India stands at crossroads on the 63rd Republic Day. The young demographic profile and buoyant economy provide opportunities for further growth. At the same time, there are challenges in the form of poverty, malnutrition, corruption and over-crowded cities. Two decades after the economic reforms, India stands chance of another transformation. The immense potential of the North-eastern states remains untapped. Tourism, promotion of handicrafts, tapping the hydropower potential, and improvement in surface, rail and air transport can help propel the development of the North-eastern region. The public health infrastructure needs an overhaul. Basic amenities remain a distant reality for most of the households of rural India. Better infrastructure could open opportunities to transform rural India into sustainable development zones. 2-tier and 3-tier cities can propel India's economic growth. Proper town and city planning is crucial to facilitate development while retaining the peace and tranquility.
Public distribution system requires rethink and redesign. Inadequate food storage facilities and logistical flaws result in wastage of precious food grains, even as millions starve. Continued strengthening of the road infrastructure is crucial to transform India. Poverty remains a serious concern. A coherent policy for slums or informal settlements is crucial to ensure adequate shelter to the poor. Natural resources play an important role in the development of a country. Depletion and illegal exploitation of natural resources is a major challenge confronting the country, which may also pose danger to the environment. Misuse of government land and discrepancies in farmland acquisition has become a recurrent feature. The country needs more number of IITs and IIMs or similar institutions to ensure equal opportunity to increasing number of talented individuals. We need more colleges for fine arts. India is not immune to climate change. Recurring droughts and uneven rainfall are adding to the woes of the farmers. Creation of equitable field for all concern could help in pacing up the economic reform process.
The challenges are manifold, but India is better equipped than in the past to address them. Policy and implementation must go hand in hand to achieve the desired goals, for the lack of either could result in chaos and dismay for many. India stands at crossroads on the 63rd Republic Day. Opportunities are plenty, will is the way.