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Shape of the future

We put 3 pointed queries to our expert panel on their areas of specialisation: the challenges India faces, where they see the country 20 years from now and how can we get there? Here is what their responses were.

india Updated: Jul 23, 2011 23:44 IST

We put 3 pointed queries to our expert panel on their areas of specialisation: the challenges India faces, where they see the country 20 years from now and how can we get there? Here is what their responses were.

Poverty
1
Sustainability of so many people with a given amount of land and water is the main hurdle. The problem is of increasing inequality of income. People require access to income, but opportunities are scarce.

2 The number of people below the poverty line will be hugely lower, but I expect inequality to continue to grow. Relative poverty will increase.

3 There must be growth in income and access to this income.Hence, growth in jobs is needed. There should be major expansion in health, education and social security. You've got to keep the people informed and make sure that the process is participatory. The direction of our growth should be such that the process of income creation is not halted.

Governance
1
The challenge is of inclusive growth, not only in the economic, but also in the social sense. There is a gap between the ideal of this equality and the reality of entrenched hierarchy.

2 I see a bright future for India if we cultivate democratic sensibilities and ensure better lives for all our citizens.

3 We need to strengthen the right to freedom of speech and expression because that is the guarantor of all other rights. Also, we need make constitutional bodies, courts, media and most importantly the legislative process through which people elect their representatives stronger than they are currently. Governance at local levels,like the gram sabhas, as well as individual land owners need to be empowered.

Geo-politics
1
We are still looked upon as an overtly protectionist society and that perception needs to change. When you tie yourself up with allies, it affects your autonomy. We should not look for allies, but partners.

2 In 2031, China will be a challenge. We will be in disagreement over border issues and Brahmaputra diversion. India needs to develop strategic ties with China's key neighbours

3 We should foster economic integration with neighbouring economies. Economic cooperation between South Asia and South-East Asia is very important.India should also focus on G-20.India should offer assistance in human resource development not only to Asian countries but also to African countries to strengthen ties.

Environment
1
The lack of innovation and investment in quality R&D. The inability of the political leadership to take bold creative decisions. Sustainability is at risk because of our failure to understand that the current model of growth is predatory and exploitative of nature.

2 The vast reserves of coal in India can be a major plus point for energy self-sufficiency. I don't see nuclear energy in our future as it is high risk and extremely polluting.

3 Design an economy that works within the laws of nature. Develop a rational waste disposal and land-use policy, with a view to ensure the creation, revival and protection of water bodies. Discourage private transport and popularise public transport, cycles and pedestrian infrastructure.

Healthcare
1
The lack of innovation and investment in quality R&D. The inability of the political leadership to take bold creative decisions. Sustainability is at risk because of our failure to understand that the current model of growth is predatory and exploitative of nature.

2 The vast reserves of coal in India can be a major plus point for energy self-sufficiency. I don't see nuclear energy in our future as it is high risk and extremely polluting.

3 Design an economy that works within the laws of nature. Develop a rational waste disposal and land-use policy, with a view to ensure the creation, revival and protection of water bodies. Discourage private transport and popularise public transport, cycles and pedestrian infrastructure.

Science
1
India is not keeping pace with its development needs. Economic Reforms need to go hand in hand with development timelines. Politicising every opportunity is not the way to go. We need to de-link politics from the reforms processes. We can't allow mis-reporting of clinical trials to affect our drug development process.

2 We could be a global manufacturing hub and a $50 billion dollar pharma market. Hope we can also be among the top 10 drug innovators as a nation.

3 We need to augment industrial & research infrastructure.We can't be a global leader if we don't improve our regulatory framework.India has to focus on building a specialised human resource to reach our global leadership goals.

India's neighbours
1
With Pakistan, there is a deeply embedded anti-India DNA, which manifests itself in a hostile way. With our other neighbours, there is an asymmetry as compared to India,which engenders wariness, lack of trust and political discomfort.

2 My vision is of an India, which has equal relationships with its neighbours. This is imperative if we have any aspirations to be regionally and globally relevant. The current political dissonance and institutional attitudes do not inspire confidence.

3 We should make our neighbours stakeholders in our prosperity instead of growing at their expense.Once India takes political initiatives, it will help in diluting the border and territorial sensitivity with neighbours.

Sports
1
There is no improvement in facilities at the grass roots. Even at Sports Authority of India's Training Centers or other state owned coaching academies, the diet, medical facilities and living conditions offered to the players are poor, which makes many potential players lose their way. The national level.

2 The things are moving in the right direction and if we maintain the momentum and upgrade our sports facilities, we can definitely be among the top sporting nations.

3 India's sporting system has to be reworked. We need world-class facilities.If we want to improve in the next twenty years, then we should have proper sports policy which doesn't exist today. Sports should be kept away from politics.

Media
1
Indian media needs to stop sensationalising everything. Media tars everyone with the same brush, confusing people. Indian media should go after corruption with due diligence.Politicians just muddy up all the issues and the media allows them to. There is no accountability in Indian media.

2 I see media as the great hope of Indian people. Hopefully, the Indian media will be a strong, corruption-free crusader against injustice.

3 We should be wary of one company/person owning many media corporations. We should have an open media policy and allow foreign companies to enter Indian media. We need a credible committee from within the media which acts as a self-regulatory and self-censorship mechanism so that the government does not step in.

Cinema
1 Our products hardly make an impact on the world's consciousness.We are not thought leaders.We have not been able to make a product that can boast of being a contender in the big boy's playground.

2 If we keep going the way we are, I see India making no headway. We need to appeal to our 1.2 billion strong audience instead of imitating the West.

3 Dramatic idiom needs to be reinvented. We need to work on the content.Pan-Indian products should be focused upon. We have to stop ignoring the audience outside of the multiplex.Our cinema needs to resonate with what is in our own hearts and heritage. Mass entertainers are the need now, instead of just niche filling.