Respected Dr Mohanji Bhagwatji
On the auspicious day of Vijaya Dashami, I would like to extend to all, my warmest greetings and would like to thank Dr Bhagwatji for giving me this opportunity to celebrate Vijaya Dashami with the country’s premier Nationalist Institution “Rasthriya Swayamsevak Sangh RSS.
Vijaya Dasami, a great festival, a part of Indian culture is known for the victory of Maryada Purushotham Ram, an epitome of virtues over Ravana, an asur and epitome of evil. Hence, it was a victory of virtue / goodness over evil.
Today, our country is transforming itself from a developing country to “Developed Nation” by conquering various difficulties coming in the form of evils. Its time for us to take concrete steps to overcome these difficulties and transform India into a Developed Nation.
But, before we really embark on the analysis or planning of the steps to be taken for fighting this battle, it is important for us to understand our country’s strength and weeknesses.
In ‘Following the Equator” the popular travelogue Twain published after his return, he writes:
This is indeed India! The land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendor and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of gene and giants and Aladin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of hundred nations and hundred tongues, of a thousand religious and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birth place of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legends, great grandmother of traditions …. So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man of nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that sun visits on his rounds.
There is only one India, he exclaimed “Its marvels are its own, the patents cannot be infringed, limitations are not possible”.
I think from this emerged the coinage for India in 2002 “Incredible India” with characteristic feature as an example “Unity in Diversity” with Rich Heritage of a civilization which left no stone untouched.
What is the binding force and common thread that unites this diversity. It is “Bharatiyata” or “Indianness”. Yes, it is Bharatiyata, value system which is constant, does not change with time that keeps this great country of vast diversities together. Bharatiyata in all Vedic, Budhist and Islamic writings, is derived from the cosmic character of life. It is regarded as an inherent property of an infinite, timeless and eternal universe.
Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya conceptualized Bharatiyata which means culture which unlike western thoughts sees life as an integrated whole. Bharatiyata according to him, can manifest itself through politics but not through culture. India can offer to world its cultural tolerance and a life dedicated to duty.
The building block of our country’s transformation is “Empowerment of Masses from poverty through strong imperatives for jobs, growth and effective basic services.
FROM POVERTY TO EMPOWERMENT
India’s Human development indicators suggests more widespread deprivation in terms of quality of life and access to basic services.
- 680 million Indians cannot meet their essential needs
- ~50% of public spending on basic services does not reach the people
- 46% of basic services are not within reach for the average household
- ¾ of the potential impact will come from jobs and productivity growth
- 580 million people can be economically empowered by 2022
- 115 million additional non-farm jobs needed over the next decade
- 70% increase needed in agricultural yields over the next decade
- 50% of public social spending is needed for health care, water, and sanitation, up from 20% today.
A new and more holistic measure of income deprivation, the Empowerment Line is an estimate of the minimum economic cost for a household to fulfill eight basic needs: Food, Energy, Housing, Drinking Water, Sanitation, health Care, Education and Social Security. Eight basic services contribute to a minimum acceptable standard of living are –
- 2,100 (urban) or 2,400 (rural) calories, including 60 grams protein and 40 grams fat, per capita per day
- Access to clean cooking fuel and electricity for lighting needs, based on minimum energy consumption levels
- 215 (rural) and 275 (urban) square feet of acceptable housing
- 70 (rural) or 135 (urban) litres per capita per day of piped water supply
- Sanitary latrine in rural households, and underground sewerage with wastewater treatment in urban households
- Access to an essential basket of primary, secondary and tertiary health-care services
- Access to primary education and secondary education (substitutable with vocational training) for all children based on accepted norms
- Insurance to cover income loss based on 2% premium-to-coverage ratio
- Empowerment Line’s minimum standards of consumption are approximately 1.5 times higher than those implicit in the official poverty line.
Since, majority of our population lives in villages and life support systems is Agri based, we need to concentrate on Agriculture for crossing the empowerment line.
INDIA’S Farms : Harvesting the Future
Some three hundred million rural Indian live below the poverty line, literacy is only 46% and only one in five have access to basic sanitation. Although, more than two-thirds of Indians (833 million people) live in the countryside, agriculture accounts for only 14-15% of GDP. Forty two percent of Indian’s children under five are under=weight, the second highest figure in the world.
Can Indian agriculture help to plant a different kind of future, in which the rural citizens are more prosperous, its children are more robust, and the natures’ economy is stronger?
