The vision thing

In an op.-ed. written before the PM’s speech at the Red Fort today, Niranjan Rajadhyaksha had mentioned that the PM had to articulate his vision for the country. He has stepped out to bat a bit for the Nehruvian vision. I have a few quibbles with that. The Nehruvian vision had its costs. Some big ones. So, is having a bad vision better than having no vision at all?

Of course, to be fair to Niranjan, his piece is not critical of the PM. In fact, he had written that the PM ticks two of the three boxes well. He was only waiting for the vision thing. So, this blog post is not a critical comment on Niranjan’s piece. If anything, as one would expect from Niranjan, it is well written. I am using that article as a foundation to make my points.

I think ‘The Vision thing’ was amply evident in the PM’s Independence Day address.

Even before the speech, the government has been quietly trying to get the basics right. Mr. Modi wants to get the plumbing correct before he moves on to grand things. It is not that he has shied away from talking about grand initiatives. He has outlined several – freight corridors, bullet trains, smart cities, etc.

Look at the Top Story I saw in MINT on the front page at around 4:00 PM (IST) on 15th August 2014. See image attached.

So, it is about basic amenities, health and hygiene, cleanliness, security for women and end to communal violence. These are the critical elements of a functioning and civilised society. That is his vision. If we cannot get these right, forget about a per capita income of USD5000.00 or USD10,000.00. It might have impressed some middle, upper-middle and upper class audience if he had said that he would aim at a per capita income of USD3000.00 per annum by the end of his first term. How would one reconcile that – even if it were achieved – with gang rapes and dirty roads, cities and villages?

I think his vision is good plumbing for the society. That is the right vision and right priority.

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