• 6th May 2019
  • Sameer Mungekar
  • 0

Overview:

India is a multilingual, multi-religious, democratic state and the Federal Republic. It gained independence from the British rule, on 15th August 1947, under the leadership of Shri Mahatma Gandhi and several other, prominent and dedicated freedom fighters. The Republic of India was constituted on 26th January 1950, under the guidance of Shri Babasaheb Ambedkar. The Indian Parliament consists of the lower house, Lok Sabha, and the upper house, Rajya Sabha. The Loksabha consists of 543 constituencies, representing citizens from different parts of the country. The Rajyasabha consists of a maximum of 250 members representing, members elected by the Members of Legislative Assemblies from different states and members appointed by the President of India from various disciplines such as arts, sports, culture, literature, etc. The President of India is the head of the Republic of India. He is assisted by the Vice President. The Prime Minister is the functional head of the government of India. He is an elected member of the lower house of parliament. The Prime Minister is assisted by the Union Council of Ministers, which consists of the Cabinet ministers and Ministers of State. As of December 2018, there are 30 cabinet portfolios, being managed by 27 cabinet ministers. India has divided its territory on linguistic lines, into 30 States and 6 Union Territories. The Union Territories are governed directly by the appointed representatives of the Central Government of India. The States, are divided into districts and the districts are further divided into Tehshils. The Tehshils consists of villages. There are five metropolitan cities in India, along with other cities and towns. There are 40 cities with a population of more than 1 million people, and 397 cities with population up to 1 million people. There are 2500 cities with population of up to 100,000 people. Above population data refers to the year 2019. Each of the 30 States have their local governments which are subordinate and complementary to the central government.

Challenges facing the country:

Since gaining independence, India has progressed a lot, in the last 71 years. It is now the 6th largest economy in the world, in terms of nominal GDP. India’s population has grown to 1.358 billion in 2018, December. It is the second most populous country in the world, after China. It is expected that, at the current rate of growth in population, India will surpass China in terms of population in the next 10 years. The median age of the Indian population is 27.6 years, which means that 50% of the population is below the age of 27 and 50% of the population is over the age of 27. Human Development Index (HDI), the is very low, as compared to developed countries. India’s HDI in the year 2018 was 0.639. Human Development Index is a value ranging from 0 to 1. 0 being the lowest human development and 1 being the highest. In developed countries, the HDI stands at 0.8 and above. HDI measures the development of the population in terms of life expectancy at birth, years of formal education, Income, among others. The gini coefficient of India in the 2017 was, is 0.83. Gini coefficient measures the degree of equality or inequality in a country in terms of income and consumption. A gini coefficient of 0 indicates perfect equality and a coefficient of 1, indicates, perfect inequality. At 0.83, India has a very high gini coefficient. Among the equitable countries, a coefficient of around 0.25 exists. Thus India faces several challenges, in terms of income and equitable distribution of income, education among the rural population, urban poor and a significant percentage of women and children, across the country. The life expectancy at birth has improved considerably, since independence, but there is still, a significant percentage of population which lives below the poverty line, land also suffers from malnutrition. There are also serious concerns regarding general public health, good education and income, among the lower segment of the population. The nation also suffers from inadequate infrastructure such as global access to railways, proper roads and 24 hours electricity.

Things to do, to overcome the challenges:

The Indian government can increase the speed at which the economy is growing and also increase the human development index and reduce the gini coefficient, by taking the following steps:

1. The Union Council of Ministers should have a representative office in the 543 constituencies of the Lok Sabha. This will help to offer immediate support and grievance redress mechanism, at the local level. Citizens need not travel to New Delhi or other major cities to get their grievances address and get access to the services of the respective ministries. This will reduce the turn around time for grievance redress mechanism and also improve the productivity of the population and the respective ministries. It will also allow the various ministries to get access to concerns at the local level.

2. A similar structure should be used by the Union Council of Ministers, in foreign countries. They should have representative offices at all embassies of the country, so that Indians living overseas and the local community in the country can approach the representative office for any help with regards to investments in India or any other concern they may have.