Yes, it can
We believe in successful future, because we have seen success in the past. Despite poor infrastructure, policy barriers such as restrictions on procurement and marketing and land laws that prevent land consolidation. Indian Farmers have proved admirably resilient. India has been self-sufficient in food production producing agriculture almost 260 million tons / year and is global leader in producing bananas, mangoes, papayas, milk, buffalo meat, spices, castor oil and sesame seeds.
With India’s population growing, food consumption will grow 4% per year. At the same time, consumers in India will demand high-quality, safe and healthy food.
As such, with rising economy and favorable policies in the present regime of governance, this is an important moment for Indian Agriculture. It’s the right time to launch the “second Green Revolution” and be a global agriculture power house with agriculture output rising to $620 billion by 2030 and the income of rural citizens rising six-fold and approaching that those in the cities.
- What needs to be done?
- Improve agriculture technology, including seeds and farming practices.
- Create high-yield varieties of seeds suitable for different regional climates
- Educate Farmers to adopt them
- Promote mechanization and modern irrigation (drip irrigation, micro-irrigation) methods
- Rain harvesting
- Improve post harvest management to avoid crop wastage (upto 25%)
- Make Soil and Water sustainable a priority. India need to create a better base of knowledge.
- A national map of soil type and water availability
- Use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to monitor various land use activities and watershed projects
- Research on cropping practices that use soil nutrients efficiently and decrease land degradation
- Set up mobile testing labs to provide farmers with prescription for their soil with reference to optimum use of fertilizers, pesticides, seeds and water
- Promote Farmer-Producer Organisations (FPO), Farmer-Producer Companies and local aggregators
FPOs and FPCs can help to create the economics of scale and improve productivity by allowing small farmers to leverage their collective strength and increase their competitiveness by offering them easier access to credit and technology. These organizations can reduce the cost of distribution and provide greater marketing power and negotiation capability to farmers.
- De-Regulate the Marketing of Agriculture produce
Allow farmers to sell their produce straight to markets. I.T should be used for accessing price information across mandis to prevent exploitation of Farmers
- Launch a Public Private Export initiative
- Promote Private Investment
- Scale up Mega Hubs for processing of food through “Food Processing Parks”
- Upgrade Extension services through private participation to introduce and integrate Science and Technology into farming systems
- Establish world-class food and agriculture universities. Indian Institutes of Agriculture and Technology to be set up, to create a generation of agriculture and food experts.
- Finance agri-business investment funds. Central and State governments should contribute 50% to an agri-business investment fund, with private players supplying the rest. A $500 millions fund should be professionally managed to support 40-50 projects.
This will usher in “Agriculture Renewal Revolution”.
In our imagination, we dream of a prosperous and peaceful India and that dream lives in its villages.
70 years back Mahatma Gandhi declared “India begins and ends in the villages”. Let us make his dream come true.
Our present education is filled with Western ideals—the myth of modern science and techno-logy. Our ancient scientists and philosophers are being gradually neglected. None of the Scientific books mention about the discoveries of gravity, laws of planetary motion, zero, infinity, methods of plastic surgery etc., made by Indian scientists and philosophers much earlier than the western world. To fight the hegemony of the West, we need a new kind of education. In this context, the meaning of “true education” has to be explored. Perhaps true education enables one to experience the world in a unique way: it creates wisdom: a humane orientation towards nature, towards labour, towards fellow beings. It visualises a different kind of society, polity and economy. The history of post-independence India is full of betrayals. We need to educate ourselves in order to bear freedom and truth.
True education really means life experiences which should not be confined to formal education and specific training only. Above all, education means not to be a calculus, but how to calculate the real-life situations. The basic purpose of education remains the development of the human personality.
True education brings about consciousness. Consciousness brings about revolution. Revolution brings about change. Change is the law of nature. Law is the code of conduct. Thus, education without consciousness has no meaning. Education is a lifelong process. We learn as long as we live. We live to learn but we must learn to live. The traditional wisdom of India never separated learning from living.
Swami Vivekananda warned us long ago: “No amount of politics would be of any avail, until the masses in India are once more well educated, well fed and well cared for.” For that need-oriented quality education is now desirable for all-round development of the nation. Therefore, educational standards should emphasise on quality, not numbers. Certificates of education are limited only to examinations. There is no yardstick for the examination pattern. More so, marking systems vary from institution to institution. The examination is not the balance of knowledge. The examination pattern in our country is not uniform. Education is in the concurrent list of our Constitution. There is growing disparity between the state-sponsored educational institutions and private educational institutions. Growing privatisation of education and commercialisation of education has converted education into an industry without its welfare objectives—an immediate production-orientation which is accessible to very few people.
