to ensure well-being for all. Preventive and primary healthcare are more important than a curative healthcare system. Bharat needs a resilient and robust public healthcare system.

Our education should help human intelligence flower to the fullest. The NEP 2020 must enable the Indian State to step up to the plate. National Education must be an experiential continuum between our expanding self and the larger universe. Our educators must be rooted in the conviction that they can shape the world's future through their students. 'Skilling' must sit on the same pedestal as 'education'. We need institutional mechanisms to help implement/improve the NEP 2020 mission and invest it with all possibilities.

Technology will have to be the most powerful equaliser ever built. Bharat's design and its governance model needs transformation to shape the future of work. It is important to get the scale benefits of India's size and population through internal globalisation - making the economy more efficient and interoperable internally. Every service provided by the government should be digitally-enabled, with either of the two models - assisted service or self-service.

Bharat had solemnly imbibed the enduring filial allegiance of humankind to Mother Earth. The 'environment' is not the 'other'. Ecology is not a subject matter; we are the ecology. 'Governing the environment' is self-defeating, but improving governance is the key, which demands urgent structural transformation towards a green growth - creating a responsible economy and sustainable ecology.

We need to progress towards achieving energy security, energy efficiency and 'green' energy. Economy, Ecology and Energy are the core, inseparable societal priorities. Energy transformation will be smoother when the economy wins, and the ecology is strengthened.

The three goals of agriculture, viz., growth, equity, and sustainability are interconnected. Agriculture has the potential to increase its output manifold provided our agrifood policy framework is transformed from subsidy-led to investment-driven, consumer-oriented to producer-oriented, and supply-oriented to demand-driven by linking farms with factories and foreign markets and by focusing on an innovations-centred system.

'Urbanising' Bharat is beyond the 'rural' and 'urban' binary. Our villages, too, need the power of technology, assimilative policies, and modern governance. A development model where humans live in harmony with nature and where human development is through skilling, education, sports, and entertainment is both possible and desirable. To enable this, we need a nation with a polity of inclusion and democratic participation in its urbanising processes.

Our trade policies (integrating with the GVCs and targetted trade alliances) must be guided by a sound industrial policy, rather than a trade policy controlling the industry. All our policies and their governance should be oriented towards making our services and industries super competitive, globally benchmarked, and trade-facilitating. The key parts of making 'goods' are shifting to innovative design and marketing. 'Make in India' will have a better outcome as a policy.

Notwithstanding visible improvements in the payment systems, Bharat continues to be underbanked, underinsured and inadequately covered by old age income security measures. The Financial Services governance, therefore, requires a common law framework where legislators and regulators operate in a principle-based manner, where the state does not prescribe details of products or processes, where the state does not pick winners, where micromanagement of private persons is absent, and where the legislative and regulatory processes are facilitative and dynamic.

Bharat needs a consistent, transparent, modern, stable, and simple tax environment for setting up internationally competitive businesses and for the betterment of its citizens.

We need deep police reforms, which require state resources on freebies and 'private goods' diverted to 'public goods' like policing and law and order. Strengthening homeland security will be tantamount to securing the nation from within.

Bharat's internationalism and strategic autonomy for partaking and promoting shared values and interests will be underpinned by indigenous scientific, technological, cyber, space and defence manufacturing capability and capacity and its economic, social and political transformation. Developed Bharat will have principles, preparedness, and power reinforced seamlessly.

Bharat's democracy cannot be reduced to electrocracy - with subsidies, reservations, and freebies - amounting to auctioning. Bharat must lead itself, as its sovereignty will be based on the rule of law as justice cannot precede law. With 'inclusion' and 'mass prosperity' as the critical goals, it is time to accelerate constitutional and legal reforms - from governance to individual rights to the justice system.

A collaborative governance displays zero tolerance to corruption, and which blends the acumen of 'Chanakya Neeti', the ideals of 'Ram Rajya', and the essence of being a 'Vishwa Guru', will be transformative and will help reinstate the luminescence of Bharat.



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