Krishnam niyamam harayah suparna apo wasana divam uttapanti” broadly interpreted as “along the dark course, tawny well-feathered (birds or flames), clothing themselves in the waters, fly up towards heaven” by Maharshi Dayanand, these verses from the Rig Veda allude to the earliest spacecraft known to man. Our rich cultural heritage has unfailingly mesmerised us with wondrous legends that not only inspire our modern world but will also spur future generations with foresight and sagacity.
Today, India stands at the threshold of achieving that destiny—to be among the best in the world—in another decade or so. Our young population and its aspirations are radically distinct. Already home to more than 100 unicorns and many fintechs that are revolutionising our lives, we are thriving to solve what economists would call “beyond the horizon” problems with our ingenuity and hardwired instincts. As we celebrate “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, ready to usher in our golden century of independence in 2047, our collective vision—elucidated as India 2.0 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi—is rolling out a well-defined blueprint for the country to achieve its true potential. Inspired by the vision of AatmaNirbharBharat, it seeks cohesive and balanced progress in terms of ‘People, Planet and Prosperity’—commonly known as the UN sustainable development goals.
People power: The biggest strength of our country comes from its vibrant people—who are hardworking and resilient, and known around the world for it. As the world ages rapidly, a young India is expected to shoulder the responsibility of taking economic growth forward with its immense talent. Experts say that if we utilise our huge demographic dividend productively, our GDP will jump from the current $3 trillion to $9 trillion by 2030 and $40 trillion by 2047. This dividend is already manifesting in innovation, entrepreneurship, social revolution and widespread tech adoption.
It is impressive to note the foresight of our people and the government to capture this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The plans, policies and investments in universal healthcare, especially to reduce infant and mother mortality, visionary education policies and increasing emancipation of women to participate in jobs and family welfare will go a long way in achieving this vision. It is also delightful to watch the competition among states to attract investments, but they must also support the central government in dealing with issues like migration, ageing, skilling and urbanisation. As we proudly say that every sixth person on Earth is an Indian, let’s hope that every second productive talent is an Indian in another decade or so.
Planet Earth: We live in a country that culturally revers mother nature and all its living beings, having inscribed “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” or “the whole world is a family” in its ethos since millennia. For us, nature and environment are not outside, they constitute our very own bodies. And as a responsible country, India has committed to reaching net zero by 2070, but without harming our growth prospects or the environment. A reduction in the usage of fossil fuel-based energy sources and moving to non-polluting means of transport constitute a significant base of this pledge.
For us, this is an opportunity to transform India’s mobility infrastructure driven by three key disruptive trends: EVs and alternative power-trains, connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). Our exemplary internet adoption and the UPI-driven financial revolution, among other things, inspires confidence that India can efficiently develop and absorb advances like an efficient, data-enabled and driverless mobility ecosystem that will steer the country towards cleaner cities and healthier lives.
Prosperity: Prosperity, as someone famously said, is not a race; it’s a marathon when it comes to ensuring balanced growth for a vast country like India. The government has been proactively taking care of the economically weak rural population, and the urban poor through a well thought out strategy. At the same time, the country has to grow economically in high double digits for many years to lift major sections of its population out of poverty.
Thus, the foundation of a prosperous India lies in better education, more private and public investment, high-end innovation and global competitiveness. While our policies are steadily shaping this leap forward, we must push innovation as the true driver of sustainable economic progress, while states compete to be the cleanest and healthiest. This will create many more Bengalurus and so called “Soonicorns”. While we proudly say that we are the fastest growing economy and hope to remain so for years to come, the increasing global geopolitical upheaval is forcing countries and corporations to include India in their plans. In that backdrop, there are two more Ps, Partnerships and Posterity, that can aid India in its triple bottom-line approach to development.
Long-term partnerships: Whether it’s public-private or bilateral co-operation, partnerships are critical to ensure that India’s intended economic growth is achieved. For example, India needs an investment of $1 trillion in infrastructure alone in the next five years, and much of it should come from such partnerships. To its credit, the government is focussed on developing several enabling tools, including efficient operation and maintenance of public assets to spur private sector investments in health, education, civil amenities, rural infrastructure and so on. To become a sustainable development model, we need to hone our skills in capacity building, process standardisation, sector tools, development funds and project development skills.
Posterity: “A man does not plant a tree for himself, but for posterity,” said poet Alexander Smith. While we need to ensure a great living environment for our future generations, we must also inculcate values of family, hard work and perseverance in them. A century-old India will still be the guiding spirit of humanity, looked up to by nations and people around the world. The responsibility of shouldering the status of an emerging superpower lies equally on the shoulders of our young. Today, the country has reached an inflection point, ready to come of age and poised for growth. The upcoming centenary of the world’s largest democracy could power India to its fullest potential, with eyes firmly set on claiming a spot as a global superpower. We have the opportunity to draw from the learnings of the pandemic, and make choices that leverage our strengths as a nation to build an equitable and carbon-neutral economy.
The vision of India at 100 years of independence motivates every individual and industry, especially with a strong foundation in place, in making it achievable. A youthful population, a thriving services sector, technological leadership, a culture of innovation, a strong manufacturing backbone and conducive policies are powering India’s momentum towards a bright future.
The writer is Chairman and CEO of Hero MotoCorp
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today