The year 2021 is going to be a special one as we will be entering the 75th year of our independence. This is a significant milestone in the journey of our republic and is an opportunity for reflection and introspection on our past achievements and future challenges.
After centuries of subjugation and struggle, when India attained independence on August 15, 1947, it was a new dawn filled with hope and promise of a better future. But challenges were enormous—poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, and lack of any worthwhile industrial and scientific base, to name a few.
India is recognised as an emerging world power. We are the third largest economy in
terms of Purchasing Power Parity. The day may not be far when we regain our past glory of the times when India was known as Vishwa Guru and was home to great philosophers like Patanjali and Shankaracharya, doctors like Charaka and Sushruta, mathematicians like Aryabhatta and Varahmihir.
It was under the leadership of the great souls like Mahatma Gandhi. Sardar Patel, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Veer Savarkar that our freedom struggle was fought. As we seek to transform India into a developed and prosperous nation, their lives and thoughts continue to inspire us. With a median age of less than 30 years, India is a young nation in an aging world. This youthful energy needs to be channelised constructively for nation building. If our youth are sufficiently motivated and equipped with necessary skills, they can become change-makers of the society.
India needs to grow at a rapid pace to raise the standard of living of the people. But this growth has to be inclusive. This growth has to be environment-friendly and sustainable. We are duty-bound to leave a liveable planet for our future generations. Our ancient culture teaches us to live in harmony with nature and all other beings. I have often said that that we must preserve our culture and protect nature in order to have a bright future.
Our development model should also be balanced. We should strive to bridge the disparities that still exist among people, communities or regions. We should endeavour to bridge the rural-urban divide and the emerging digital divide.
The governments alone cannot fulfil all these tasks. Private sector will also have to join hands. Public-Private Partnership is the way forward for India’s development.
Equally important is people’s participation in the developmental programs. The success of Swachh Bharat Mission has amply demonstrated that government programs should become mass movements, owned and led by the people.
India is on the cusp of a major transformation. Our aim is to build an ecosystem where everyone can reach his or her full potential and lead a fulfilling and meaningful life.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the normal course of life and has put tremendous stress in our lives. But good news is the manner in which we have carefully calibrated our collective response to the pandemic. Our resolve and resilience have made us endure the negative impact and prompted us to tap into our innate strengths to meet the challenge. We are also turning this threat into an opportunity by moving towards atmanirbharta or self-reliance.
India is a vibrant parliamentary democracy that is emerging as an important player on the world stage and continues on its developmental journey with greater confidence, competence and commitment.