Governing India is an exhilarating experience. Howsoever they may be criticised, the fact remains that those in the Indian Administrative service (IAS) form the lynchpin of this governance structure. In course of service they become part of power structure at every level from the grassroots to the Raisina Hills. In the bargain they get huge exposure to people they govern, the challenges administering them poses and the delivery system which has to be created. With such huge experience each of the members of the IAS becomes a storehouse of information.
However, there are not very many who go onto share the experience through a book. And among those who do pen their memoirs they seldom escape the greed of creating sensationalism about their interactions with powers that be. D Bhalla, Secretary, Lok Sabha, however, has attempted a tome of different genre. He has tried sharing the challenges at remotest possible locations and then put them national perspective.
Future of India delves on the past glory, then analyses the present challenges and finally provides a roadmap for a better India. From economy to education and from agriculture to tourism, every facet and every colour of India finds a place here. Sectoral analysis of economy, education, industry, infrastructure, etc. gives a perspective of where does India stand today, what it can achieve tomorrow and for that what should be our plan of action.
The books starts with India’s position in the world in which he has analysed how India is perceived by the rest of the globe and its consistent strive towards becoming a global superpower – political as well as economic. He believes that economic liberalisation was a big step towards global participation of Indian economy but the benefits of liberalisation are yet to reach the common man due to internal policy inconsistencies.
He has identified JAM trinity – Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile – as a potential strategy to bring people closer to governance. In the “Economy” chapter, he traces the roots of economic reform in India, bottlenecks in implementation of reforms and how investors’ sentiment is changing towards India. Infrastructure is one area which finds special mention and he has rightly stressed that India cannot become a super power if infrastructure and power sectors will not be improved. Infrastructure is a link that will connect people to their government.
Oil and gas sector challenges and how the government of the day is committed to overcome those challenges have been suitably analysed. You will find a viable PPP model in his book which gives a practical insight how the PPP model can be revived and made effective. In the agriculture section, emphasis has been on improving the condition of farmers, agrarian export and to develop India as an international destination for processed food. He has analysed in detail how technology and innovation can boost Indian agriculture.
Urbanisation and health have been identified as the core areas where government must emphasize for building a healthy and smart India. Bhalla has tried to establish the link between education and employment and role of education in character building of modern India. Qualitative improvement in education and skill development have been emphasised as engines of economic growth.
His analysis of education is a good balance between traditional values of Indian society and the needs of modern India. Sustainable development and tourism find a special place in the publication. Low cost and community based tourism has been emphasised for the community participation and employment potential. The six strategies outlined in the book, if adopted by the government, will take the tourism sector to a new high. Belonging to Nagaland cadre, Bhallahas served in the north-eastern state for nearly three decades. His love for the north-east has been reflected in his book.
Geographical beauty of the landscape, economic potential, social and cultural importance of the region and above all, the importance of north-east for the rest of India have been well encapsulated in the publication. Readers will also find many international examples of how projects have been implemented successfully and benefited the common man with action for replication of such successful ideas for a better India. Knowledge must have its application to enhance its value. Solutions offered in the book practical but with far reaching positive implications. Future of India is basically an insight of the bureaucrat and compilation of his experiences and thoughts during his three decade stint in bureaucracy.