Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort

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Opinion Watch

Newspapers mostly have come out with single editorials, as the Monday edition coincided with the 75th Independence Day celebrations.

The occasion brings pride and also make thinking minds reflect, and the mood has been captured by all the dailies.

The Time of India’s ‘The I in India’ Edit equates I for individual and I for institutions. The daily argued that the empowerment of the institutions will truly empower the individuals.

ToI very rightly stated that India went wrong with ‘I’, which accounted for India remaining a lower-middle-income country even after 75 years.

For almost 50 years, the country had no trust in the capability of the individuals. The Inspector Raj was unleashed on people.

But India has only partly gained freedom from self-restrictive babudom, and the daily argued that India still needs to embrace bold reforms since many of the institutions are badly run.

That’s true since the economy is still hamstrung by the coercive institutions such as income tax of India that treats every business man as a thief.

ToI takes note of the fact that by 2032 India will be the third largest economy after the U.S. and China, edging past Japan. But India must fix institutions.

The Hindu’s “A tryst with Past” Edit on the occasion reminded words of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru: “The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?”

The daily lists failures such as the “inability to eradicate extreme poverty and marginalization, the strains in implementing the constitutional order and values, burgeoning communal majoritarianism, the incomplete nature of decentralisation of power, and rising economic inequality”.

TH also lists challenges for India in the coming years, which include “chaotic world where cooperation and liberal trade relations have taken a beating and where climate change is a challenge; the emergence and consolidation of a dominant political force that seeks to centralise power and homogenise the idea of India”.

Bengaluru-based Deccan Herald argued that “the lapses and failures of the past 75 years should be recognised and corrected; democracy should not be weakened; the Constitution’s guarantee of liberty, equality and justice should be the guiding creed of the nation and the State”.

The Pioneer sought to put the debate in a context and argued in its Edit that despite all failures India story is that of a success.

“The very fact that India still has the same boundary and the same Constitution is comforting,” TP said in its editorial ‘India survives’.

This is indeed creditworthy since India’s neighbours Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China and many other countries are still rewriting their Constitutions.

TP also reminded that India has witnessed significant progress on social indicators such as per capital availability of foodgrains which from 127-145 kg in 1946 improved to 180.3 kg in 2018, while life expectancy which was just 31 years now stands at 70 years.

At USD 2300 per capita income, India ranks 144 in the world for the income level, which should be a cause of concern.

The pitch of the Edits on the momentous occasion of Independence Day is indeed on social, economic and institutional progress.

It must also be stated that while there had been an all-round institutional lapses, the media, the fourth pillar of democracy itself, is gasping for breath.

The destruction of the mainstream media has allowed social media platforms to twist narratives, peddle fake news and influence elections, besides fueling social discords.

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