Lack of true education and self-control leads to corruption. Corruption is the result of lack of consciousness and conscience, lust for money, power and position and materialistic gains with degeneration of moral values. Corrupt tendencies turn into corrupt practices and habits owing to the prevailing ills of society—unequal distribution of land, labour and capital.
In order to acquire true education and to curb corruption, there is a need for sound and healthy living. For that purpose, incorporation of the age-old Vedic system of values of life in the human character is required for a corruption-free society. These values are achar (conduct), vichar (thought process), ahar (diet and nutrition) and vyavahar(interpersonal dealings). True education—education with consciousness, conscience, and sensitivity—will make a man conscious of the public issues and give an opportunity to root out every trace of nepotism, love of power, profiteering and black-marketeering.
HEALTHCARE FOR ALL
Let us look at the state of health care in India.
From all over the world, people needing hip replacements, cardiac by-passes, or even bone marrow transplants are increasingly flocking to India for treatment. Top-flight hospitals in Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and elsewhere are performing sophisticated procedures on hundreds of thousands of ‘medical tourists’ each year thanks to the renowned skill of Indian Doctors and the comparatively low cost of hospital stay.
Considering how successful our health-care system has become at delivering effective and affordable treatment for foreigners, the prospect of decent care for all Indians might seem to be within our grasp. Unfortunately, that dream remains as distant as ever.
Take infant mortality: At forty-four per one thousand live births, the rate in India is three times higher than in china, four times higher than in Srilanka and Thailand, and even higher than in Bangladesh and Nepal. Equally discouraging are the inequities that exist within our country. An infant born in Madhya Pradesh is six times more like than her peer born in Kerala to die before her first birthday.
Forty-two percent of Indian children under five years suffer from undernutrition. India accounts for a third of the world’s measles deaths and a third of TB cases. And within India, vast inequities are apparent on all these indicators across states, and within states, across urban-rural, education, income, gender and caste divides.
Healthcare and Economy
Due to a high proportion of cardiovascular deaths occurring in the age band of thirty-five to sixty-four years, India is estimated to have lost 9.2 million potentially productive years of life in 2000 and is projected to lose 17.9 million years in 2030.
Public financing of health, at 1.04 percent of gross domestic product, is among the lowest in the world, especially when measured in per capita terms. As a result, the average Indian consumer pays 70 percent of his or her health care costs out-of-pocket – again a mark of dubious distinction at the global level.
The health workforce is also deficient in numbers and maldistributed in favour of cities. There are shortages across the board of specialist and basic doctors, nurses, allied health professionals (such as technicians and paramedics), and community health workers.
Indian Health System
Though the Indian health system was originally designed to deliver most of the services through the public sector, the private sector consistently grew in strength from the 1980s and has now become the major provider, by default. However, the care offered ranges from the unqualified solo rural practitioner to the large urban corporate hospital. The weak regulatory systems do not ensure quality or cost control. If universal health coverage is to be carried out in such a mixed health system, it is necessary to ensure that both public and private sectors work in tandem, within a well-designed and adequately regulated framework that ensures equity, access, quality and affordability.
12th Plan has initiated major programmes namely –
- National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) initiated in 2005 has improved access to maternal and child health services in many states
- Janani Suraksha Yogna offers cash incentives to enourage pregnant women below the poverty line to give birth in medical facilities rather than house
- Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yogna (RSBY) is a national health insurance programme that subsidises hospital care for unorganized workers and other vulnerable groups
Present Government has converted the National Rural Health Mission into National Health Mission in order to provide Health for all.
With the growth of ICT in the country, almost universal use of smart phones and broad-band internet connectivity reaching most of the villages, I strongly feel we need to utilize e-medicine – the main tool for rural health care. It can provide access to health care for the citizens at any time and at any place. E-Health provides remote care to people in rural areas. It can avoid patients travelling long distances to cities for treatment of even the common ailments. Even, the X-Ray Images, Pathological information, MRI etc., can be uploaded to tertiary health care units from primary health centres for diagnosis. This will also solve the problem of our doctors not willing to serve in villages.
The new Swasthya (health tablet) has been introduced in India to perform diagnostic tests (such as blood pressure or blood sugar readings) remotely, at a fraction of the cost of traditional diagnostics.
Operation ASHA has treated more than 30,000 tuberculosis patients in India and prevented millions of additional cases.
While a sound health care infrastructure can be created with investment, the success of the system will depend upon the dedication and sincerity of “Doctors” who form the nerve centre of the health care system. Only when doctors follow the Hippocratic oath in letter in spirit, the health care system can achieve high performance standard.
