"The sputtering of India's economic growth rate has rung alarm bells for economists and rating agencies... Though attracted by the potential of India's market, investors are turned off by the difficulties of getting things done. A major problem in India is that things are not done well... An equally serious problem is that hardly anything is completed on time," said Maira while delivering a convocation address at Nirma University on Thursday evening.
"There is widespread need in India to convert confusion into co-ordination, contention into collaboration and intention into implementation... If only we had a dictator for a decade to get growth going, and then we can get back to democracy, some wistfully dream. Of course, they have no solution for how a widely accepted dictator will quickly and peacefully emerge!" Maira said without naming anyone political leader, party or the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
"There has to be a democratic alternative to dictatorship for discipline. In a highly diverse as well as democratic country, such as India, consesus is required for all stakeholders to move together, forward and faster. This consensus cannot be commanded," he told a gathering of students and their families.
"We need another mechanism specifically designed to bring people with different perspectives together; to listen to each other, to distil the essence of their shared aspiration for their habitation or their organisation, and adopt the critical principles they will adhere to in the work they must do together," Maira added.
The Planning Commission member gave the examples of countries like Japan, Korea and Malaysia who have systematically improved their capabilities of co-ordination and implementation.
"India has many popular movements uniting citizens against what they do not want ---- of which corruption is a principal enemy. The country also needs movements to unite citizens for what they want in their habitats and their lives, and to enable them to work together to create it," Maira added.