3 Cheers to the Republic
As India celebrates its 70th Independence Day, we have much to celebrate. Let’s get to the reasons that call for a
celebration. In 70 years, I believe, India has matured as a democracy, with many of its key institutions developing a robust independence. Institutions like the higher judiciary, which has in recent years become active in speaking truth to power.
The media, too, has emerged as a key interlocutor in our raucous democracy, but in recent years, with the emergence of the disruptive social media platforms, traditional media, like newspaper and TV channels, have floundered. But, as the saying goes, the media dozes but never closes. That is something to celebrate about.
Another reason to raise the bubbly is the higher profile that India has reached thanks to the outreach of Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi. Mr. Modi has taken foreign policy firmly in hand, and his efforts have made India to be considered as a serious player on the world stage. To be sure, there are many obstacles to India getting a seat at the high table, the United Nations Security Council, and full membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. These obstacles are being placed by China, which has deep economic ties to Pakistan, but I have an idea that India will get its way, sooner rather than later. And, yes, I believe that China will eventually back down from its misguided adventure in Doklam, Bhutan.
Mr. Modi has done his best to improve relations with Pakistan, but when Pakistan has made cross-border terrorism as its strategy it would be difficult to sit down with the Pakistanis to settle the so-called dispute over Jammu and Kashmir.
The prime minister has gone out of his way to improve relations with the countries in the Middle East. This is especially praiseworthy because the Middle East is the biggest supplier of crude oil, gas and LNG to India, which, in turn, is a huge energy importer.
On the domestic front, the demonetization of Rs.500 and
Rs.1000 notes has had an impact on the generation of black money, terror financing and counterfeiting. The positive effects of the demonetization will be felt in the coming years.
The introduction of the Goods and Services Tax regime, replacing multiple taxes, is another achievement we can be proud of. While there will be teething problems with GST, I have an idea that it will eventually prove to be beneficial to the economy at large.
India’s economy continues to be a beacon of hope among the major economies of the world, and is expected to record over 6% growth in the years ahead. This has been made possible because Mr. Modi’s Administration has made it easier for businesses to set up shop in the country. I believe he will soon be revising the ponderous labour policy, which will make it easier for companies to hire people as and when needed without having to get clearance from the government regarding the personnel policies.
Overall, then, there is much to be proud of, and much to be hopeful about. As Mr. Modi ascends the ramparts of the Red Fort to deliver his Independence Day address to the nation this 15thAugust, we can raise a toast to the Republic of India with a spring in our step. Jai Hind!