|Looking ahead at 2023 and further: Some obvious and unthought challenges ..issues that PM Modi and Govt have to pay attention immediately.|
Looking back at 2022 has multiple memories. While the world saw relief from Covid only to see its emergence again at the fag end of 2022, the Russian-Ukraine war was THE EVENT of the year. We will write a separate post on this critical event later but would like to convey that this war has wide and far-reaching consequences that have not been analyzed yet at least in the public domain and need to be done by various think tanks and the government. In short, it has forced many countries to re-evaluate their war strategies and it will definitely have an effect on every country worth its name.
But besides this war, there are some other issues that will have major challenges going forward. We would like to see them in the global and our own context. We will list some obvious and other unthought issues in this post.
1. Migration:- The United States has a close border with Mexico / South America that allows many people to cross over illegally to chase their dreams or maybe just survive with family from the harsh regimes and poverty in some of the South American countries. It is estimated that a record 80000 people are crossing the borders and into states like Texas and California in the United States from the Mexican borders every month. Former President Trump did try to stop these illegal migrations by constructing a Wall and with some laws (42 that is now being challenged in the Supreme court of the USA) but with the democrats in power all that has become almost null. That is the beauty of Democracy and something we must learn for ourselves.
Consider a similar situation arising out of Afghanistan, Bangla Desh, and Pakistan. Are we prepared for such a mass exodus that is possible due to a natural calamity or harsh regimes and poor resources in those countries . ? It’s time that the government starts thinking seriously about this issue. There is already mass migration from Bangladesh and Rohingyas crossing to India illegally. Yet we have not seen the full impact of such migration. Go to any marriage party and try to judge the people/boys serving food (in general). I think that should be good enough to alert you if you are still not. Life in our country is much better from all aspects and anyone can be lured toward us., This has been happening for centuries since Alexander came all the way from Greece and Babar from Afghanistan. It is time we make our borders more secure and safe and protect our lands.
2. Resources: India has been extremely lucky to have a moderate climate and huge resources in terms of rivers and fertile land. But the huge population rise in past decades and the profligacy behavior of the rich have made sure that we will be running out of critical resources if we don’t pay sufficient attention now. The roads are overcrowded and the agricultural land is being converted into residential areas across all cities. Water levels have fallen down and deforestation has climbed. We have played havoc with nature while burdening mother earth with extra population. This is not about a particular religion or politics but a serious affair that has to be addressed in a nonpartisan manner. If UCC has to come it has to come with all seriousness and urgently.
3. Moral degradation: Due to the emergence of the internet, and social media the development of the masses and society has been uneven. Normally the development of a human being must take place with strong moral and ethical values first and later creative, liberal, and other attributes. However, with the advent of the Internet and social media, it has been just the opposite. It’s easy to get loose videos and debauched material. Liberal policies and change in a generation have also allowed a huge upward following in hotels, bars, and other entertainment things. While from a business and economic point of view these are good the impact on society is not that fair. It creates an unbalanced society that is more developed on vices but less on ethics.
With no hold bar on Bollywood and its sick movies and now OTT channels freely using foul language and sexual contents our new and young generation are perfectly fine with all such things. The older generation might still have qualms about certain things, that is not the case with the younger ones. Marriages across cross religion have become a fashion statement that shows girls as liberal and intellectually minded. The results are also there to be seen by one and all with an increase in murders and rapes.
Corruption is also happening though the government has tried to repair the system. There is in general degradation at all levels of society and system. No political class or organization has been left isolated by these malices.
With these speed, the society will have to face bigger challenges going forward. The government has to focus on elementary education and physical exercise at all levels of education. The introduction of the Bhagwad Gita should be made compulsory and misuse of education by anyone, from madrasas to missionaries to elite schools has to be curbed and stopped.
4. Science and Technology: Though the government is doing its bit in this critical area of science and technology there is still much to be desired and executed. IN the recently held conclave that we organized we felt the weakness and policy paralysis on important issues, especially in the domain of science and technology. There is news that the government is thinking to change the chairmanship of DRDO from a scientist to IAS personnel. While we are not against such moves we are really worried about the damages that we may have to suffer on all such accounts.
