“The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?” These words of Jawaharlal Nehru at midnight on 14th August 1947 still hold tremendous truth and remain valid even today. As India celebrated its 70 years of Independence, the citizens have much to be proud of and can look to a future that is radiant with opportunity.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi re-echoed this optimism as he spoke from the ramparts of the 17th century Red Fort in New Delhi. In his fourth Independence Day address to the Nation, he called upon the citizens of India to build a New India that will be free from the shackles of caste and religion...where terrorism and corruption will be defeated and people will have access to better standard of living. His speech reflected his vision for a New India...where people will come together to realize the dreams of youth, women and farmers...where shanti, ekta and sadbhavana shall flourish.
The PM stressed that we need to work with determination, in an environment where all are equal...no one is big or small. To accelerate ahead on the path of development, he said we need to give up the “chalta hai” attitude and be driven by “badal sakta hai”. He emphasized in the past it was the “Bharat Chhodo” for freedom...today it is “Bharat Jodo” for a New India!
From enumerating his high expectations from the people of India, PM Modi went on to explain what the government and he were working on to transform India. Good governance remains a priority but with greater speed and simplification of processes. The fight against corruption has been initiated and is expected to continue relentlessly. Technology, he promised is increasingly being used to harness and track corruption as well as to facilitate greater transparency in all government actions. The PM explained how his government is working with universities to expand their operations. In the last three years his government has been instrumental in setting up six IITs, seven IIMs and eight IIITs. In addition to education, the focus is also on more affordable and widespread availability of critical medical facilities besides capping of prices of vital drugs.
At the macro level, too there is change. PM talked of cooperative federalism and competitive federalism in which the Centre and the State now work more closely together. The Centre is now lending a helping hand to the States in implementing policies such as: GST, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, Smart Cities and Ease of Doing Business.
The PM’s speech clearly mirrors India – a young nation, comprised of yuva shakti that is already growing fast, but poised to grow a lot faster. The government has embarked on several initiatives to step up the pace of the economy.
Ganesh Chaturthi is an auspicious time when the Lord removes obstacles and paves the way for progress and happiness. And by a happy coincidence the Supreme Court delivered a landmark ruling which elevates privacy to a fundamental right and declares that it is intrinsic to right of life and personal liberty. What’s remarkable is this that the largest bench of the SC was ever constituted...and that the nine-member bench was unanimous in their verdict. This ruling is probably the finest in the history of the Court but is likely to set open a Pandora’s Box of cases and legislations.
The absolute right to privacy resides in Article 21 and other fundamental freedoms contained in the Constitution. But for long they have remained obscured from public attention. It was the petition challenging the Aadhaar project that provided the spark for this judgement. Overturning a 63-year old verdict, this historic 547 pages ruling boldly demarcates the limits of the state’s intervention in the lives of citizens. Coming on the back of India’s 71st Independence Day, the Right to Privacy, I hope, will open a new era of freedom and well-being for the citizens of India.
Disruption appears to be a negative word, but in the world of technology it appears to be the guiding force. Researchers are constantly seeking ways to innovate by upsetting the applecart. Participants at the ITF Conference in Pune last month organised by the Society, were taken down the ‘road not taken’ and shown how technology is re-inventing our world and lives. Keynote speaker, Mr. Ravi Pandit, CEO, KPIT Technologies and a CA too, shared how cutting-edge technologies in robotics, nanotech, genetics, software, computers and sensors are disrupting the normal.
Another vital facet was the rapid proliferation of technology. He traced how it took 119 years for spindles to reach the 50 million mark, TV happened a lot faster with 50 million users in just 30 years. Internet spread much faster, getting 50 million users in just 4 years. Jio was exceptional, got 50 million users in 83 days ! Clearly change is here to ‘stay’ so let’s keep pace!
“Champions of Change” is a novel initiative of NITI Aayog, the government’s thinktank to spark innovative ideas of change. This two-day deliberation of around 200 young CEOs from all corners of India was a platform for brainstorming; to chart out a blueprint for “New India” and drive Transformation across sectors. The young CEOs had a unique opportunity to interact with each other as well as with secretaries and cabinet ministers of various ministries. Among their many concerns were the high number of regulators…they also questioned as to who evaluates the performance of the regulators.
The young minds were divided into six groups and were assigned an issue which is a challenge for policy making. The issues included: world-class infrastructure, reforming financial sector, doubling farmer’s incomes, smart cities, Make in India and New India 2022. They made their presentations to PM Modi, who told them, “You are my team, and we need to work together to take India forward.” He urged them to adapt to change as they work for the welfare of the people and the nation.
Clearly the nation is heading for even better times with abounding opportunities and enhanced stability. World leaders, renowned economists and multinational heads have all reiterated the vast potential and immense optimism they believe India possesses. To help us chart our way ahead we return to the question that Pandit Nehru posed at the dawn of India’s independence…“Are we brave and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?”
The festive season has set in. Hope you enjoyed the Ganpati Festival.
Wishing you a Happy Dussehra in advance!!
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With kind regards
CA Narayan Pasari