3. There must be a social development program, under which, citizens living below the poverty line, must get access to free food, clothing and shelter. Further they should be given access to high quality health support and high quality education system, which should be sponsored by the federal government. This measure will not only help to reduce the challenges faced by the lower spectrum of society, but also add high performing individuals to the nation’s pool of work force and talent. The program should be executed in a way, wherein the government has a representative office in each constituency, to execute the program in an efficient and unbiased manner. The government should enforce mechanisms to ensure leakages in distribution through the social development program.

4. The central government must ensure good quality education, for each and every child, by sponsoring the set up of an institution to promote high quality education, in all constituencies of the Lok Sabha. The central government must ensure that there are good quality schools, and colleges, up to the graduate level, representing the institution, in each constituency. There must be at least one such school and college, in each constituency and the capacity of the school or college, to accommodate students, should be determined by the size of the local population. These schools need not be sponsored by the central government. They should be privately funded by the students and the community.

5. The central government must ensure, quality health care system for the entire population and sponsor the development of such infrastructure in all constituencies of the Lok Sabha. This includes the development of at least one star rated, multi specialty hospital in each constituency. The hospital should be funded by the users of its services and the community.

6. The central government must increase the speed of developing roads, railways and airports, so that every constituency has its own bus terminal, and railway station. There must be an airport for every 10 constituencies. Measures should be taken to provide 24 hours electricity and water supply, at the constituency level. The necessary infrastructure must be constructed and managed by the private sector, and market prices, should be charged for the services offered. The tendering process for the development of such infrastructure, must be transparent and clean.

Other Challenges and Solutions:

1. The Indian judiciary mechanism must be made more responsive and efficient. Currently the Supreme Court is supported by 24 High Courts and multiple trial courts. In spite of the existing judicial infrastructure, cases keep pending for several years and even decades, before they are resolved. The efficiency and responsiveness of the judicial system, must be enhanced by developing a trial court for each constituency and a high court for every 10 constituencies. The number of judges and court rooms, should be increased in line with the size of the population, it caters to. The old saying, “ Justice delayed is Justice denied”, must be taken seriously, and steps must be taken by the central government to dispense, moral and ethical, justice, in a more efficient manner.

2. There is a concept in productivity, which promotes, optimum utilisation of resources. It seems that the government of India and associated governments, organisations and individuals are taking this concept very seriously. Every day, we hear about job cuts, retired positions remaining unfilled, and overburdening the existing employees and infrastructure, in an attempt to increase profits and cut costs. The underlying damage done, to employees and the society at large, is being ignored, for the benefit of a few stakeholders. This practice must be immediately stopped for the larger good, of the community and mankind.

3. The size of the law enforcement agencies and officers, has been declining since the last several years. The recruitment of new officers and junior staff has been strangled and positions are not filled, for the staff which retires. This practice must be stopped. The decline in numbers of the law enforcement staff, such as the police force, has put tremendous pressure on the existing staff to perform and deliver. Cops have to work for more than twelve hours a day on most days of the week, through out the year. Even after the recent shift to a three shift, work day, the police force in most states remains highly stressed and over worked. This is a contributing factor to unhappy lives and under performance at work. The situation worsens, when there are religious or community events, and cops have to remain deployed for more than twelve hours a day. The political establishment at the State and Federal level must take responsibility for this and act immediately for the benefit of the police force, the community and mankind at large.

4. An integrated, tax system must be in place in the country. The recent implementation of GST, is a step in the right direction. Further moves, such as, reducing the GST rates should be encouraged. The central government must also have a similar national level, direct tax system, which prevents, multiplicity of direct taxation, in the form of income tax, dividend distribution tax, short term capital gains tax long term capital gains tax, corporate tax, tax on dividends received, etc. This should be replaced by a single tax, on any income received by the individual, as the end user, of the monies received. This will help to avoid tax evasion, and bring the entire workforce under the tax umbrella, voluntarily. There must be a single tax slab for all concerned, and the tax rate must not exceed 10% of gross income, to encourage, entrepreneurship and motivation to work. Those earning below a certain threshold, must be exempted from income tax. The existence of multiple taxes on an individuals income, has resulted in, individuals and organizations, hoarding their monies in tax havens, like Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Isle of man, Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Bermuda and the Bahamas, among others.
The above steps are, some of the measures, the government should take, to improve the GDP, Per capita GDP, Human Development Index and the Gini Coefficient, in India. This will lead to higher productivity and development, without the need to compromise on the quality of human life.

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