Monday, September 03, 2012

How mid-career IAS validated India's future: muddling along or falling apart?

India, Which Way?
AHEAD of the finalization of the 12th Plan document, the government in July this year came out with a report called “Scenarios: Shaping India’s Future” where three possible future scenarios were analyzed. Will India be “muddling along”, or “falling apart”, or will we witness what it calls Flotilla Advances where a flotilla of ships is well-coordinated with better communications systems among ships? In other words, the third scenario is the ideal future for India where federal governance system is well-oiled and it functions smoothly like the flotilla of a number of well-coordinated ships. As the report says these three scenarios are validated among others by mid-career IAS officers from across the country, who understand ground realities. Here are the three scenarios of India’s future:
Scenario 1
If India’s diverse sections, like caste, religion, class etc., are imagined as ships in a flotilla on a sea which is often rough, the Scenario 1, termed in the report as “muddling along”, will be like this: The flotilla will like to move faster but is slowed down because the ships are unable to keep together. Here the commodore of the flagship ship is not communicating well with the captains of the individual ships. It is a situation in which India is crying for reforms and some reforms are initiated. But those are piece-meals. Small enterprises are sought to be encouraged but agenda of big business dominates. Yet, the flotilla of ship is somehow moving ahead!
Scenario 2
In Scenario 2, named “falling apart”, ships are colliding with each other. It’s because the communication among the commodore of the flagship and captains of the individual ships is not adequate. Some captains of individual ships are thinking themselves to be superior to others and even to the commodore. So, ships are often sailing towards different directions. In a calm sea, it is still working, but when the sea gets turbulent, the flotilla falls apart. In other words, it is a situation in which India remains firmly centralized where redistribution of wealth is taking place through hand-outs and subsidies. The impatience and political logjam are so intense that some factions are threatening to disassociate themselves from India’s political union.
Scenario 3
Finally, the third scenario which the report terms as “The Flotilla Advances”. Here the flotilla of ships is well-coordinated with better navigation and communications systems. The captains of the ships and the commodore of the flagship are consulting regularly. They have created a system whether there is a consensus in which direction the flotilla of ships should move. The crew of individual ships are empowered to innovate new ways to speed up. And new ideas from one ship are transmitted to another. That is improving the ability of all ships to sail faster.
As the report says, this is the ideal scenario for India. Here federal governance system, local institutions and small enterprises are nurtured and those grow effectively. “Livelihood opportunities along with community based solution and enterprises for addressing environmental issues, are seen to be sprouting”, the report says.


  1. Great story. Can't believe that the government has produced such a report.

  2. Nothing is impossible in india. They create rules and also break rules. Career Assessments