The oath prescribes standards of performance: the physician is enjoined to do no harm, to respond to calls without attention to personal preferences; to keep confidences, to lead an honorable life, to use medicines only for curative purposes, and to desist from exploiting the patient.
India has witnessed major Urbanisation in recent times, with an estimated 30 people leaving Rural India for urban areas every minute during the next 20 years. At this rate, country would need some 500 new cities in the next two decades.
By 2050 it is estimated that India’s Urban population will constitute nearly half of country’s total population. 250-300 million more people will have to be accommodated in cities. Most cities are likely to double their size
Of the 1.4 bn people of the world who have no access to electricity in the world, India accounts for over 300 million.
Only 74% of Urban households in India are served by piped water supply. No Indian city has piped water 24 hr a day, seven days a week – 4-5 hr of supply per day is the average.
Despite increased investments in Infrastructure, an estimated $ 1 Trillion in infrastructure improvements will be required to meet the country’s resource need over the next five years.
The number of private vehicles in India is expected to grow by more than three times by 2021.
By 2020 India is expected to become the world’s third largest emitter of Carbon-Di-Oxide (China, USA, India
Urbanisation & GDP
Urban areas contribute a higher share of the GDP. Indian Urban Population (around 31%) today contributes over 60% of India’s GDP. It is projected that Urban India will contribute 75% of national GDP in next 15 years.
That is why cities are referred to as ‘Engines of Growth’ and ensuring that they function as efficient engines, is critical for our economic development
People migrate to cities primarily in search of employment, economic activities and better quality of life.
In my opinion urbanization does not mean migration of rural people to urban areas and living a life of deprivation, joblessness and spoiling the environment and social fabric by overloading the already inadequate infrastructure of the cities.
I think the best approach would be to provide the urban facilities in Rural areas as suggested by late Dr Kalam under the scheme PURA and longback by Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya while laying down the concept of Integral Village which is self-sufficient and self-reliant.
All the basic amenities that make the population empowered viz., Food, Energy, Housing, Drinking Water, Sanitation, health Care, Education and Social Security to be provisioned in villages with strong ICT Connectivity and e-mobility.
Thus SMART VILLAGES employ innovative services and concepts to improve environmental sustainability, economic viability and citizen well being by using
(i) ICT based Technologies
- High Speed Networks
- Sensor and Actuation technologies
- Advanced Analytics
(ii) Non-ICT based Innovative Technologies
- Renewable power generation
- Low Emission Vehicles
- Energy Efficient building design
(iii) Urban Planning Concepts
- Sustainability enhancing city layouts
- Innovation, Technology and business platform
Attributes of Smart Village
Competitiveness refers to a village’s capability to create employment opportunities, attract investments, experts, professionals and people. The ease of being able to do business and the quality of life it offers determines its competitiveness
Sustainability includes social sustainability, environmental sustainability and financial sustainability
Quality of Life includes safety and security, inclusiveness, entertainment, ease of seeking and obtaining public services, cost efficient healthcare, quality education, transparency, accountability and opportunities for participation in governance
The 20th Century has gone and 21st Century has arrived. The weakness of 20th Century man was that he was more concerned about his own generation, neglecting the interest of the future generation. His comfort oriented outlook and tendency to sow the seeds of destruction in the name of development were highly dangerous.
The present world needs a balanced mix of intellectual and spiritual growth. Only through spiritual development can the concept of development be balanced.
There are five dimensions of development: –
- How does the development affect an individual
- How does it affect Society
- How does it affect various life forms
- How does it affect environment
- How does it affect the world
For strengthening the balanced development five dimensions require effort
In the current parlance, this is termed as sustainability. Sustainability has three main pillars namely Economy, Environment and Society. Only when these pillars function with complete overlap, then the planet earth will be liveable for future generations.
UN has set six Goals for Sustainable Development. They are –
- An energy revolution – facilitating a global energy transformation (>80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050)
- Future Food – A Food system transformation to achieve +70% production by 2050 through Sustainable intensification
- An Urban Planet – Achieving sustainable urban living
- The rising billion – Adapting to the population transition and preparing for a world of 9 billion people
- Protect, Restore & Sustain – A bio-diversity management transformation
- Strengthen global governance – A private and public Governance transformation
As such, Ecological sustainability reduced consumption, green manufacturing, education for sustainability, sustainability institutions and sustainable leaders are to be made as integral part of all development programmes.
