Friday, March 4, 2011

Where to now?

With twenty years having gone by since the Nehruvian economic model was dropped in favour of a more free-market oriented one, it is apparent that the policy does enjoy widespread political support, overtly or covertly.

But the question is, are economic reforms enough for India to have her next tryst with destiny? Have reforms really transformed India as they had promised to? If not, what more needs to be done?

Political Reforms
Although India's formal economy is seen to be very modern and high-tech, its political system is still very much colonial. From local government bodies all the way up to the Central Government, corruption is rampant. Everything requires a bribe and everything is painfully slow. The reason is the top-heavy system gifted down from the colonialists and exploited by the political class.

The next phase of reforms need to be political reforms: more decentralization, a complete abolition of discretionary powers to the executive and a right to recall could be some of the most important changes. But the most important change, one that would change the landscape of Indian life itself, would be police reforms. The idea of police reforms is not new, but it has remained an idea. The greatest need of the new order today is for a modern police system that does not treat citizens like subjects of the Empire.

The next twenty years
In the next two decades, reforms need to reach the grassroots. Corruption and red-tapism have for long prevented the new economy from taking roots in the Indian heartland. All that must change. The true test of reforms will be in the next score. Can reforms change lives not just in big cities but in the small towns of India's north, south and northeast? The answer to that will be the difference between a superpower and a banana republic.

(Series Concluded)

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