Big Ideas for India Contest: Epilogue

This brings to a close the contest. Some closing thoughts:

  • We need to educate ourselves about the process of development. This is important if we have to answer two key questions – why is India poor, and what can be done to make India a rich, developed country in a generation (say by 2040)?
  • India’s challenges are far too big for us not to think big – we need bold ideas and action. Little of this seems to be forthcoming now. We seem to be in a paralysed state at the Centre when it comes to decision-making.
  • In India, there is little discussion around big ideas in the English media. The here-and-now news stories take precedence over educating readers and viewers. But then, that is what the audience wants, perhaps.
  • Democracy is about informed voting. In India, we are oscillating between abstention and transactional voting (cash for votes, in a new avatar). Is there a way we can inform more voters?
  • In a week, we will know what the voters of five states have decided. As the new governments take office, is there a way we can engage with them to ensure we bring forth better policies to drive development and governance?
  • In the next elections, we need one party to get 300+ seats on its own in order to ensure a stable government that actually implements the right policies for the future of the country.

I will explore some of these topics in the coming weeks.

7 thoughts on “Big Ideas for India Contest: Epilogue

  1. Coalition govt. is the need of democracy, otherwise monopoly would come into picture.
    Strict follow up of policies can be ensured with a solid opposition which may pressuries the ruling party.

  2. 1. Most importantly we need to define what does being a rich developed country mean in this new age of reducing resources and increasing consumption. Do we really want to follow in the steps of the US or can we redefine what it means to be a developed leader state?
    2. An informed voting base is absolutely essential for which we need to go beyond traditional media esp. english media channels. Probably the answer lies in engaging voters through a two way communication channel such as the internet.

  3. I find three large gaps in the intellectual climate.

    First, a “required” public platform where our future leaders go head to head about their views. This not only weeds out unworthy candidates, but also forces leaders to have deep well thought through policy directions.

    Second, the public intellectuals are far and few in between. By public intellectuals, I mean people like Paul Krugman for economics, or Nicholas Negroponte for tech …who project outward to future possibilities. I am not saying this is absent, but the supply is scarce.

    Third, a geopolitical debate about our role in the region and the world. I recently read, In the National Interest by Santosh Kumar, which is hopefully the first of several pieces of deep thought on this topic.