Four areas in which Technocrat can make positive contributions are –
- Energy Conversation
- Replacing Non-Renewable Energy like Coal / Oil with Renewable Energies like Solar / Wind etc.,
- Recycling Waste
- Find right balance between three ‘E’s – Engineering, Ecology and Economics
Finally develop Love for Beauty of Nature and deepen it into a spiritual identity with the living consciousness of nature.
ROLE OF SPIRITUALITY AND SUSTAINABILITY
It is said that there are three pillars of sustainability: Economic, Social and Environmental concerns. Generally for centuries these three dimensions have been remaining in stand alone isolated mode with very little communication among them. As a result, while god created only the Biological or natural world, man has created an artificial world by misusing the technological advances. The rate at which the biological or natural world evolves or moves into new configuration is much slower compared to the growth rate of artificial world. Evidently the differential rate of growth strains both the natural and artificial because the artificial world is embedded in the natural. This inability to live together is called by Lutmann “the ecological dilemma” of the present age.
Natural world has the ability to self organize itself through the ecological and other kinds of micro-macro relationships. Artificial world also has similar characteristic but has created some codes and a hyperspace which has Society, science, technology and economy as its dimensions. We do not know how these worlds communicate within themselves. Artificial world has problems of high magnitude due to poor communication within itself, namely –
- Human environments are becoming increasingly turbulent
- Societies are becoming fragile and fractured leading to ever increasing conflicts
- Small perturbations at any point in the globe are causing great global disturbances
- Society has become generally consumerist causing tremendous pressure on natural resources and consequent environmental hazards which are threatening the very existence of humanity.
Because of this, we have landed ourselves in a scary situation in our quest and relentless pursuit of happiness (materialistic).
How to establish this communication within
each world and between the two worlds?
The man who is the common factor between the two worlds has to investigate into himself to discover the common language of communication. Here comes the role of consciousness and the level of consciousness in himself and rest of the nature. The idea of world spirit may have some consequences here. World spirit has two aspects: (a) Creativity (b) Harmonious Unity. When these are lost due to failure of internal communication, then the cycle of creation and destruction starts. Development will have a meaning only when our design processes consciously understand this need for conscious communication at all levels and societal codes like money and power do not lord over our existence.
One of the simpler ways of establishing this communication is to respect nature & reduce the desire to exploit it for man’s own desire and continued enjoyment. The urge for translation of every scientific discovery into technological application should be limited. At the level of economy, it should be that its code i.e. money should create more harmony internally within the society and externally with nature.
A spiritual person can play an important role in establishing this communication between these two worlds and maintain the desired balance leading to sustainability. Spirituality along with ethics and values have to play a dominant role in the activity in this space. People think that if we follow business ethics it would be adequate. For sustainable growth this is inadequate this can be understood if we can refer to the idea of “Dharmic” behaviour in Indian philosophical approach to action and life. Dharma is law, duty and something that keeps the system together always. It can be both of individual and social significance
Since Engineers are, by and large, responsible for creation of this artificial world in isolation of Natural/Biological world, they should have the basic ingredient of spirituality i.e. ethics and values and a communion with the ultimate for taking decision to maintain and create sustainability. They should have clarity regarding higher purpose of technology in the evolutionary destiny of humanity and earth like in ancient Indian concept of SHASTRA. SHASTRA is a holistic perspective of a human or cosmic activity with three types of knowledge
- Spiritual perspective
- Ethical or dharmic perspective and
- Professional perspective
Finally to get this important issue of sustainability within the reach of modern man the following five principles which are ingrained into the concept of spirituality, are the panacea.
Santi, Satyam, Dharma, Ahimsa and Prema. All the mahatmas of the past have been saying this and the present ones are alerting us to this. This means:
“To achieve peace and preserve the coupling recognizing the existence of the coupling, the ethical and moral activity without hurting neither living nor non-living nature and with love towards both and cooperate in the natural evolution of the biosphere”.
ETHICS FOR THE NATION
Birth of a noble nation would need studying the challenges faced by society due to continuous process of growth and environmental deterioration and promote conflict free society for prosperity. How can the National Ethics be evolved?
A Nation has to have Ethics in all its tasks for sustained economic prosperity and peace
If a Nation is to have Ethics, Society has to promote Ethics and Value Systems
If Society has to have Ethics and Value Systems, Families should adhere to Ethics and Value Systems
If Families have to evolve with Ethics and Value Systems, Parenthood should have inbuilt ethics
Parental Ethics come from great learning, value-based education, creation of clean environment that leads to righteousness in heart.
PRAYER OF PEACE
Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in Character.
When there is a beauty in character, there is harmony in the Home.
When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the Nation.
When there is order in the Nation, there is peace in the World.