India is a vast country with wide variance across its length and breadth. There is a population of around 130 crores, which is spread throughout the land and has a rich cultural diversity—as noticed in Kashmir, Punjab, Gujarat, North East India, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Kerala etc. Also, there is a huge variance in the geographical distribution—from the snowy peaks of Himalayas in the North and North-east to the southern hills, coastal plains and the shoreline in the West, South and East. If I were the Prime Minister of such a country, it would be a job of great honour and responsibility, which requires a 24×7 service from me.
Under the Constitution, it will be my foremost duty to undertake actions that will be for the welfare of all the citizens of India, irrespective of their region, caste, race or any other criteria. And so, I would be required to undertake, firstly, a status of the condition of the demographics recorded in the records of the various branches of the government. Secondly, an introspection of the various policies and programmes undertaken by the previous governments and make notes of their pros and cons. Thereafter, I will have due consultations with bureaucrats, academicians, social workers, think tanks and the stakeholders. Only then, I can take a final decision regarding governance. As Abraham Lincoln once quoted : “A government of the people, by the people and for the people” so shall I try to emulate this great thought to the letter.
However, just a policy framework and its launch are not sufficient to make it a runaway success. It takes months and years of persistence, perseverance and care to make it a reality with stakeholders. And for any such success, a government requires economic and human resource strength.
Currently, India is the 6th largest economy in the world. However, we are still troubled by oil and defence imports, which impact our Current Account Deficit. Add to this the volatility of the rupee and this leads to an erosion of an investor’s confidence in the economy. Therefore, as the Prime Minister, I would put emphasis on the framing of the policy in electrical vehicles, ethanol blending in petroleum and local manufacturing. The Make in India programme of the NDA Govt. already focuses on a large number of areas. Still investors and manufacturers require a clarification of the benefits, policy and govt. assistance in several matters related to it. If these can be resolved, then the twin problem of the CAD and the volatile rupee can be easily dealt with.
To push India onto this path of economic progress and financial security, the industry would require huge manpower. Luckily, India has a healthy share of workforce, two-thirds of our population in the age group of 15-64, which translates to an amalgam of raw minds, experience and a long productive life. But according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum, 54% of our workforce in as many as 12 sectors, accounting for almost 10.8 crores, requires reskilling by 2022. Otherwise, advances in technology and investment in mechanised units will turn them into demographic liabilities. Also, we are producing 3,00,000 graduates, engineers and post-graduates every year, which are not skilled by the standards of various industry. Therefore, as the Prime Minister of India, in collaboration with the State governments throughout India, a revision of the education policy—at school, college and ITI levels—must be taken up to overcome this silently approaching menace.
But it must be remembered that it is not just education that requires immediate attention. India’s deplorable health care and the state of its citizens is worrisome. The expenditure on health care in India is only 1.02% of our GDP, which is even lower than that of low-income nations. This amounts to Rs. 1,112 per capita expenditure on health, as of 2015-16. 67.78% of all health expenditure in India is paid out of an individual’s pocket. 2.2 million of world’s TB patients are from India. And according to Global Hunger Index, 14.5% of our population is undernourished, 21% of under-five children are suffering from wasting and 38.4% children in the same category are stunted. Further as highlighted by the National Family Health Survey-4, 53.1% of all women in India suffered from Anaemia. Also, under 5-year mortality is at 4.8%, which again puts a question mark against our public health care system.
Therefore, in view of providing low-cost, high-quality health care to the masses, there needs to be an increase in percentage GDP expenditure on health, so that the States are granted more funds for spending on the health care. And for having a better realisation of targets, the States can be requested to execute public health-related projects, with the Centre as a partner. This can be easily executed through the NITI Aayog, where experts of various domains and bureaucrats from various States can discuss. And if needed, exchanges of the model of public health care can be taken up. But prior to the execution of any such project, there needs to be a detailed report, state-wise, about the scenario of public health—whether it be related to TB or anaemia or diabetes or malnourishment etc. This can be then targeted in a pin-point manner and dealt with suitable investments in required infrastructure, such as diagnostic labs, health supplements and a healthy doctor-patient ratio. In the meantime, increasing funds towards public insurance must be undertaken, to lessen the expenditure by any individual on his/her health. If this can be achieved, then for sure, the continuation of India’s development and its progress will be ensured.
However, to ensure domestic progress, a national government must insure internal and external security. The internal security problems such as organised crime and other illegal activities must be tackled with effective implementation of the laws that govern them. And for the major internal security challenges such as insurgency in the North-East or Naxalism or the J&K militancy, new peace accords in line with the 1985 Mizo Peace Accord or the recent peace treaty between Government of Colombia and FARC, must be negotiated and agreed upon.
This achievement of internal peace will be robust only if no external factor wreaks havoc and so, an improvement in the foreign relations must be achieved. As the Prime Minister or the President of India, it will fall on my shoulders to resolve any existing issues and promote friendliness and exchanges of trade, culture and opportunities in various fields between each other. But should a tense situation such as a war arise, it would require me to act firmly and appropriately, as has been in the shining times of the late Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi or Atal Bihari Vajpayee. And as the Prime Minister of India, I will have to learn from the greatness of such leaders.
But being the Prime Minister of India is not a cakewalk either. I would have to remain strong and navigate my path through kingmakers and people who seek undeserved, favours from me and my government—positions in high offices, Union Cabinet, Council of Ministers etc. In such a situation, as the Prime Minister, I would be required to twist the arm and play shrewd games. But as has been rightfully said through various generations, “A country suffers more from the impotency of a good person than the action of a wrong person”. So, if need be then I must engage in such acts. But at the same time, ensuring that I don’t turn into a crook myself. Former American President John F. Kennedy, once in a public address, gave the famous quote : “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”. And so, as the PM of India, I would be responsible for rising above the politics of left and right, above the politics of personal gain, benefits and selfishness. I would rise above the domains of greed and corruption and usher a new era of the Government, which cares for the rich and the poor alike, treats illiterates and academicians with dignity and follows the word of the Constitution to the letter. Thereby, ushering an age where governments shall only be “Of all People, By all People and For all People”. And in such an era, I would wish as a Prime Minister of India that the motto of the people and government be as epitomised in the Valmiki Ramayana—Janani janmabhumisch swargadapi gariyasi (Mother and Motherland are greater than the heavens).