2013: New hopes and a fresh beginning...

Tuesday, 1 January 2013 - 5:22pm IST | Agency: DNA
Visionaries Speak Up on how the year 2012 went by, what is in store in 2013 and their vision for the country in their field of expertise.

The year 2012 has been full of twists and turns. The key highlights being Indian economy in a bad shape, legendary stars passing away, agitation for a Lokpal Bill and the latest being the nationwide stir demanding justice for the Delhi gang-rape victim. But despite all these negativities, there is always hope that India in 2013 will move in a positive direction. Visionaries Speak Up on how the year 2012 went by, what is in store in 2013 and their vision for the country in their field of expertise.

Directors will rethink how to depict women in films
Reflecting back
In my opinion, both Marathi and Hindi cinema had a very good year in 2012. In Hindi cinema, six films grossed Rs100 crore each.

Forecast
What I foresee in this year is that a lot of young producers and entrepreneurs will produce movies that will have low budgets. The movies will still be viable as the overall cost of movie production has gone down. In Hindi film industry, with budgets of Rs30 crore, a director has to compromise but in Marathi, one can take risks and choose whichever subject he wishes to make a film on. I believe this trend will increase this year. Another thing that I predict is that the revulsion the Delhi rape case has generated will affect the way Marathi and Hindi movies represent women on screen.

Idea for India
The Marathi movie directors will discover the Internet as a platform for distributing their movies. This is especially pertinent as more and more low budget movies are likely to come out.

— Achyut Vaze, playwright-director of Marathi experimental stage

Roll out social security for every citizen
Reflecting back
The year 2012 was a bad year for the Indian economy as there was recession. Growth forecasts were repeatedly revised downwards. The only positive step from the government’s side was the move to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector and that the Kelkar committee submitted its report on fiscal consolidation. The decision to allow FDI in retail was a much-needed one but should have been done six or seven years ago.

Forecast
As far as 2013 is concerned, I foresee a revival in the economy. The recession had started in 2008 and I think that by June 2013, there will be an upturn. The economy now operates in business cycles so after every five years, there should be a growth phase. The next boom may start in 2015-16.

Idea for India
The one big idea I have is to roll out social security for every citizen. The bill in this regard has been pending with the Parliament for the last five to six years but no political party seems to be interested in passing it.

— Rajas Parchure, Director, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics & Professor of Finance

The future of yoga is bright with people becoming health conscious
Reflecting back

I feel 2012 was overall a bad year with strife, conflicts and disturbances of various kinds. However, it was a good year for yoga as the interest in the discipline in India and elsewhere in the world rose. Despite other problems globally, interest in yoga has not been affected. The reason for it is that people are becoming more health conscious. Secondly, many people are suffering from various ailments and medicines are expensive, so they feel that yoga is the answer to their problems. People have realised that yoga is an inexpensive way of resolving their health problems.

Forecast
The future of yoga in 2013 is bright in my opinion. More people will show interest in it. I hope that 2013 will be a better year for the world.

Idea for India
My big idea is that every person must take care of his body, as the body is the prop of the soul. Every person should practice yoga to ensure his or her own good health, which is the foundation of his/her future.

— BKS Iyengar, founder of Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute

People must not lose hope under any circumstances
Reflecting back
In the past year, the positive aspect has been that people talked openly about mental health issues. Families where suicides have taken place are now coming to our NGO for counselling. In the past, mental health issues were swept under the carpet. Families affected by suicides would not come for counselling. Now, people from as far as Satara are coming forward and seeking counselling.

Forecast
In the year 2013, I foresee that there will be greater awareness about mental health problems and the need for counselling. People will realise that if there is someone who has a mental health problem, he or she should be helped and not blamed or ill-treated. There will also be more awareness that you have to change your own life for the better and not blame the circumstances or people around them.

Idea for India
My big idea is that people must not lose hope under any given circumstances. Even if they face problems, they should keep in mind that once problems are solved, life becomes beautiful.

