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5 prayers to help India thrive in 2013

Let small steps be taken to make 2013 and the years to come joyous.
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First Published: Wed, Jan 02 2013. 07 35 PM IST
Shyamal Banerjee/Mint
Shyamal Banerjee/Mint
This new year, I have some prayers to offer and some requests to make. If implemented or heeded to, these will go a long way in making Indians better human beings and India a better country, spiritually and economically.
Let the rule of law prevail
Let all the laws that are enacted get implemented in a free and fair manner. Let law delivery become blind so that it looks at the crime and not at the connection of criminals. Let law delivery become fast—the maxim of justice delayed is justice denied prompts faster resolution of cases.
No economic prosperity can be sustained in the absence of the rule of law, faster justice and appropriate governance. This should result in Indian entrepreneurs putting their capital to work in India rather than outside. Revival of investment will pave the way for sustaining growth in the future and lowering inflation on a sustained basis.
Let Indians be proud of being Indians
Indians describe the first freedom movement of 1857 as the Mutiny of 1857. Major General Henry Havelock’s statue in Trafalgar Square describes the same as a “campaign in India”. What an ungrateful nation we have become to describe freedom fighters as mutineers.
Indians need to be proud of what they are and what they have. No nation is perfect. Let the mindless spread of negativity be behind us in 2013. Let the headline highlight how an honest cab driver returned valuables, how a courageous doctor saved life, how police averted terror attacks, how a farmer increased yields rather than just news about rape, murder and theft.
With a positive attitude, Indians will make a huge difference in attracting capital flows and developing a cohesive social environment. Let Indians learn from the saying “2 billion Chinese spread good news about China, 1.2 billion Indians spread bad news about India”. Transformation of the Indian cricket team’s attitude from always working to save the match to always working to win the match (notwithstanding the current performance) should help Indians to develop a positive attitude.
Let religious institutions see God in humans
Some religious institutions are doing a lot of good work but they are capable of doing much more. Let the irony of ghee lamp’s being lighted in front of deities in temples outside which malnourished children suffer from hunger not continue in 2013. Let service to humans be treated as service to God.
Let the vaults of religious institutions be opened and monetized of their holdings of gold, silver, diamonds, pearls and real estate, among other assets. Let the rituals pave the way for economic use of resources. Let the surplus resulting from the monetization of holdings and rituals be spent on lifting Indians from abject poverty levels, which though is in front of our eyes is not reaching our hearts or minds. Selling of gold by religious institutions can reduce import of gold and lower the pressure on current account deficit. Religious institutions taking the burden of poverty alleviation will also help in shifting the focus of the budget from subsidy to investment.
Let jugad boost productivity
Indians’ jugad has resulted in frugal engineering, utilizing capacities beyond the normal level and creating a low-cost proposition without compromising on quality. No other city in the world will be using their local railway network the way Mumbai does. Making lassi in a washing machine, making the world’s cheapest car, doing a heart surgery at the cheapest cost in the world are all examples of Indian jugad.
Let jugad become a force multiplier for productivity in every aspect of the economy. Jugad is needed in the agriculture sector to increase yield from the bottom of the peer group, to reduce wastage in farm to consumer cycle, to improve the efficiency in distribution so that without burdening consumers farmers can earn well. Jugad is needed in manufacturing to create factories that can employ thousands of workers. Jugad is needed in governance so that the regulatory machinery supports growth rather than become a speed breaker for growth. Jugad is needed in banking so that India can have as many bank accounts as it has telephone subscribers. Indian productivity in many aspects is low compared with global standards. Rupee depreciation or exploitation of natural advantages cannot be the solution for exports growth.
Let’s take small steps to energy independence
Deficiency of oil results into larger import bill every year. Big steps are required to exploit wind, solar, hydro and thermal resources, which is aplenty in India. Let Indians take small steps in 2013 to reduce energy dependence. Let car pooling become the norm. Let Indians use cycle and public transport, wherever and whenever possible. Let energy consciousness be visible in unplugging devices from sockets when not in use and switching off lights when not required at home or in office premises. Let each Indian commit that they do not use the air-conditioner, refrigerator, heater only till the level they are required, and never leave the tap running when not in use.
Let small steps be taken at the individual and country levels to make 2013 and the years to come joyous.
Nilesh Shah is director, Axis Direct.
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First Published: Wed, Jan 02 2013. 07 35 PM IST
More Topics: Wide Angle | 2013 | markets | economy |