WHAT India needs more than anything today is a leader with a new economic vision. A leader who understands the need to make India count among the richest countries in the world, instead of the poorest. India has every reason to be rich. Few countries in the world have been blessed with all the resources needed to create prosperity on a mass scale, but India has remained incapable of providing even drinking water to its people because of bad economic policies and a stunted, shabby idea of our place in the world.
So we need a new kind of leader after the next general election. And, sadly what Rahul Gandhi proved through his first TV interview was that he is not that leader. What he proved is that he has more interest in reviving the Congress than in reviving India and that he is a strong supporter of what has come to be known disparagingly as ‘Sonianomics’.
This has, in the opinion of your humble columnist, taken the Indian economy down to almost rock bottom. It is based not on making Indians rich but on throwing largesse in the direction of the poor.
So if you are an Indian living below the poverty line, under a government that has failed to provide you with clean water, sanitation, healthcare and schools, you can bring cheer to your miserable life by collecting your rations of cheap food grain. And you can consider yourself privileged to have the legal rights to information, education and a hundred days of work a year. Of course, if you are desperately poor, you will not have access to the justice system but, what the hell, be grateful for the fact that Sonia Gandhi and her son care more for you than they do for the rich.
If Rahul’s long interview is any indication of how he thinks, then it is clear that he shares his mother’s vision. Other than a hint that he has grasped that India has missed becoming a manufacturing hub, everything he said was about “empowering” the poor and the voiceless. Noble ideas but not possible with just noblesse oblige. What is needed are massive investments in schools, healthcare, rural infrastructure and the creation of jobs. The solutions devised by Sonia’s National Advisory Council to these problems have proved less than adequate, but Rahul babbled on about RTI, MNREGA as if they were revolutionary ideas. They are not.