— Arnavaz Damania, former president of Indian Women’s Hockey Federation and founder of Connecting-an NGO working to prevent suicides

The year 2013 will see many transformations in education
Reflecting back
The year 2012 has been about education as well as many other initiatives in the country. The past year witnessed the emergence of liberal education in the country. Many of the universities in seminars and conferences explored the possibilities of newer models of learning. Liberal education is one such model which focuses on holistic growth of the students. Liberal education focuses on knowledge, but multiple streams of knowledge. It focuses on domain knowledge but also on social, political and economic issues as well as cultural heritage. It focuses on the individual’s growth, emotional, personal, physical, intellectual as well as to provide an environment where he can grow as a wholesome human being, able to play multiple roles in multiple systems.

Forecast
The way education has been designed has taken the country this far. It has served its purpose and the meaning for which it was designed has reached a plateau. It is time it is restructured to make it relevant for the times and the generation for whom it is designed.
The year 2013 will see many transformations in the education as well as institutions of learning. Newer streams of knowledge will emerge and many more sectors of education will emerge. These institutions will recognise the transforming generation aspiring to receive much more than knowledge. India is witnessing a need for transformations in the educational institutions and the learning environment. In the years to come, curriculums will change, pedagogy of teaching will change, the nature of learning will change and the nature of relationship among teachers, students, parents and the workplace will undergo changes.

Idea for India
The shift which I see emerging is collaborative learning process of both teachers and students. Schools and colleges won’t just be a place to obtain degrees and become job-ready but also a place of growing up with values and perspectives on life and work. It will be essentially about learning as well as contribute and make a difference to the system. The world as it is emerging will require a more holistic approach towards education.

Indira Parikh, President, flame

Legislations brought will only help capitalist class
Reflecting back
As far as law is concerned, the biggest negative development in the past year was the agitation for the Lokpal. The Constitution is the basis for all laws in the country and the Lokpal is unconstitutional as it seeks to create a body which is more powerful than the three arms of government: legislature, executive and judiciary. The agitation for the Lokpal is also undemocratic because it was an attempt to force the government to pass a bill. The inclusion of the Lokayukta in the Lokpal Bill goes against the federal structure of the country.

Forecast
The general trend of legislations in the country is that the gap between the Constitution’s principles and the legislations themselves is growing. I foresee that this gap will become even bigger in 2013. Whatever legislations are brought in by the government will only help the capitalist class and businessmen. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail is a classic example of this.

Idea for India
My big idea for India is that the government must make laws aimed at making India a welfare state.

— BG Kolse Patil, former Bombay High Court judge

Legislations brought will only help capitalist class
Reflecting back
As far as law is concerned, the biggest negative development in the past year was the agitation for the Lokpal. The Constitution is the basis for all laws in the country and the Lokpal is unconstitutional as it seeks to create a body which is more powerful than the three arms of government: legislature, executive and judiciary. The agitation for the Lokpal is also undemocratic because it was an attempt to force the government to pass a bill. The inclusion of the Lokayukta in the Lokpal Bill goes against the federal structure of the country.

Forecast
The general trend of legislations in the country is that the gap between the Constitution’s principles and the legislations themselves is growing. I foresee that this gap will become even bigger in 2013. Whatever legislations are brought in by the government will only help the capitalist class and businessmen. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail is a classic example of this.

Idea for India
My big idea for India is that the government must make laws aimed at making India a welfare state.

— BG Kolse Patil, former Bombay High Court judge

People are now aware of the need for good governance
Reflecting back
The quality of governance saw a drastic decline during 2012. The quality of governance at all levels - including policing - nosedived. The positive aspect is that people are now increasingly becoming aware of the need for good governance. The two institutions that have done well in 2012 are the media and the judiciary. The changes in the future will happen only because of these two institutions. The root cause of poor governance is that those who govern have completely lost touch with reality. Most government expenditure is only on unproductive things.

Forecast
I doubt that the situation will improve in 2013. There may be a few reforms but these will be aimed at the 2014 polls and not for people’s welfare. They will be in the nature of a ‘band aid’ and will not have any major impact.
 
