If we are all individuals who think intelligently, who think dispassionately, who use data and facts to argue, who are patriotic… then how can we be against any policy that makes this a better country; …. So, it is all about petty issues that make our governments less effective. I don’t believe that coalition governments cannot perform. Well, they can. It is possible…
On Ideas and Implementation:
The Indian society is a society of ideas. It is a society that has revered talk. In this society, articulation is mistaken for accomplishment. We are quite satisfied with our voice, with our writings. This is not a society that is focussed on execution. Frankly, the problem is due to our caste system and the dominance of Brahmins in our society for long period. The Brahminical system said my job is to think of the higher worlds. My job is to think of connecting you people with God. I don’t want to do anything that has a relationship with the real world. Now that is a problem that has played havoc with the Indian culture. So, here in this culture, if you do anything with your hands, it is considered less honourable that anything to do with your brain.
When I was small, my father used to give me jaggery and neem on Ugadi day — the New Year day. We would try and throw out neem away and eat only the jaggery. He would not allow it.
He would make us sit in front of him on the floor — we had no furniture then — and he would say the reason why you are eating neem and jaggery with equanimity is because you are saying that in the coming year there will be some good and some not-so-good events, and you will face both these with equanimity.That is one message that our elders have to communicate to the youngsters: that bad times will pass; they will come from time to time, but they will pass.Bad times are the times when we have to show our hard work, our determination and our talent.
When you are on an accelerated growth path, you have to energize the whole country, unify the whole country. You need the efforts of everybody, belonging to every caste, every class. You cannot afford to discriminate against any particular group of individuals, and that is why I believe secularism is important.Secularism is not about forgetting who you are; secularism is about saying I will respect you for what you are and that we will take all decisions without considering what religion you belong to. That is secularism. Secularism is not about not saying I am a Hindu. I am a Hindu, I am proud to be a Hindu, I do my pooja everyday, but the relationship between me and my God is a personal affair at home and it is not something I bring out into the public and I will not use religion as the basis for any decision-making or any discussion.
You know I am of the opinion that the primary objective of the government in a country like India is making sure that there is efficient delivery of basic services, like primary education, primary healthcare, nutrition, and shelter to the poor people. I don’t think corporations should expect the government to put money and help them out.
On Physical infrastructure:
You know the record of public private partnership PPP in India has not been very good. I do agree that we need better infrastructure and that we should not put the entire burden on the public exchequer.But if all political parties come together and say whatever contracts are signed with the private parties will be honoured, no matter whether government ‘A’ or ‘B’ is in control. That is needed. That will raise the confidence of the private party that their contract will indeed be honoured and then they can take more risks: they can take huge bank loans, they can put up front money.
What do you mean we are not a country of doers? How do you think we grew to billion people?