Time to re-calibrate ‘India Vision 2020’

 By Col. Mohinder Pal Singh

The corona outbreak may  call  for pragmatic re-caliberation of  our  vision of development 

There is  no  doubt  that  every nation and every organisation needs a vision which stimulates  and motivates  all segments  towards  growth.  2020, became an important milestone  for all Indians because of two reasons one,  in  the  year  2000 a high  level committee  was  formed  at  Planning Commission which submitted a 100 page document , ‘India Vision 2020’ after  2 years of  deliberations  with 30  experts  from different fields  and , two,  a book ‘India 2020’ by  Dr  APJ Abdul Kalam and Dr  YS  Rajan, which translated  the  dream  of  the  erudite technocrat and ex-President for the common man. After all both gave a new hope to  India  and the Indians to look on to a new  India  in next  20 years. The Planning Commission report said in its opening pages that ‘vision  statement  can neither  be  a  prediction of  what  will actually occur  nor  a wish list’ but  India 2020 became  a buzz  word  on the  lips of  every Indian after  the  report  was  released in December 2002.   The report titled ‘India Vision 2020’ delved  into seven  chapters namely human development , Infrastructure, uncommon opportunities, energy environment ,  globalisation and peace and security with each chapter containing some data and its extrapolations for coming two decades. Its been 20 years now and as we herald into 2020 it’s important  to glance  into  what the  experts  had envisaged after  two years of  deliberations and  what we  have  achieved on ground. A non-critical  review of it is utmost important to be able to exercise due diligence in predicting  future vision statements. Few milestones which were enumerated  in the report are, one ‘India should  become the 4th largest economy by 2020’ , two, forest and tree cover should have  grown from 71 million hectares to 83 million hectares cover i.e 33% of the  area and generate  millions of rural  jobs, three, power  generation  capacity should have  risen from  101000 MW to 292000 MW by 2020, four,  the  vision  statement  accepted  that we  had 34 million unemployed  job seekers  and  envisaged  elimination of unemployment by 2020, five , achieving  100% enrolment of  children between  6 and  14  years  age  group is  achievable by 2020, six,   urban air pollution will  be under  control owing to  strict enforcement  of  emission standards and use of ethanol blended motor fuel and seven , India will  become predominately  a  service  economy by 2020.  Overtly, some of the goals  seem to  have been achieved but most of them seem to have  been missed with  narrow to huge margins. Its  time that  the Niti Ayog analyses this document of  the erstwhile Planning  Commission in detail before commencing any  work on the new vision document. Though this document  was  comprehensive there are  many more areas which required  attention and vision which  could have  been  incorporated. Though  all countries  have their vision  and  mission but not  all  countries  have  formulated  such  national level documents. In the very recent past, China released its vision statement ‘Vision 2050’. In this  Xi Jinping, envisaged  two  stage goals. One, to become  a most  innovative nation by 2035 and  two, to become a  nation  with global influence by 2050.The  way  China was effected by the  Corona Virus, it  will  have  to  see  how it  would  have  effected its  economy. As  per  reports  China has  started  its  manufacturing  units at  full  capacity but due to  worldwide  lockdowns, it  will have to  balance  out  the production with the market  demand. That  may  not be  an  easy task too.

As  the  India heralded into 2020 , the  nation  and the  world  was  hit  by the blow of  Corona  Virus. Its   time  to  move into  calibrating  pragmatic, achievable vision which  takes  into  account the  losses to  the various sectors  of  the  economy namely, tourism, travel, agriculture, manufacturing, education , construction and many  more. This outbreak has also opened our eyes into  the   inadequateness  of  our  healthcare sector. At present the healthcare sector in India is mainly having only government or private sector. It’s time the govt thinks of introducing PPP mode into healthcare sector which would be able to support  the  government in the times of  national crisis.

 However, as  we move through the turbulent 2020 and in lockdown period its not time to sit back but time  to  start preparing our  ‘Vision 2040/2050’. The body to formulate it must be established soon and it must have a team   of visionaries and not  merely experts. The ‘India vision 2040/50’ in addition to the  existing  seven chapters of the present vision document must   include  on the  top the Human Security, space exploration  and  research including space  weaponry, defence  preparedness  and defence  self-sufficiency, industries including  strategic industry, border security and  internal security, pragmatic evaluation for poverty elimination, literacy and employment, new role  of DRDO/ PSUs, health education as  part of the  education  curriculum, pragmatic research and  upliftment of  Indian medicine system, physical fitness standards of  our youth  and  sports policy and vision  to  make its  mark in this  field. The new  document  must envisage the strategic dimension and recommend the  thrust  areas  in making India a ‘Nation to reckon with’ in the region. As we wade  through the tough period of nation lockdown we  must open  our thoughts for  a  quick comeback.