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A great leap forward

In a piece titled “A plan for double digit growth” in the Republic Day issue of Organiser,R. Balashankar writes: “In these times of worldwide depression India needs a big....

Written by Suman K Jha | January 29, 2009 2:09:00 am

In a piece titled “A plan for double digit growth” in the Republic Day issue of Organiser,R. Balashankar writes: “In these times of worldwide depression India needs a big,tangible national renewal plan… The young India who constitute 65 per cent of Indian population is not interested in duplicate,second rate solutions. The knowledge age has given life to a new kind of aspiration where quick-fix jugaad will not work. This offers a great opportunity to the BJP because it has better track-record as a harbinger of ‘hope and virtue’,to borrow a cliché from Barack Obama. The condition that Obama inherited from George W. Bush has many similarities with the Indian situation.”

He adds: “Every political idea has a context. For over six decades,four generations of Congress Nehru-Gandhis glorified and romanticised India’s rural poverty. Kalawati from the suicide fields of Vidarbha,Karmadevi and Shiv Kumari of Amethi make excellent script for western film-makers who scavenge on India’s backwardness. Congress cannot offer hope. In 1971,it spoke of garibi hatao,in 2004,it was aam aadmi. One more election manifesto on rural poverty?… The immediate task before the next government will be to end the deepening industrial stagnation and job loss.  Energy is a major concern area. Four and six laning of national highway on its entire stretch could be a major poll plank. Education is the most important growth engine. Some one can naively ask where are the resources for taking up these monumental plans. Actually,these are schemes in the annals of the Planning Commission,with funds allocated and never implemented. The missing link is political will and leadership. The NDA has shown during its six-year tenure that it has the desire and capacity to make India a great economic power.”

The sinking of the UPA

In an article titled “Coming elections and party chances,” M. V. Kamath writes: “With barely three to four months to go for the general elections speculation is rising as to who will take over New Delhi. Can one dare to make a prediction as to the final outcome? Unlike the NDA government which mistakenly pre-poned the elections on the theory that it can cash in on the fact that economically it had done well during its regime and could speak of ‘Shining India’,the present UPA government has little to show. True,inflation has come down to 5.91 per cent but that is hardly something the UPA government can take credit for. Thanks to the recession,the job-market has entered a dangerous phase. The textile industry has lost more than seven lakh jobs. The Information Technology is in no better shape. Retrenchment is the order of the day. Young technicians are getting apprehensive. Salary cuts have already started and the contagion is spreading.”

He adds: “The general belief is that the UPA government has a weak prime minister and that has been noticed again and again. But really,how many of India’s vast army of voters have any concept of the nuclear deal which has practically reduced India to subservience to the United States? The UPA government has shown enormous weakness in dealing with Pakistan to the disgust of many,but there are others who call it high statesmanship.”

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