"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement..."
Woodrow Wilson's quote could well sum up the spirit of the 2019 Union Budget. 'Reform, Perform, Transform' is the mantra to build a stronger economy for New India in the next few years.
The 'New India' vision encompasses areas of physical and social infrastructure, digitalisation, environmental care, world-class manufacturing, employment opportunities, universal healthcare, space program, education and skill development, research and development, and empowering the start-up culture-among others. Clearly, a strong intent to take the country forward and higher is being initiated.
It is heartening to see the investment plans for infrastructure- national road corridors, port connectivity, inland waterway development and the 'one-nation, one-grid' to name a few. The strategy to build public infrastructure on land parcels held by central ministries and central public sector enterprises is akin to the model of recycling public assets in Australia that has paid rich dividends. With the right execution, this could release huge amounts to fund infrastructure-especially in a scenario that has genuine misgivings on private sector solvency.
Efforts to enhance skills in emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, big data, 3D printing, virtual reality and robotics are welcome. So too is the initiative of new national education policy to transform higher education. As this is aimed at making the country a global talent hub, increased collaboration between the industry and government can drive market-facing perspectives for a future-proofed curriculum and modes of delivery.
Transforming the lives of families in rural India through multiple 'yojanas' with higher standards of clean and healthy living is a much-needed focus. We are happy to see the attention to farmers, fishermen and rural artisans, to name a few. Making India self-sufficient will boost rural growth and enable agriculture to regain its pride of place, besides promoting rural employment.
Women empowerment through encouraging and promoting entrepreneurship is a great step in inclusivity. Beyond gender, we also welcome the inclusive moves to uplift the dignity and self-esteem of underprivileged sections through the 'Stand Up India' scheme. Hopefully, the right awareness programs and meticulous tracking will lift the programs beyond mere intent to authentic execution.
The announced measures to boost the start-up spirit of India should encourage risk-taking for the right causes among our brilliant entrepreneurial minds.
The curtains have been raised for a New India. What we see may not be perfect or complete. But it is so for a reason. The government, business and people are the players on the stage- and together we need to co-create our success. Let us work together to reinforce what works, improve what does not and discover newer and better ways to fine-tune our future.
In short, let's get to work.
(The author is Chairman - NASSCOM & Group CEO - WNS)
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