Nehru may have lost his heroic sheen, but his dream of modernity is intact
There is much significant symbolism, and on the flip side tokenism, in the launch of the unique identification cards and numbers to 10 people in the tribal hamlet of Tembhil in Maharashtra on Wednesday by prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
It is not surprising then that Singh wanted to take credit for his government’s effort to use technology as a means to achieve growth goals.
Of course, for Singh development means giving people, especially the poor, access to technology which they then can use to access government’s many welfare schemes, but also to take society as a whole on the path of technology-driven progress.
This is very different from the socialist and populist goals of development that the Congress party has in mind. Gandhi harped exactly on this aspect. She spoke of how the UID or ‘Aadhaar’, its official soubriquet, will ensure ‘inclusive growth’.
She did not lose the opportunity to remind the people of the party’s Nehru-Gandhi legacy. She said that this measure was indeed the fulfillment of Rajiv Gandhi’s dream of taking India into the 21st century.
Governments and political parties are justified in claiming credit for the little good they manage to accomplish and which is far outweighed by the innumerable blunders they make in implementing policies and programmes.