The book lacks seriousness

Book: India Ahead 2025 and Beyond
Author: Bimal Jalan
Publisher: Rupa
Pages: 161; Price: Rs 495

The first question that comes to mind when one looks at the book is, what is so special about 2025? Well, nothing. Even the author does not say why he opted for 2025 except that “This book deals with certain priorities for India in the long run, i.e. up to 2025. It takes a long-term perspective on the country’s prospect and the many challenges that need to be tackled in order to realize its full potential for high growth combined with the alleviation of poverty.”

The book has nine chapters, out of which eight are advices on how governance can be made better and they have indeed made some good suggestions, but sadly none of them offer any new insight. The one thing that book points out is how well-established parliamentary procedure was thrown out of window between March 18 and 22 during the Budget session in 2006.

In financial reforms, the author talks about GST, but forgets to mention demonetisation. The author, Dr Bimal Jalan, former Governor RBI, Finance Secretary, Chairman of the economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, Member of Parliament (2003-09), Chairman of the Expenditure Management Commission (2014-16), represented India on the boards of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, writes a chapter, not surprisingly on finance titled, ‘A New paradigm for the financial Sector’. He covers in detail about East Asian Crisis and other issues related to finance in the past, but does not take a stand on demonetisation. One can’t be diplomatic while writing about nation’s future.

While Jain covers different issues faced by India related to governance, he completely overlooks, the growing Islamic terrorism, Urban Naxalism, NGO activism, etc. The poverty alleviation, industrial growth, etc. do not happen in isolation. They are affected by terror activities, NGO activism and are used strategically by nations to stop the growth of other nations. And, India has been suffering due to all these. The book may not loose credibility looking at the credentials of the author, but it does loose seriousness with the author taking a politically correct stand. Ideas, which go for political correctness, do not bring a long-term change.

The author has not touched upon the subject of technology or artificial intelligence, reverse globalisation, environmental issues, not even in the chapter ‘The Twenty first Century is India’s Century’. These are the issues that are going to not only affect job prospects, but economic growth of any nation in the coming future.

The book comes across as a confused statement. The flap of the book describes the book as “highlights the immediate priorities that need to be tackled. The primary focus of this book is to promote the country’s national interest in the long run”.

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