In his Independence Day speech on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a fight against corruption, saying that dynasticism and corruption are the twin evils that India must fight to overcome. On the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, Modi addressed the nation from the Red Fort, saying that nepotism is hollowing out India’s institutions and, in many cases, leading to corruption.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the government has saved Rs 2 lakh crore from falling into the “wrong hands” over the last eight years by utilising modern systems such as Aadhar and mobile through Direct Benefit Transfer.
We have been able to save 2 lakh crores of rupees that fall into the wrong hands and channelise them for the betterment of the nation,” said PM Modi.
While both Aadhaar and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) have been lauded by independent agencies for their roles in reducing leakage in the distribution of public schemes, there have been instances where Aadhaar data has been fraudulently used to access public schemes.
Modi also emphasised his administration’s efforts to boost manufacturing through the implementation of the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for various industries.
Narendra Modi further laid down five resolves for India. “In the coming years, we’ve to focus on ‘Panchpran’- First, to move forward with bigger resolves & resolve of developed India; Second, erase all traces of servitude; Third, be proud of our legacy; Fourth, strength of unity & Fifth, duties of citizens which includes the PM and CMs,” Modi said.
The most important part of Modi’s speech was his goal of achieving developed-country status for India by 2030. The PM had set a time frame of 2022 at the time. That dream would remain unfulfilled, but one hopes it will not have to be extended again. There is no doubt that India has made significant progress in the last 75 years, it will become the world’s fifth-largest economy and is on track to become the third-largest; it is food self-sufficient; and key development indicators such as infant mortality and life expectancy have steadily improved.
However, to say that the challenges are formidable would be an understatement. The industrial and service sectors are typically large components of GDP in developed economies. On the former, less is more, as India’s manufacturing sector is much smaller in relation to the overall economy than virtually all of East Asia, let alone the more advanced economies. While the services sector is growing, India’s knowledge economy remains ranked 97th out of 154 countries in the UNDP’s Global Knowledge Index 2021, which quantifies countries’ knowledge and development conditions.
No country can progress unless the three ‘E’s—education, employment, and employability—are addressed. However, India risks squandering its demographic advantage because more than half of the working population remains unemployed. The PM also mentioned ‘Jai Anusandhan (innovation),’ which essentially calls for education reforms, increased public spending on R&D, resources to establish research centres of excellence, and investment in the ICT industry.