While the largest democracy undergoes the largest ever election, the ephemeral question of “Who do I vote for?” is in every citizen’s mind. Everyone is discussing and debating matters relating to development, inclusive politics, defence, policies for the poor, food availability, corruption, women safety and so on. The former President of India Dr. A. P. J Abdul Kalam has elucidated each of these developmental aspects that must be in the minds of every voter and candidate at this stage of India’s development. A pragmatic and sensible book, ‘Governance for Growth in India‘, it must definitely read by anyone who aims to make a difference in this nation.
Dr. Kalam starts off by appealing to the candidates standing in the elections about the importance of the power and responsibility entrusted to them. They are directly answerable to the people. Similarly, he then sensibilities about the importance of voting and the role each of us can play in a nation with the second largest population. He then emphasizes on the need for every youth to reach his or her maximum potential, and only then can India reach her maximum potential.
In the next few chapters, Dr. Kalam takes up various broad issues that need addressing. He then provides solutions and ideas to overcome these problems in different arenas, with deliberation and anecdotes from his professional life, filled with vast experience. The various issues covered include the creative governance, inclusive growth, e-governance, RTI, corruption, public audit of policies and importance of transparency in defence. I thought the chapter on E-governance was particularly poignant with brilliant suggestions by Dr. Kalam. He stresses time and again on the need for coordination between different mechanisms of the government, to ensure the proper implementation of policies. He also highlights that the only way to ensure the highest level of development if there is honesty and integrity within each and every person. Another important and practical suggestion by Kalam was that of a constituency report for every newly elected candidate that highlights the various problems the elected representative must concentrate on.
He ends with the various goals India still has to achieve to fulfil the dream of Vision 2020. Though the road is tough, and there is much to do, Dr. Kalam’s optimistic tone is highly uplifting. His urges to the youth are timely and he deliberates on every issue of importance, leaving no stone untouched.
With a language that is characteristic of Dr. Kalam, he expounds on all the necessary ideas and problems with simplicity, clarity and practicality. In a mere 153 pages, Dr. Kalam has presented a beautiful manifesto for any candidate looking to stand in the elections, to bring about real change in the country. Every Indian must read this book, if they aim to take an active role in the country’s development, in any which way.
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