New India: A Transformational India

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Transformational changes, matter-of-factly any big change, make people initially worried and wary. The changes, usually considered inconceivable before they actually happened. Driverless cars, drones delivering items for Amazon, Paying with Your Face are no longer wild ideas but realities. Thus possibilities are eternal regardless of country, region and government.

It is the Government of India’s transformational initiatives integrating the spirit of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (with all, development for all) paved the way for an enabling eco-system needed for transformational programme and policies.

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The present Government’s several bold measures on many fronts have transformed India into one of the fastest growing large economies in the world. Country’s fundamental economic indicators are a strong endorsement of that. Today, we have robust macroeconomic indicators such as fairly strong GDP growth and balanced inflation, fiscal deficit and current account deficit that are under control. The major reforms from the Government continue to improve investor sentiment and India’s position across the world. Consequently, foreign investors now place huge trust in India.

Significant steps like “Make in India” initiative aiming to transform India into a hub for design, innovation and manufacturing; “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” focusing on making India a clean and an open defecation free nation and “Startup India” initiative making India a nation of job creators instead of job seekers, taken during last four years have started fructifying.

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According to opinion makers, India tends to become a highly urbanized nation by 2050 as 843 million Indians are expected to move into cities. And therefore reform measures such as “Power for All”, “Smart Cities”, “Skill India” are central to country’s growth story.

Changing aspirations, technology and globalization are driving deep disruptions all around us. Technology has come to play a vital role in the lives of many and has significantly shaped people’s perceptions, behaviours, and preferences. Technology is driving a host of disruptive innovations lately, also aided by the interesting demographic changes witnessed across the country.

In the words of Klaus Martin Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum - ‘New technologies and approaches are merging the physical, digital, and biological worlds in ways that will fundamentally transform humankind. The extent to which that transformation is positive will depend on how we navigate the risks and opportunities that arise along the way.’

A central part of the Government of India’s development policy is the “Digital India” campaign, aimed at digitally empowering Indian citizens by boosting connectivity, expanding access and improving electronic delivery of government services.

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Goods and Services Tax (GST), the biggest tax reform being undertaken since Independence stands out as a mother of all reforms. It is transformational and futuristic in its design as it is fully digitised with a built-in excess capacity which is expandable to accommodate any increase in tax base, without compromising on the system performance. International Monetary Fund appreciated India's effort to reform the country's taxation system.

Jan Dhan Yojna, part of Digital India initiative providing access to formal banking services to more than 15 percent of the unbanked population in the country is nothing short of phenomenal. It ensured transparency in financial transactions by closing loopholes and better enforcement of accounting standards.

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The other significant social security programmes for the country have been PM Ujjwala Yojana - with the aim of providing 5 crore LPG connections to women below the poverty line across the country, Gram Jyoti Yojana to ensure round the clock electricity supply to farmers and rural households. Besides, PM Gramin Awas Yojna' designed entirely for the rural masses aimed to provide affordable houses to 4 crore people living below the poverty line.

Gandhiji had a very insightful thought about change: 'Be the change that you wish to see in the world.' This is true for all of us. This is true for transformational initiatives being taken presently. Finally in conclusion, let me say just this - elements like improved governance, transparency in government procedures and responsive policymaking have been the hallmark of the present government.