How will India look in the 2021-30 decade? India will surpass China’s population. The Lord Ram Temple will be built. India will have approximately 477 new parliamentarians as the ‘new’parliament building will have a sitting capacity of 1,272 lawmakers. The delimitation of seats will be a major political development. Politically speaking, the new parliament will have a new ethos, culture and dynamics. Whether for good or bad remains to be seen.
The re-construction of the ‘Central Vista’ will underscore the might of the government. India will get rid of the ‘so-called’ dilapidated buildings and will have state-of-the-art, modern, efficient, and energy-saving buildings befitting the 21st century. The human interface in politics and government will be minimised. The era of Artificial Intelligence will not only intrude with the ‘privacy’ of individuals, but Indians will be completely ‘exposed’ to market forces. The 780 universities, 37,000 colleges, 13 lakh teachers and four crore students might be probably reduced to half, as the government has enunciated the policy of ‘earn and run’ in the ‘New Education Policy’. After this decade, a tea seller’s son would probably need to manage Rs 1 crore to become an engineer or doctor. India will witness a major population shift from villages to big and small towns.
The turbulentwill be slowly handed over to the new market forces and international agribusiness giants. Farmers are going to be the biggest sufferers in the new decade. Whether farmers remain owners of their land or become contract labour is the harsh question that needs to be answered. The packaged food industry will overtake the retail product sellers and they will sell their products to consumers at their whims and fancies. Consumers will become guinea pigs. New technologies will be enforced where less workforce is employed and as per the new Labour Policy ‘hire and fire’ will be vigorously implemented.
Most public sector undertakings will be sold, or shareholding of the government reduced to minority. India will keep buying weapons and arms worth billions of dollars as long as the proxy wars perpetuated by China and Pakistan last, possibly at the behest of forces that suck the blood of developing nations by creating a war psychosis. It will be a New India propounding the new ethos of Neoliberal capitalism. In this decade, India will be dominated by multinational companies and foreign financial institutions (FFIs). ‘Regulators’ will surrender to the market forces as we have seen with the TRAI, Competition Commission of India, Pollution Control Board of India, and Green Tribunals, and so on.
The preamble of the Indian constitution, “Sovereign Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic”, will acquire new shades. The new dispensation’s mindset is that this Constitution is not sacrosanct and can be ‘transformed’ as per the ‘new needs’ of a New India. The thinking is, nobody should have objections to a vibrant, prosperous, and dynamic India, as long as it answers some of the basic questions. What will happen to the cause of a ‘welfare state’ ? Will this New India have ‘free health’ for all? Who will guarantee the ‘social security’ net to all citizens of India? Who will provide free education up to Class 12th for our children (as we are aping the US model)? The biggest challenge is: will capitalist India be able to provide jobs to 20 crore unemployed youth? I do not see any institutional mechanism, or policy shift ensuring that future governments will be able to provide even basic amenities to our citizens. Indians are trapped between the jugglery of politicians and exploitation by market forces.
It is not surprising then that Indians will feel more restless and helpless in the decade. And, that will be a recipe for calamity. There is already a hum of discord in the air and if politicians do not comprehend the echo of disappointment and anguish, matters may get out of hand.