'India in 2047 will be a participatory democracy'

New Delhi, Aug 24 : India will have "direct democracy" by 2047 which will rein in exploitation of countryside and its economy will be "increasingly automated" preying less on natural resources, a leading environmental thinker said Saturday.

Madhav Gadgil, an ecologist, environmental thinker and activist, said that there will be facilities for universal translation from all languages over the next three decades and literacy barrier will be lowered.

Delivering the 15th D. S. Broker memorial lecture on "An incorrigible optimist's vision of India 2047" at the India International Centre Saturday, Gadgil said that world will be continue to be moulded by largely technological progress in the coming years with many unexpected twists and turns.

"The global village of 2047 would be a world stripped of secrets that put at a disadvantage the bulk of the world's population," Gadgil said.

He said evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith had looked at major transitions in evolution and speculated that a coming transition would involve universal access to entire store of human knowledge.

"With development of technologies of rendering text to voice and voice to text, the literacy barrier is already being lowered. Well before 2047, there will be facilities for universal translation from all languages to all other languages," he said.

Gadgil said that with these developments, India's ecosystem people - those heavily dependent on the natural resources of their own surroundings, and India's ecological refugees - those cut off from access to their traditional natural resource base, but without access to the fruits of the technology based economy, will have overcome the two major barriers that keep them disempowered today.

"They will have adequate access to highly decentralized solar energy; they will also have total access to all relevant information," Gadgil said.

He said that global village of 2047 will be stripped of secrets and democracy will truly flourish in such a world.

"We will make a transition from today's flawed representative form towards a direct, a completely participatory democracy. With abolition of vote bank politics through direct democracy, politicians will no longer be continually stoking the fires of caste and communal discord and India will develop a harmonious, albeit highly diverse society," he said.

He said direct democracy will rein in the exploitation of India's countryside and India's ecosystem people by a technology based, increasingly automated economy "that is currently busy preying on natural resources that are the mainstay of sustenance of the vast majority of India's population."

He said with end to such exploitation, there will no longer be a place in India "for highly flawed forms of patronage" such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and Food Security Bill.

"Instead, true empowerment of people would bring prosperity to the natural resource based, labour intensive sector of the economy which will confer dignity and satisfying livelihoods on the bulk of India's population," he said.

Gadgil said India of 2047 will have a vibrant technology based economy. He said it will be highly automated and therefore employ only a small proportion of our vast population.

The D.S. Borker Lecture Series on "My Vision of India: 2047 A.D." was instituted in 1999. The lecture is held every year in the memory of D.S. Borker (1911-1979), civil servant and public sector administrator with the aim to strengthen secular democratic values and traditions and encourage the process of thinking regarding the kind of India people want in 2047 - a hundred years after Independence.

--IANS (Posted on 24-08-2013)

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