hen great minds meet, hopes are high. It is expected that people from differing backgrounds would come up with illuminations for each other. Heaping praise is a superficial decorum, which probably holds no social import. The PM Modi-Abhijeet Banerjee meeting on Tuesday 22 October 2019 had initially created an euphoria in the minds of many Indians. The hope was that someone would have talked sense into each other. While the Prime Minister is known for his ability to win elections, impress large number of people with his rhetoric as well as his long experience in governance, Abhijeet on the other is today globally recognized as an eminent economist whose views are valued and respected.
The sad part is that while successive Indian governments have cried hoarse about the poor and talked non stop on helping the farmer, in reality, successive annual Budgets have shown that the taxpayers’ money goes into large infrastructure projects or in the pockets of big industrialists where they turn into NPAs. With this unchanging trend, the economy was bound to weaken and slump. Today, we are witnessing that very talespin drop of the Indian economy. Interestingly, the Indian political and bureaucratic system does not give space to people with brains and experience from different fiels to help strengthen India’s base. Not only Abhijeet but people like Raghuram Rajan, Gita Gopinath and many other world class economists of Indian origin are being feted in many countries for helping them change their economic outlook while we in India prefer to ignore or threaten them at best.
Take for example what Banerjee has said after meeting the Prime Minister. He told reporters how the PM joked about the media trying to trap him into saying “anti-Modi” things. Referring to the PM, Abhijeet further told reporters “He has been watching TV. He has been watching you guys. He knows what you are trying to do. So stop.” Although some may call Abhijeet a smart alec in exposing his private conversations with the Prime Minister of India, other not so friendly people may point fingers and say that instead of bothering about anti and pro stance of an individual, it is more important that rulers of India should bother more for tomorrow, not for yesterday.
Unfortunately, India has constantly been trying to live in the past. While we talk of flying chariots and electricity in the long forgotten past, our present moment shows neither progress nor a desire to strengthen what we already possess. While the past could certainly be a great lesson which would help in not repeating mistakes, the future demands coordinated planning and execution. The greatness of the past has bogged us down. The world today is taking jumps and leaps towards much higher technology and scientific developments that are being used to improve the common person’s everyday life experiences. All these require a robust economy. That is where India has failed in the recent past. We have a bank of expertise and well educated Indians across the globe who are willing to hold our hands and help walk the country on the correct path. All we need is acceptance and humility.