Make no mistake, the aspirations of ours to become a Superpower or even a developed nation by 2020 is quite a lofty one, considering the present scenario of us as a people, more than that of as a nation. That is because there are many things that constitute a how a developed nation should be, and infrastructure is just one of them. But it depends more on the people of the Nation. Whatever it may be, here I present 20 things that would identify India as a developed country, the one that we all dream of!
Activist types, please note that this list does not contain "Non-corrupt politicians and bureaucrats". Before outraging, please to understand that whatever given here will be the result of people putting aside their personal ambitions and working for the country, Hence resulting in development. Corruption or no corruption, I don't care. In fact, I wouldn't mind a bit of corruption if the country were to be the greatest in the World, as long as they don't loot it. Tall order? Yes. Within 2020? I don't think so.
Roads. Real Expressways, Highways and Interstates.
"If you want to be rich, you have to build roads!" Is an old Chinese Proverb. If you look at any developed country today, there is one thing they all have in common. Roads. Not two-bit highways like we have, but real 4 lane expressways stretching hundreds of kilometers without touching any major city and with real multiple grade interchanges and entry/exit points. Development does not bring roads, roads bring development. Infrastructure heaven.
More Women than there are Men
If we are kind to our women, all our social indices will improve automatically, and the country will prosper on its own. If all our little girls are allowed to be born and to live, that alone will bless our country infinitely more than outraging against pictures of goddesses on swimsuits.
The Best Railway Network in the World
A look at the Indian Railways will show you why biggest isn't always best. A well-developed rail network is the hallmark of any developed country, one which allows people to travel in dignity (like no shit on the tracks), comfort, punctuality and space. And there will be no Tatkal system as it simply won't be required.
LPG Connections which can be bought Online!
From Flipkart for instance. Complete deregulation of everything, a totally decentralized market based structure will be the only thing that can ever cure corruption and Nitro-boost India's economy.
People With Incredible Civic Sense
This is asking for the impossible. Can you imagine an India where people do not defecate in the open, spit Paan and tobacco all over the place, do not throw garbage on the roads and in water bodies and keep all their surroundings clean and recycle? No? OK.
Bureaucracy that Treats Citizens as Human Beings
One of the main things that will change the face of a country is a bureaucracy that works for it like a well oiled machine, and not a set of holier-than-thou uber-citizens who sit behind grilled and dusty ancient counters partially hidden by mounds of papers treating their salary-payers as dirt and work only at the smell of minted paper.
Public Transport Heaven!
Mobility will liberate India. Metros in all cities will be linked to mobility hubs where road, rail, water and air converge. This seamlessly integrated public connectivity will ensure that you will reach wherever you should in no time. And I need not have to mention that the equipment used here will be World-Class, like no more obsolete front engined buses on back-breaking truck chassis.
World's Most Sensible and Grounded People
People with a sense of humor, who care about the fellow being and something other than money, who do not give a hoot about religion, caste, superstitions and rituals, who do not get "offended" by random comments, who know and accept realities, follow rules and shun jugaad. People who are not hypocrites. Asking for too much I know.
A Pan-India Uniform License Plate and Highway Code
I have always thought that a country which cannot enforce something as simple and basic as uniform number plates throughout, which every other country in the World has, cannot expect anything much else. Same goes for the highway code, one of the basic set of norms any civilized nation follows and is enforced to the T.
The World's Most Disciplined Drivers
Driving obeying laws, and not like rabid rabbits mating. As we know, today if there is anything that has the entire World laughing at our claim to progress, social indices apart, is our "free-for-all" driving culture. Operating vehicles is not a means to display ego and skills, it is operating a machine in a public space according to a set of rules.
Epic Urban Infrastructure
Our cities are usually dumps and masses of humanity. Imagine our cities being planned and built to put Singapore and Shanghai to shame with wide, clean, open roads and surroundings with plenty of open living space, cobblestoned piazzas, squares, huge parks, walkways, sidewalks, lakes with sparking water, spotless buildings and dustless atmosphere... Just think any city in the developed world.
Easily Accessible Public Toilets Everywhere!
In towns, cities, villages, along all roads and everywhere. This will be a huge leap forward in social welfare index. No more searching for empty plots and railway tracks. Also this will cause Indian Railways to lose the dubious distinction it has as the "World's Longest Toilet".
Decent Customer Service as a Fundamental Right
Simply put, you call customer service and you immediately get to talk to someone. "Press 1 to go out of your mind" is strictly outlawed.
A Phenomenal Decrease in B.Tech Victims
Of course, engineers are necessary, but we need REAL engineers, not half-baked B.Tech Victims who end up selling SIM Cards and Insurance. And far more necessary are doctors, economists, scientists, athletes, artists and so many other professionals.Photo Courtesy: Naming the Decade
Sparkling Rivers, Especially in Cities
It is not just the Ganga that is being choked to death. Look at any stream of water flowing through any of our cities. These will usually be stretches of tepid, stinking, toxic and stagnant black water. Now compare that with a river flowing through a city in a developed country.
Olympics, FIFA World Cup and Guest EPL Matches
Not only will we host the World's best sporting events with great success that will bring revenue and glory to the Nation, We will also have sparking infrastructure to complement it, which will cause every one to make a beeline to India when it comes to sport, which will include Arsenal and Manchester United wanting to play their games here.
The Internet as a basic right and legal downloading
If there is anything that can give power to the people and change the world, it is the Internet. All "ultra-developed" countries have made it already a basic fundamental right, while the lesser ones are trying to kill it.
A Billion+ Happy Smiles
From a generally happy, healthy and prosperous populace. Poverty? What is that? Of course, this cannot be completely eliminated in any country, but well, there will be no women and children staring through the windows of your cars at traffic signals (or anywhere else) with heart-rending reflections of hopelessness and helplessness in their eyes.
Free Cookies and Milk for Everyone!
Well, not exactly. What I meant is just that tax paying citizens will be given their due. Today, whoever pays tax is used and thrown by the roadside and is given zero amenities and consideration, while those who evade taxes are kings. Not so.
High Rankings on all Positive Indices
With the barrage of negative news about India coming out on the domestic and international media, it is no wonder that we rank in the pits on every major positive index, like 91/110 on the World Prosperity Index. If we make it to the top we obviously will have achieved all the necessary social indices to be a developed nation.
How do we Achieve all this?
A Country is made up of land, boundaries and stuff, but a Nation is made up of it's people. The first thing that would help to create a developed India would be a change in mentality of our people. Honest, hardworking politicians, bureaucrats and other officers would have to supply the engine of growth. In fact, they would be prompted to work IF the people they represent demand it in no uncertain terms, and not through jugaad. For example, if the politician sees a 90% turnout on voting day, he would certainly be infinitesimally more scared than he would be by 1000 candlelight marches. We have to prompt them to work, and that can be accomplished if we perform our duties first before we cry for our rights. And that is a big IF.