A population of over a billion, having gained Independence 69 years ago, become a Republic 66 years ago. That is India. One of the youngest democracies in the world and enjoying the tag line of one of the fastest growing economies in a world affected by recession – that is India.
With such fame, we as a country are yet to come up to date with the ground realities of our country. Everyday, while the intelligentsia of the nation tries to plan and decide for the future of our country, we handicap ourselves with information which was outdated and outclassed five years ago. It is an everyday reality that researchers face daily – other institutions and countries will be able to provide more up to date and precise data than most of our official/government sources.
Even in professional fields where ‘Indian standards’ are employed, like engineering; we even now play catch up. Known across the globe for our professional competence, even brilliance, our own engineering standards still lag behind the rest of the world. Specifications of raw materials in construction are now so obsolete, international companies have a hard time conducting business in a cost effective and profitable way.
Only recently did our country adopt the Consumer Price Index method of measuring inflation – a method already being employed by the most other countries for some time now. Due to the outdated engineering standards, even Indian companies like Reliance have run into trouble with the administration over projects. Do we need a more blatant reminder than the bridge collapse in Kolkata earlier this year?
In today’s world of real time analysis and a connected globe, we still deal with data ranges up till 2013 or thereabouts. Along with outdated information, this serves only to hide the real problems which other countries have long identified and addressed only because they were able to identify the problem area with a focus and transparent work process. On the other hand, in India, we are yet to move on from our politicians having public fights and half-baked knowledge of issues concerning the average citizen.
Is it time that our country woke up to the 21st century and take the steps necessary to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future? One where politicians don’t dish out figures and number they half understand (at best) and bureaucrats don’t have to fudge reports. A future in which data for 2016 is available for study in 2016.
The closest example one can think of is the former Soviet Union, which went on to delude themselves of the prosperity of Socialism with much fanfare and delight. Right up to the moment where the common masses had had enough of the fiction and tore down the Berlin Wall.
Ranveer Raj Bhatnagar