INDIACSR News Network
NEW DELHI: Mr Rahul Gandhi, Vice President, Indian National Congress (INC), called upon the business community to go for “smart interventions” in societal development to bring about qualitative changes in the lifestyles of common man and to propel ideations that can spur inclusive growth.
Addressing the India Inc. at the CII’s Annual General Meeting and National Conference 2013, today in New Delhi, Mr Gandhi said that “India has an unstoppable tide of human aspirations”. Riding on the tide needs a boat and it is a joint endeavor of the government, business and civil society to create structures that address the aspirational paradigms of the common man”. This is the first time since taking over as the Vice-President of INC, he is addressing a business congregation.
Giving a clarion call to the Indian Industry to partner with the government in all its developmental activities, Mr. Gandhi wanted them to be intensely involved in infrastructural development, education, and the overall growth process, which is a win-win situation for everybody. “Harmony and development pre-supposes development of all and exclusion of none. Dalits, minorities, deprived people, destitute and women are all important links in our societal structure and we have to reach out to them with compassion and empathy”, he added.
Taking a dig at the current milieu of political environment, Mr. Gandhi, said that “presently the governance dependent on a few elected representatives and that too MPs and MLAs. The majority of the peoples’ leaders like pradhans of gram panchayats are denied of any say in the political process that goes into decision making. This is very frustrating”, adding that for a harmonious development, ideations have to move from all directions and the voice of the grass-roots level people has to be heard, recognized and acted upon.
Responding to a question from the floor on how to tackle the complex centre-state relationship, Mr. Gandhi, said that the real issue was not between the centre and state, but between people whose voice are being heard and of those who have been denied of any role in the political process.
“A generational shift has to take place in our complex social and political system to address creatively the grass-roots problem to find solutions to them. If you act on the suggestions of a few, one can go on expecting things to be done, but if you listen to our 1.2 billion people, we can get things done immediately. That is the importance of devolution of power”, he added. In this regard, he said that perhaps barring a few, most political parties are bereft of connectivity with the masses. “This is what I am trying to change,” he asserted.
Mr. Gandhi’s speech was laced with anecdotes, his personal experiences gathered from interfaces with people and his perceptions as to what should be the future course of development actions for India. He said that the problems that India faces are complex and there were no straight-jacket solutions to that. “It is partly due to our political system which is deep-rooted into democratic ideals and values. Every voice has to be listened and responded to, unlike in countries like China, where sometimes the personal views and perceptions get drowned in the political apparatus. I am getting grooved into that mode gradually,” he added.
Mr. Gandhi said that political life should be a mission and should not be geared for personal gains. “Many people predict the probability of me becoming the Prime-Minister, when will I get married etc. But these are all irrelevant issues and what we should focus is on finding voice for a billion people. We have to channelize our attention to more important issues like corruption, under-development and the inept political structures”, he lamented.
Earlier welcoming Mr Gandhi, Mr Adi Godrej, President, CII, said that the industry was looking forward to have a pro-active policy initiatives from the government in areas like Goods & Services Tax (GST), fast-tracking large infrastructure projects, balanced land acquisition policy etc.
Drawing attention of Mr Gandhi to ‘Young Indians’, an initiative of CII to groom up the youth to make them employable and self-occupied, he pledged the support to the massive youth awakening programs undertaken at Mr. Gandhi’s guidance. Mr S. Gopalakrishnan, President-Designate, CII, in his address said that as a partner in progress, CII would continue to lend support to the nation-building task.