Seventy year is a long journey full of milestones and achievements yet we are too far from some of the others which can make us a better nation.
It is time to feel proud as an Indian but it is also a time for introspection and to etch some new goals as we begin the march for a new India.
Here is my quick wish list of what we need to achieve for a new India.
The Innovative India
The India where we move away from rote learning and adapt a new practical approach to education where learning is imparted through skills and practical training then simple classroom teaching. The innovation should be rewarded and schools should become centres for innovation and they should seed and nurture talent.
Overhaul of Bureaucracy
For long much of the country has been run by a bureaucracy that follows a template approach. While the bright young people are preferring to join the private sector, even the best and brightest who join the civil services are often frustrated at not being allowed to implement newer ideas and fresh approaches. It is time to reward the doers in the system. Getting domain experts as equals through a lateral entry system which gets in qualified professionals at different levels without any discrimination is one such step towards this.
The India where idea of India is preserved
India is about diversity, about different cultures and religion. We thrive in chaos and we value pluralism. We need to keep the fringe elements at bay, ensure tolerance of all views but shed appeasement of any kind. No vote bank politics but pure agenda based politics. A new India should be more tolerant of criticism and should learn to laugh at itself by taking comedy and cartoons in its stride.
An India where we respect women and make our country safer for women
An India that provides women with equal opportunities and no discrimination against them. While crime against women should be tried in special fast track courts, any misuse of these provisions also should have a similar provisions for a fast track trial. What is important gender sensitisation courses in schools and colleges and also at work places to create a new India which is safer and better for women.
Corruption free India
From public services to regulatory agencies corruption has been a bane of the country and the common Indian still reels under it, even though there has been a huge progress in stemming the tide of corruption. A new India must have efficient public services and accountability. People want basic services, a good road, an efficient power system, no inflated bills and a grievance redressal system. All this needs to be made more efficient.
A cleaner India with public spaces
One of the biggest challenges that India faces is lack of accountability and enforcement to make the country clean. We need to enforce laws and impose fines for littering and have an effective garbage disposal mechanism. A strict no stray animals policy needs to be enforced as they contribute to the garbage being scattered. We need to take urgent steps to rid our cities and towns and even villages of pollution, we need more green lungs and public spaces instead of concrete jungles and wonky planning that we have created around our cities.