NITI Aayog vice-chairman says introvert policies may be damaging India

The NITI Aayog chief also seemed to disagree with those who have recently spoken about online education as the future
NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Sunday said “introvert policies may be damaging”, and India “should follow the path of globalisation and self-reliance”.

He said that big cities were now redundant as people could now meet on the internet, and it was time the country looked beyond urbanisation to rurbanisation. The suggestion is significant in the context of thousands of migrant workers heading back to their towns and villages from big urban centres in the last two months. 

Kumar advocated replacing English with an “indigenous connecting language”, and said Indians should become “multilingual but without inferiority to our own mother tongues”.

The NITI Aayog chief also seemed to disagree with those who have recently spoken about online education as the future. “We will have to address the developmental disparity. We talk about online education but the fact is that only 35 per cent of schools in India have an internet connection and only 65 per cent of schools have electricity connection,” Kumar said.

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to people of being “vocal about local” manufactured products, and Kumar’s observations on “introvert policies” run contrary to that.

Kumar’s suggestions were part of his “seven-point development agenda” for accomplishing the objective of “Bharat reset”. He presented this ‘seven-point development agenda’ in a Facebook live with Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal (BSM), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and works for “re-establishing Bharatiya education system”.

On urbanisation, Kumar said that we no longer need to live at one place for the exchange of ideas and innovations. “We can meet in a virtual cloud (internet). Therefore, the big cities are no more required,” he said.

Kumar said there was a need to “amend” the village development model of Mahatma Gandhi from self-sufficient to self-reliant villages.

“The world is changing too fast and so is the technology and consumer pattern. Therefore, self-sufficiency is next to impossible for any village or even for a country. A village or a country needs to produce and export more than it purchases or imports for consumption,” he said.

According to Kumar’s seven-point development agenda, India needed to make development a public movement; introvert policies may be damaging, and India should follow the path of globalization and self-reliance; governments should work to ease stress of the agriculture sector; and villages should be self-reliant.

Kumar suggested that development should become a public movement akin to the freedom movement during British Raj. The PM has in recent years spoken of constructing a ‘new India’ by 2022, the 75th anniversary of the independence by making development a people’s movement.

“Today, most people think development as the sole responsibility of the government agencies which is a wrong approach. We should all go beyond our self-interest and do something for the nation. Every citizen needs to play his due role for the development of the country,” Kumar said.

Kumar called for governance with accountability and transparency, importance of the private sector, focus on changing the nature of employment, transformation from urbanization to rurbanization and rather than “man conquering nature”, the objective should man living in harmony with nature.

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