µniverse and Bharatverse: Web3 Explorations (Part 21)

Bharatverse – 1

As the election season once again plays out in India, the politicians are up to the same games: switching parties, muzzling media, uniting their core with dog whistles, and splurging money to buy votes. There is no discussion on how a party once in power will shut down the government-created anti-prosperity machine that has plagued India through the past 75 years. How will the massive surplus of Indians move away from agriculture to better jobs in manufacturing and services? How will they become upwardly mobile? How will the education system be reformed and freed from government interference? How will the discretionary powers that politicians and bureaucrats have be limited so that corruption can be eliminated, and individuals and businesses get the freedom they need to create a better tomorrow? Caste and religion dominate the conversation, as has been the case through the decades. The economic pain and the path to prosperity is on nobody’s radar. Political power is the endgame, not the means for a new direction for India.

Indian Express wrote recently: “In a trend unprecedented since economic liberalisation, the annual income of the poorest 20% of Indian households, constantly rising since 1995, plunged 53% in the pandemic year 2020-21 from their levels in 2015-16. In the same five-year period, the richest 20% saw their annual household income grow 39% reflecting the sharp contrast Covid’s economic impact has had on the bottom of the pyramid and the top.”

Praveen Chakravarty added: “30 million people queued up in November 2021 to ask for work at paltry minimum wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). It is a good reflection of India’s labour market since only those desperately in need of income, demand work. In essence, 15 times more people in penury are pleading for minimum wage work than the total number of people employed by all startups in India combined.”

Andy Mukhejee wrote: “200 million jobs are missing from the economy…Two years of Covid-19 have deepened the dichotomy in India’s production networks. Informal activity, which supports 90% of jobs, was under pressure to come into the fold of taxation and social security even before infections and lockdowns. Since March 2020, it has retreated into a shell. Organized activity has stepped into the breach and lifted output back to pre-pandemic levels, though not yet to its previous growth path. The revival of jobs is proving to be even more challenging because the same output can be produced in the formal sector with less labor. Hiring is muted outside of a few white-collar pockets like computer software. For India’s employment-to-population ratio to be at the global average, nearly 600 million people need to be at work. Currently, only a little more than 400 million are.”

For Indians to experience real freedom and irreversible prosperity, there is a need to look beyond the politicians and their parties. India needs a people’s revolution that brings in new rules, and not just replace rulers. This is where we need to think Nayi Disha, United Voters of India, Web3, and Bharatverse.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.