consumer durables which had to be purchased in the grey
market earlier are now manufactured in the country. Until
not too long ago, one had to struggle to make a train reservation
- thanks to computerization it takes only a few minutes
liberalization of the economy, opening up of many sectors
(which were earlier state controlled) to competition and
the communication revolution have brought about a sea change
in the life style of many people in a short time.
a generation ago, TV and refrigerator were considered luxury
items. Today they are brought within the reach of the vast
middle class. Thanks to the market forces, one can get a
mobile phone for a down payment of just Rs 500, one of the
lowest in the world.
we still face formidable problems. India is home to half
the illiterates in the world, and an uncomfortably large
number of people live in abject poverty. But, our concern
for the country should neither allow us to overlook our
substantial achievements nor lead to cynicism. There is
no problem that is facing us that cannot be solved - excepting
for unavoidable deaths and irreversible environmental degradation.
the 19th century, many enlightened British got together
and decided that public defecation should be a thing of
the past. The result was the Great Sanitation Movement which
transformed the nation in five years. Our state government
has launched (once again) a welcome initiative to build
3.2 million household toilets over the next 18 months. This
is a worthy goal, and deserves full support. But if we have
to fulfill our potential as a nation, we require similar
efforts in a number of spheres ranging from school education,
health care, harnessing water resources, housing for the
poor to critical infrastructure.
this can be achieved with clarity of goals, sustained focus,
diligence, institutional reform and national will.