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Doing Better


Except for the hangovers, 2019 is not going to be any different from the outgoing year on the calendar. The transition, however, marks a psychological moment, when people feel they can give a fresh start to their lives with new resolutions. These resolutions will mostly be broken by the time January is out but, in the meanwhile, a feeling of freshness will have been experienced by even the most jaded. It is a time of optimism that can be harvested in various ways to give impetus to the positivity in one’s nature.
For Indians, 2019 promises to be a watershed year, as crucial elections are to take place that will decide the nature of governance in the country. It will either place a stamp of approval on five years of Modi rule, or begin on a new template that will be designed by many, many hands and serve just as many causes. It will be a challenge for all those needing continuity and stability for their enterprises and their plans to calibrate afresh with the change, if it comes around. The entire nation will hope that the crucial decisions will be made keeping in mind goals loftier than just petty personal profit. It will be time to see whether the many years of democracy have imparted to the people wisdom that recognises and favours the collective good.
The threats to the nation will remain the same, be it climate change, unmanageable pollution levels, poor management of water, failure to develop at the pace necessary to deal with population growth, etc. On the economic front, stabilising the agriculture sector along sustainable lines, and changing the nature of work to provide for a future will be a major challenge. In a globalised environment, decisions will have to be taken with strategic objectives in mind rather than on the basis of short-term gains.
Constitutional institutions will have to work better, not in the sluggish way they do now. It is not a case of just delivering more, but also of much better quality. For this, everybody, particularly the politicians, administrators and jurists, must have a sense of the sheer size of the problem and not believe that things can continue as they have done thus far. This sense of urgency has to be communicated to the people, so that privilege can be seen to be what it really is – temporary positions of advantage that can disappear in a flash if the many possible tectonic shifts take place. Evidence of that can be seen in its many forms around the world. For India to be immune, India will have to do much better.