Recently, I was in the US for some work-related purposes. Having stayed in Chicago, a few things quickly grabbed my attention. While I was certainly in awe of all the buildings that were the result of Donald Trump’s genius (the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago being one of them), I couldn’t help but notice how the rest of Chicago was largely lagging behind when it came to infrastructure. There were bridges that were rusting and falling apart, abandoned factories that resembled ghost towns and roads that weren’t well maintained at all. Considering the pride President Trump, and America itself for that matter, takes in its infrastructure, I found it incredibly ironic to see one of the largest and most popular cities in the States not being up-to-the-mark vis-à-vis government infrastructure.
Now let’s contrast this to the recent developments that have been made by our own Government and, in particular, the honourable Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, shri Nitin Gadkari. Recently, he raised the bar for developers of the 10,000-crore Eastern Peripheral Expressway, announcing that commuters would be able to effortlessly drive at the speed of 150 Km/h without having to face any hurdles on the road. In fact, he even said that driving on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway is going to be so smooth that one could pour themselves a cup of tea and not spill a single drop, despite the car being driven at a speed as high as 150 Km/h. Additionally, he also said that the NHAI will consider adding a layer of bitumen on concrete highways to prevent tyre bursts and crashes, as is the case with some road stretches abroad, in a bid to make expressways and highways safer for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and other vehicle users.
There’s a great sense of irony in what’s happening in the world right now. While on one hand Donald Trump stresses on enforcing an ‘America First’ and a ‘Make in America’ policy, all the while major cities in his country have areas that are being shoddily maintained. Meanwhile, the Indian Government continues to make new strides in different sectors including, but not limited to, health, railways, roadways and urban development. But it’s not just the irony that I’m trying to highlight here - this is also another strong sign that it’s not time we too took a cue from Mr. Trump and decided to implement a ‘India first’ and ‘Make in India’ policy in ALL sectors.
The need for adopting a preferential market access policy could not be stressed enough. We’ve already proven that we are more than capable of developing this country on our own, so why not take things a notch further and implement the PMA policy that will promote homegrown talent and not limit their opportunities at the expense of international organizations? After all, shouldn’t our priority be towards our own citizens first? Additionally, enforcing this policy will help ward off concerns about product quality and security, will help reduce the balance of payments deficit in electronics and perhaps most importantly, will help create new employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector.
In closing, I’d just like to make one crucial point – In a time and age when the world around is constantly becoming more self-centered, with nations (Be it the post-Trump USA or the post-Brexit United Kingdom) electing to put their interests above globalized politics and policies, there’s no reason why a potential superpower like ours should stay behind and not look out for our own best interests.
आशायाः ये दासाः ते दासाः सर्वलोकस्य ।
आशा येषां दासी तेषां दासायते लोकः ॥
(Those who are the slaves of 'desire' are slaves of the entire world. But world itself is the slave of those to whom 'desire' is a slave.)