Idea for India
My big idea is that since citizens of India are now convinced that good governance is critical, they should elect a new bunch of politicians in the upcoming polls. All citizens, especially the urban middle class, should involve themselves in politics and stop seeing it as evil. They must become members of any enlightened political party. Celebrities must take the lead by joining such parties.

— RV Krishnan, Activist & Chairman, Business Development Bureau (BDB)

Global outlook for software services continues to be recessionary
Reflecting back
In the past 25 years, the IT industry has grown from strength to strength. Many young enthusiasts look at it as a major booster for job creation. The government understood this potential and IT-friendly policies were framed. The IT industry provided lifetime opportunity for wealth creation with a global footprint for an average middle-class youngster. All this was going fine and a catastrophe hit on February 28, 2012, with the Union Budget presentation. In the 2012 Union Budget, the government decided to withdraw all sops to the IT industry. This was followed by PMC/PCMC local government bodies who decided to withdraw all benefits offered to promote IT sector in Pune, despite recommended by Maharashtra IT Policy 2010. This development led to margins of most IT companies coming under pressure. The small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector is hit severely due to this cold shoulder approach. Pune University has initiated many dynamic reforms in its syllabus revision to reduce the gap between industry expectations and students’ capabilities. The MCA and MCM syllabi were changed in 2012 and many pathbreaking changes were implemented with Industry support.

Forecast
Global outlook for software services continues to be recessionary and I don’t think year 2012-13 will provide a superlative financial picture for IT sector in general. Niche-based skills and boutique companies with special offering (products and know-how) will continue to grow. Employment options will exist only for those who possess right skills (not degrees). Recruitment in anticipation in bulk (also called bench strength creation) will reduce. 

Idea for India
What nature is for Europe, what oil is to Middle East is what Youth is to India. Demographic dividend (for young India) can be encashed only if we are able to offer need- based skills with focus on vocational education to all students starting from standard VIII. From Right to Education we must move to ‘Right Education’. ‘Skills development for a global currency’ should be the only focus for us in the next decade. 

— Deepak Shikarpur, Co-chairman, IT committee (MCCIA), Chairman, Board of Studies (Computer Management), University of Pune

Pune needs to look at Ahmedabad to learn about city planning
Reflecting back
In 2012, urban development in Pune was completely chaotic and unplanned. It was driven by a handful of builders. The basic problem is that Pune has no urban development authority, whereas even small towns in neighbouring states like Guntur and Vizag have such an authority. This means that the government has no urban planning mechanism for the city. The Metropolitan Planning Committee is dysfunctional and does nothing. We cannot speak about urban development without the existence of an urban development authority.

Forecast
The private developers are creating too many malls, multiplexes and five-star hotels, that too mostly on the eastern side of the city. Some of them are likely to close in the near future as there isn’t sufficient demand for them. The only recreation spaces in the city now are malls. The credit card has now become a passport to citizenship in Pune. In 2013, there will be more ribbon development along the major highways. There will be nothing for the public like parks, gardens or beautification of the riverfront.

Idea for India
We must get serious about city planning and set up an urban development authority. Pune needs to look at Ahmedabad to learn about city planning.

— Christopher Benninger, Architect and Planner

The elderly should not be seen as a burden, but as an asset of society
Reflecting back
In my view, there were several negative and positive developments in the field of senior citizen rights. While both the state and central governments have formulated a policy for senior citizens, both the policies are still pending and are yet to be cleared. Another positive development is that the government of Maharashtra started implementing the Maintenance and Welfare of Senior Citizens and Parents Act from this year. The Union government has directed all the states to formulate their own policies for senior citizens, which is a good sign.

Forecast
I don’t think that the government is likely to take any steps for senior citizen’s welfare and rights in the new year. Though the government makes statements to this effect, it does not have the political will to do so. There are a number of schemes for senior citizens, but they come under different ministries and departments. Our demand is that all these must be brought under one ministry for effective implementation.

Idea for India
My idea is that the elderly should not be seen as a burden, but as an asset that can contribute to society.

— Sharadchandra Gokhale, president, International Longevity Centre


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