tryst with destiny
our course by the twinkle of the distant star and not by the
light of the passing ship
week marks the anniversary of our nation's Independence. 55
years ago Pandit Nehru set course for the new nation-state
in his "Tryst with Destiny" speech. This is as good
a time as any to look at what course the country has taken
and chart out a new bearing to put it back on course.
had umpteen number of successive five year plans along with
a host of other plan documents charting out ambitious targets
in every sphere - education, health, justice, infrastructure,
economy, agriculture, etc. If you look at the balance sheet
for some of these core sectors-two things will strike you
- one is the significant progress we mad in each of the sectors
and the second is the substantial gap between what is possible
and what is achieved. There in lies the paradox!
is going through an extraordinary phase. On the one hand,
there are young, idealistic, brilliant people who are creating
wealth and pursuing excellence with great vigor. On the other
hand, the governance institutions are in shambles, and government
has become the stumbling block in our pursuit of happiness.
advanced societies, much of what government does is taken
for granted. Public order, rule of law, justice, school education,
primary health care, basic infrastructure and natural resource
development - all these are the preconditions for a civilized
society and great development. All these are in government's
hand directly or indirectly, and its failure impedes every
citizen's march of progress.
problems of India are not poverty or deterioration of values
as often cites, but lack of a milieu in which the best in
an individual is realized. The problem in India is bad governance.
We need to reform our institutions to get the best of the
governments we elect. Once we reform the institutions and
systems are in place, most of problems plaguing our country
- illiteracy, poverty, population, unaccountability and other
problems impeding can be effectively addressed.
this end we have to work to redefine the role of government;
to work for electoral reform to ensure that it is possible
for the best and brightest to attain public office, survive
and serve us; we have to work for significant decentralization
of power to enable citizens to understand the link between
their vote and their well-being, between the taxes they pay
and public services they receive; and we also have to work
at creating instruments of accountability to check abuse of
deepening fiscal crisis of governments in India and the political
uncertainties on the one hand, and the dynamism in society
and the growth impulses in the economy on the other hand,
provide us a priceless window of opportunity for governance
reforms in the next few years. Public opinion has to be mobilized
nationally to build pressure for governance reforms, in particular
electoral reforms which are central to a fair and effective
democracy. The status quo is no longer sustainable; if India
fails to combat corruption, ensure fair elections, decentralize
Power, promote high quality public services, and introduce
systems of accountability, then a generation or more will
pay a very heavy price.
is the time for us the people to set a new course for the