Modi’s governnovations in india
The Innovation Republic
Publisher- Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and Dhiraj Nayyar
Author- Wisdom Tree, Rs 495
The Prime Minister has been very prudent in gauging that innovation in every aspect of governance is the need of the hour. This book examines how he has hit the nail on its head, writes Dr MUKESH KUMAR SRIVASTAVA
Innovation is the key to the growth of a country. In the words of William Pollard, “Without change, there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable”. In the book under review, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and Dhiraj Nayyar elucidate seventeen significant and innovative schemes under the present government. They project Prime Minister Modi as a harbinger of change through ‘governnovations’. By promoting accountability, transparency and expediency, he has revolutionised governance — politically, economically and socially. The underlying theme of the book is that it is not only about innovation, it is making innovation take a final shape through able leadership.
This technology-efficient approach has gone, and will go, a long way in building ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’, which forms the essence of Chapter 6, titled “Understanding Diversities, Integrating Minds: Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat”. For instance, celebrating the spirit of unity in diversity, PM Modi introduced the Rashtriya Ekta Divas (National Unity Day) for cultural and other exchanges among various states of India. Similarly, the Planning Commission was dissolved to create a new institution, NITI Aayog injecting fresh lease of life with its edifice on innovation and creativity. In Chapter 7 — “New Institutions for New India: NITI Aayog” — the authors hold that the NITI Aayog paved a way for both cooperative and competitive federalism involving the twenty-nine states of India (pp. 66- 67). No doubt, and as the authors observe, such farsighted vision helped in implementing many schemes, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Swachh Bharat, requiring the participation of the states.
Realising that continuous interaction and debate among various ministries and other organs of the government is required for both review and smooth and swift implementation of projects, the government launched PRAGATI ie Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation — which has been candidly covered by the authors in the first chapter titled ‘Reviewing Advancement, Advancing Review: PRAGATI’. By introducing the scheme of PRAGATI, PM Modi promoted coordination among ministries, central government departments and state governments through a combination of video-conferencing, digital data management and geospatial information systems (p. 12). PRAGATI not only helped regular review and expedite the implementation of projects but also instilled a sense of cooperative federalism. The effectiveness of this scheme finds manifest in the speedy progress of various initiatives, including Kishanganga project, solar energy parks, the parliament building and Salma Dam in Afghanistan, and other such projects.
Economy is the engine of growth and revamping the market economy through innovation is important to augment as well as sustain such growth. Towards achieving technology-oriented market economy, the Government e- Marketplace’ (GeM) initiative, discussed in chapter 2 — “E-way to Transparency: Government e-Marketplace” — has been launched to facilitate ease of transactions of goods and services and to eliminate intermediaries and providing a level playing field for entrepreneurs, big and small. Designed by the Ministry of Information and Technology and involving young minds, GeM has seen upward trends with the enrollment of buyers and vendors expanding to 3,633 and 9,500 respectively along with 1,370 service providers in a span of less than a year since its launch. The efficacies of the initiative can also be measured in terms of the substantial savings that have effected after its implementation (p. 26). Schemes like India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians, Invest in India, Venture Capital Fund for SC entrepreneurs, and The BHIM App (Bharat Interface for Money), elaborated in Chapters 8, 9, 10 and 16, aim at boosting the economic and financial growth, and provide a level playing field for everyone.
Encouraging people’s participation as well as ideas through initiatives like Mann Ki Baat and MyGov have infused a sense of dialogue, activism, representativeness and responsibility among the masses on a wide range of issues ranging from education, energy, gender justice, economy and business of governance to name a few. The authors observe in Chapters 3 and 4 that the success of such schemes promoting participatory democracy has attracted appreciation both within India and abroad. In the same vein, celebration of International Yoga Day, which the authors narrate in Chapter 5, has brought international acclaim to India. In Chapter 12 — “Unleashing the Demographic Dividend: Smart India Hackathon” — the authors maintain that initiatives like Smart India Hackathon have helped in harnessing the large repository of promising young minds in the field of research and development. The authors discuss in Chapters 11, 13, 14 and 17 that PM Modi’s desire to reach out to the common masses is commendable. Through initiatives like Pradhan Mantri UJJWALA Yojana, UJALA Programme, and environment-friendly technological upgradation in railway services, the government strives to provide the maximum benefits and comfort to the people. Another landmark initiative of PM Modi is the use of space technology. The authors illustrate in Chapter 15 — “An Eye from the Sky: Space Tech for Governance” — that the use of space technology has revolutionized farming sector, infrastructure sector, health sector, and mapping natural resources and identifying disasters, including landslides, in India. Through the use of space technology, India has also assisted Nepal to identify natural disasters like earthquakes.
Suraaj Sankalp, the Path to Good Governance espoused by PM Modi during his stint as the Chief Minister of Gujarat has been appended at the end of the book. By doing so, the authors seek to present to the readers PM Modi’s ardent desire to build an innovative India. As PM Modi remarked, “Innovation no longer remains a choice but has become an imperative”. There is no denying the fact that PM Modi has upheld the principle of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”, in the truest sense of the term by being the change himself and bringing in change by making himself available and accessible through technological innovations as well as educating the masses about such innovative techniques.
With seventeen chapters elaborating different schemes of technological innovations, the book is very informative and educative. Hence, it is a good read for not only academia and students but also for common people to understand PM Modi’s policy towards building an Innovative India. Nevertheless, the book leaves the reader longing for more with respect to the challenges and constraints in the way of achieving aforementioned schemes. Having said that, the conglomeration of essays rekindles the focus of the world towards India and elevates India’s image as the new Innovation Republic under the leadership of PM Modi.
The reviewer is a Programme Assistant at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi. The views expressed are of the author and not of the Council
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