While growing up, we were told that for every step India took forward, it took two steps back. That indeed seemed to be the case for decades after Independence. The first big step forward was the liberalisation in 1991 – we haven’t looked back ever since.The second leap forward could be the 2014 general elections, because that was the first time someone became Prime Minister not on the basis of caste, religion or socialism, but on matters related to development and, governance and most importantly, hope.
A new India had given the Centre a new mandate.
It’s why we finally have a Union government with a long-term vision that is moving full steam ahead.Once you push forward far enough on a certain path, it becomes quite difficult to turn back (just like with liberalisation in 1991). The results of implementing such a vision are already visible in many sectors (though perhaps not talked about in mainstream media) and by the year 2020, India may finally transform itself and shed its old sluggish image.
India seems to be making rapid progress in every field. Here are 10 areas that will make all the difference.
While the first NDA government began pushing for this during 1998-2004, the initiative was put on the backburner under the UPA from 2004 to 2014. It’s now back, front and centre. Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari declared that road-making had come down to 2 km/day when the second NDA government took over (a number which has been hotly disputed). Since that controversial remark, the number snaked up to 18 km/day in FY 2014-15 and further to 21 km/dayin 2015-16. The target for the next year is 41 km/day and the government is reportedly exploring how the number can reach 100 km/day!
Gadkari declared in a recent interview:“American roads are not good because America is rich, but America is rich because America has good roads.”Incidentally the Sagar Mala Project, apart from developing ports, will also focus on developing inland waterways.The troika of roadways, waterways and expansion of Railways certainly promises to take India to the next level.
To put that in perspective, consider this: In 1988, India unveiled its fastest train, the Shatabdi Express, which travels at 150 kmph. Till 2014,there was no attempt made to better that benchmark.Now, the Gatimaan Express is our fastest train (160 kmph) and India’s “bullet trains” will more than double the Shatabdi’s speed.
Then there are innovations like the Jaldoot Express which,via dozens of trips,carried more than 7 crore litres of water from Miraj to drought-hit Latur (a distance of close to 350 km) in Maharashtra. It is such innovations that will make India a superpower.
Until 2014, it was estimated that about one-third of India did not have access to electricity. If you count the power cuts that the remaining two-thirds experienced, then it could well have been argued that 50 percent of the country went without power at any given point in time.
However, this is the first government that has targeted 100% electrification (it aims to achieve this by the year 2022, on the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.)We are moving fast onthat front too.The common citizen can check the status of rural electrification by the Garv Grameen Vidyutikaran App.)
For the first time in independent India’s history, we have a surplus of power (not in every state, but overall, as a country, we do). According to the Central Electricity Authority, there will be a surplus of 3.1% for peak hours and 1.1% for non-peak hours during FY 2016-17.
Coal reserves are finally in excess (the UPA ended its second term with a shortfall) and we are on course for doubling our total capacity. The ailing Dabhol Power Plant was revived by bringing in Indian Railways as an anchor client. Power capacity is being optimised at every level.
The almost-dead nuclear deal with the US has also been revived. That was after whirlwind negotiations between the governments of both countries. Unconventional sources like wind energy are also being pushed in a big way.We are on course to becoming a much larger consumer of solar power (we currently rank seventh in the world in terms of installed capacity):The international airport at Kochi, Kerala, became the world’s first fully solar energy powered airport.
10: Startups: When Fortune released its list of most valuable companies recently, the top 3 were Apple, Alphabet (Google) and Microsoft. That’s the power of the startup. In the past two years, we have seen the startup culture finally being encouraged in India in a big way.By 2020, expect a lot more Indian start-ups to become billion-dollar companies. Initiatives like Startup India and Make in India promise to go a long way in making India an economicpowerhouse.
The infrastructure boost that was pending for ages is finally upon us. The Indian tiger is finally rising.If not a developed country, we are officially an NIC (newly industrialised country).All in all, India looks to be finally going to the next level from 2020 to 2025!