EFFORTS MUST TO RESTORE IT
By Dr. Manmohan Kapur
New Delhi, May 15, 2009
In the long history of this planet, the arrival of the
Industrial Revolution (1775) produced profound effect on the
meaning of progress and life of the people. It set into motion
a competitive growth games’ season between nations. During the
same period, the earth’s population burden grew from 900
million to 6.5 billion. In the past 30 years there has been an
increase of 2 billion people. This large population is being
sustained through growth economics and exploitation of the
earth's resources which remain finite.
However, today confidence is a recurring theme coming up in
our discourse repeatedly. Many articles discuss market
confidence as a subject, focused on economic analysis and so
also both consumer and investor confidence. However, public
confidence in the State and governance is the basic
prerequisite, if any confidence is to return to the other
areas of human activity.
Public confidence is based on perceptions of citizens of the
changes in the world around them, in particular the
performance of governance in the field of public affairs and
human welfare. Confidence as an entity is intangible and
evanescent, but if based in your mind, it has a powerful
effect on your behavior and actions. It is the direct outcome
of actions (inaction's) of Government and other diverse public
entities that influences your life and living space.
Though impalpable, confidence is lodged in your mind and
affects all your responses in the material world. It colors
your perceptions of all subsequent events, and induces
tranquility and self confidence. Indeed, abiding faith, hope,
and expectations are the internalized contours of confidence.
It sustains an internal coolness, balance, and
imperturbability of the mind.
Thus, the core qualities that create this confidence are
perceived fidelity, reliance, trust, and credibility in
governance and transparency of functions of service providers,
and the Corporates. Once lodged in your mind, it is difficult
to dislodge this confidence. However, it can dissipate over
time when there are recurring events that induce negative
change in the life and living space of citizens.
Lack of confidence has been observed worldwide. Today, markets
are stagnant and people have come out on to the streets in
protest even in the developed nations. Among the recent events
observed were the vote for change in the US and street
demonstration against bailouts, and protests in Greece, the
UK, France, Iceland, Thailand and Madagascar. In South East
Asia, insurgencies and wars of ethnic independence are in
progress and unabated acts of terrorism are an every day
event. In Africa, the struggle for order in tribal societies
has led to brutal tribal wars transforming into genocidal
For the realistic, these are all evidence of dissatisfaction
and loss of confidence in the current order and dispensation.
The underlying cause for urgency and anxiety among citizens is
the observed environmental effects on human living space.
Clean air, water, and food are scarce and expensive. Climate
change affects all in different ways. Floods, melting ice
caps, rising sea levels, and droughts are only some of the
disasters known to us all. Thus, life is under threat and the
dooms-day scenario seems real.
Citizens through access to media are aware that many of their
woes are related to the pursuit of unlimited economic growth.
In fact, they are convinced that the ever-
increasing economic growth paradigm is faulty and
unsustainable. Yet it is the unrelenting pursuit of all
The past year, the citizens have learned of the downturn in
markets of the world, to say in some countries recession has
arrived. Banks are almost the four letter word and faith,
hope, confidence in financial institutions is waning. They
have also observed that the political leadership in countries,
in both hemispheres, has opted out of non-profit areas of
citizen’s welfare (health, education). The prevailing wisdom
that has guided them (the leaders) is “that if it makes a
profit it must be the right path”. This has lead large numbers
of citizens to conclude that this is a similar set of values
as held by CEO’s of Corporate Houses. Sadly, the social
content of governance has decreased.
The above has been a major cause of loss of public confidence.
There has also been an observed rise in the numbers of the
‘very rich’ and the ‘very poor’ in the world. Thus, equity in
governance is called into question, leading to plummeting of
confidence. If confidence is to be reinstalled, a two-pronged
intervention must be adopted.
One, we need bail outs for financial institutions as survival
packages in the short and medium term. Two, for the long term
we need a major input in security of life and property of
citizens, health-care and universal standard education for
all. Thus, it is through these efforts, which have a social
agenda that we must wait for return of confidence. Clearly,
public confidence is crucial for the retail investor to
In India, the infrastructure for health care and education
already exists in form of schools and 22,000 Primary
Healthcare Centres and 4,400 district hospitals. But the
Government needs to provide resources to full staffing and
supplies for patient care. The PHC must be linked to district
hospitals for backup, upgrade of knowledge and skills. Only
then will these inputs convert the low-performing assets into
high-performing service units.
Likewise, security agencies need to change their mindset from
the existing disaster management role, to a more proactive
disaster prevention agenda. This requires major inputs in
creation of a high technology intelligence gathering
organization, linked to a new counter terrorism unit for quick
and effective preventive action.
The environment damage and climate change can be mitigated by
firm adherence to reduction of carbon footprint in our
development effort. The scientific community can use its
ingenuity to achieve our development goals within these
parameters. This will require a larger investment in renewable
energy research and product development through use of
indigenous material and manpower. The use of house top solar
photovoltaic cells, for domestic consumption of energy will
reduce load on the national grid, and cut transmission losses.
However, all these efforts may require subsidy. But, at the
end of the day confidence is bound to return. Only if the
citizen is convinced that Governments are working in the
interest of the Aam Aadmi, both here and around the globe. ---INFA
(Copyright India News & Feature Alliance)