The Ministry of Science and Technology, Meity, and the Ministry of communication are three very important ministries, and not to tell the Ministry of Defence. We need very strong executioners in all these places. This decade will be governed and dictated by the science and technology field. China has taken long strides in this region and keeps equipping Pakistan from time to time as a proxy to its hideous design and making it an enemy state number towards us. Unless and until we take China into the field of Science of technology we will not be able to get peace on borders.
This is what PM Modi and the policymakers have to understand in the first place.
5. Hostile neighbors: While we have talked about migration we have not explicitly said about our hostile neighbors. We are of the opinion that China will not confront us directly but will always exploit the enmity between us and Pakistan. The ideological gap and differences between Islam and Hinduism is other reasons why India and Pakistan may not be on good terms. While India may be soft Pakistan will never be kind to India and will always try to seek revenge and the upper hand. Lets us keep this in mind always and do our strategic analysis. Thus to counter Pakistan its major source and iron brother China has to be controlled. India has done well to have good relations with Saudi and the Middle east. This channel is now not very helpful to Pakistan. However, Turkey has emerged as its new friend Pakistan. We have an economic advantage that can be and must be used with all these countries. Unless the resources freely available to Pakistan are stopped we will have this prick in our neighborhood.
Indian policymakers, therefore, have to be smart on the economic front also besides defense and others.
6. Caste and religion: India will continue to face caste and religion-based politics in the near future and there seems to be no end to it. The only way to remove it can happen with development across all layers. Economic development is essential to remove the age-old gap between the rich and the poor and also the caste and religion-based politics and social systems. The Unifrom civil code has become more of a necessity than a political tool for the country. Government must not use it as a vote catcher issue but sincerely work for its implementation in a nonpartisan manner.
7. Economic disparity: Despite claims made by successive governments the status of farmers and the weaker classes of society is still not good in the country. The reasons why BJP won in Gujarat and not in HP or even Delhi may have some reasons behind this issue. While in Gujarat everyone has enjoyed and benefitted from the economic development of the state, be it hotel dhabas or auto taxis, other places have not been so lucky. In Delhi people dont know whether its the BJP or the AAP who has conducted and executed a project. The Kejriwal-led government has always been in the forefront o advertising and publicizing while the BJP has failed to convey to the people aboit its work.
IN Himachal Pradesh the development didn’t touch every household in general and that is why the party lost. The less margin tells us that PM Modi is still the vote catcher but a lack of development and economic upliftment has kept many pro BJP voters away from voting.
IN Uttar Pradesh the BJP won because the people felt security from a biased Samajwadi regime. The free ration was another reason. But these things are very temporary as they depend on the present status and perceived value of any individual. Some BJP-ruled States are living in piped and fancy dreams.
The results of HP have to be taken seriously by the party as it may happen again in 2024 and the party has to be really vigilant and alert. The Bharat Jodo yatra may look insipid at the moment but it has given some strength to congress for sure. The BJP and the government must not live in false hopes, IN politics one day is all that is needed to change perceptions and voting patterns. We will write more on this and many other issues separately.
While the country has progressed well on many sectors there are still huge areas where we have to move fast. All these issues highlighted above may not be visible as challenging but they all are lurking in the dark to strike any day anytime. Therefore we must not remain in any sort of complacent behavior and apathy.
There is news of another cabinet reshuffle happening in January. Though the demise of PM’s mother may delay it but we are of the opinion that this is a much-needed issue. Many ministers and ministries are performing in lackluster mode and there is an urgent need to bring them on their toes. We have already outlined a few where we need to see more proactive action. Then there are others that also need to be tightened as the people take their perceptions of the performance of the governments from them. It is therefore imperative for the governments to pay attention to all ministries and take a performance audit. This was done in tenure one of the Modi government.
Another looks necessary and imminent.
This is the last opportunity for the Modi government to bring desired changes at all levels from policy to cabinet. The New year 2023 starting today offers this and must not be wasted.
We wish our readers and all a happy New Year 2023 based on English / western calendar.
Dr Asheesh Shah
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