One country, one family, one future
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a diamond, not just golden, opportunity to walk-the-talk of what he advocated to G20 foreign ministers
Let us ask ourselves. Is this not very much valid for India? Unity of all States, people and political parties to jointly address the challenges before us? Isn't inclusive federalism nothing but multilateralism? And isn’t multilateralism is in a State of crisis in India as well? If some countries are in a permanent state of war, here too some states are in a state of war with the Centre competing with resources
No group can claim global leadership without listening to those most affected by its decisions
– Prime Minister Narendra Modi
One was listening to what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said addressing the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting last week. At the end of the address, in fact during every point he stressed, one could come to the conclusion that much of what he said is very much applicable to the domestic scenario as well.
Modi underlined why India chose the theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ for its G20 Presidency and explained that it signals the need for unity of purpose as well as the unity of action.
Let us ask ourselves. Is this not very much valid for India? Unity of all States, people and political parties to jointly address the challenges before us? Isn't inclusive federalism nothing but multilateralism? And isn’t multilateralism is in a State of crisis in India as well? If some countries are in a permanent state of war, here too some states are in a state of war with the Centre competing with resources. The job melas that the PM presides over is just an example of collapse of multilateralism that he advocates. Sadly, though he himself said recently that the BJP-ruled states are executing Rozgar Melas by recruiting the youth for central as well as local jobs in thousands. The nation wants to know what is happening on the job front in non-BJP run States.
Modi focused his G20 speech on the need to prevent future wars by balancing competing interests, and secondly, to foster international cooperation on issues of common interests. Here in India too, we ought to work together with cooperation on issues of common interests. The Governors and the CMs conferences are supposed to deal with issues of state and national interest. Had we done that, sinking political differences, we would not have had GST wars with non-BJP states screaming.
Modi mentioned the failure of global governance and spoke of the financial crisis, climate change, pandemic, terrorism, and wars. The tragic consequences of this failure are being faced mostly by all the developing countries and the world is at risk of rescinding on Sustainable Development after years of progress. Well said. It definitely requires guts to stand up and speak up.
Juxtapose the global canvas with the India scenario. Each word that he said should be weighed with a tonne of gold.
The Prime Minister also noted that many developing countries are struggling with unsustainable debt while trying to ensure food and energy security for their people. Ditto by many less fortunate states.
The Prime Minister underlined that today’s meeting is taking place at a time of deep global divisions and as Foreign Ministers, it is only natural that the discussions are affected by the geo-political tensions of the day. Well, haven’t we been discussing the political divisions that are adversely impacting the nation?
In this context, let me point out what Modi said: “We all have our positions and our perspectives on how these tensions should be resolved”. He emphasized that as the leading economies of the world, the responsibility towards those who are not in this room lies with us. Exactly, the BJP must take up the responsibility as the big brother and always take into consideration the needs of the non-saffron states. The feeling of cooperative federalism does not emanate from the streets where the political rivalries are the bitterest. The fountainhead of such reforms should come from the top. The Double Engine doctrine should be redefined as Centre-State cooperation and not just BJP-BJP bhai bhai! I know it requires guts to do that. Modi certainly has enough of it. Imagine the tremendous good that it will do for his image. He will emerge as a Statesman, much beyond a shrewd politician.
“The world looks upon the G20 to ease the challenges of growth, development, economic resilience, disaster resilience, financial stability, transnational crime, corruption, terrorism, and food and energy security”, the Prime Minister remarked as he noted that G20 has the capacity to build consensus and deliver concrete results in all these areas.
He emphasized that resolutions for issues that cannot be addressed together should not come in the way of those that can be resolved.
Exactly! Read Centre instead of G20 and you have a role model Centre and PM. Modi advocated the world to draw inspiration from the land of Gandhi and the Buddha and India's civilizational ethos of focusing not on what divides us, but on what unites us all. Isn’t it time we ourselves drew this inspiration and worked for our own welfare?
“The G20 has a critical role to play in finding the right balance between growth and efficiency on one hand and resilience on the other”, the Prime Minister remarked. He suggested that this balance can be achieved more easily by working together. The Prime Minister expressed confidence in the collective wisdom and ability and hoped that the G20 ministers “meeting will turn out to be ambitious, inclusive and action-oriented” where resolutions are made while rising above differences.
I will be totally wrong if I say that the responsibility to achieve what is said above lies only with the Prime Minister. Inclusive governance springs from shaking hands and not shedding responsibilities. All states, BJP and non-BJP run, and all political parties must work within the framework of cooperative federalism. To give a small example, it ill behoves a non-BJP Chief Minister if he violates the protocol of welcoming the Prime Minister. Do we have to tell these heads of States that the CM belongs to the entire State and not a political party to which owed allegiance. The Constitutional position has constitutional obligations, above narrow political differences.
Each State has to learn a lot from the experience of others. If farmers are happy in Telangana, it should present a case study to other States apart from celebrating with front page advertisements in all newspapers across the country. I am not suggesting for a minute that such advertisements should not be issued. Advertisements are the blood and oxygen for newspapers.
Take the example of ODOP (one district one product) project which is being successfully implemented in Uttar Pradesh. Can the Centre don the MODIfied double engine role and encourage all States to implement ODOP. Ultimately, let there be a grand national expo with ODOPs from all the 760 plus districts. What a grand idea and show that will be. The very thought itself is mind boggling!
The Prime Minister pointed out to G20 that no group can claim global leadership without listening to those most affected by its decisions. Superb! Modi has done well with the nationwide execution of the Swachh Bharat campaign. Let all Amrit Kaal benefits be accrued to all States and districts, talukas and villages. Ek Bharat – Shresth Bharat should be imbibed in the real Bharat – the rural India. Let me end this state of unity discussion with my headline: One Country. One Family. One Future Let the ethos of G20 be extended to G29 (the number of states in India).
(The columnist is a Mumbai-based media veteran now running websites and youtube channel known for his thought-provoking messaging.)