The Seeds of the Future


So much time and energy are being expended in discussing and commenting on what’s gone wrong with the management of the Covid situation in the country as well as with regard to other issues – the government’s suspect (and ill-advised) actions to curtail free speech through the amendments brought to the IBA Act, the earlier inclusion of our jurisdiction onto the FATF grey list and the recent inclusion of Mauritius by France in its ‘scarlet’ category of high-risk Covid destination gleefully commented by local commentators as a ‘well-deserved slap’ to the country’s boasts about its Covid-safe status, etc – that we seem to be losing sight of the fundamental priorities of the country.

The end of the year, just three weeks away, is usually the time when we should be reflecting on where we stand and which course we might best steer for the benefit of the population in the years ahead.

The seeds of the future are very often sown in the present, and it may take years of dogged policy pursuits, not a single one, to define the grounding on which our development should rest. Development not equated only with sheer GDP growth, which is a poor indicator in any case, but that which ensures that the fruits of our common efforts are shared in an equitable manner across the entire population in the matter of access to housing, food, education, healthcare, etc. One of the key expectations from any government is that it ensures through its key policy decisions a good balance so that we do not end up pandering to the unlimited demands for comfort of the few who are well off, neglecting those for whom even the daily struggle for a decent standard of living is too tough. The focus should therefore be on equitable development more than on growth.

If there is another fundamental change that we need to promote, it’s a strong dose of governance in small matters as in big. Absence of governance is evident from the scandals that have littered our recent history, as well as various irresponsible statements which persons in authority, make in public on political platforms or in Parliament, as if the mere fact of wielding some form of power gives them the licence to drag down those not in their camps to the lowest levels. We need to groom up future leaders of society who have the brains and the wisdom to tolerate differences instead of wielding insult on every other occasion they are contradicted. This will give our society a poise and balance that we all deserve.

We have been accumulating serious deficits in various domains and hence putting ourselves at a disadvantage when it comes to taking a serious leap into the future. Politicians will no doubt concentrate on how best to preserve themselves in power or to catapult themselves onto the power platform. The bigger imperative for the country is to keep its head above water when it comes to its economic survival. Maintaining our competitiveness, sustaining employment, reducing poverty and stabilising prices should therefore override political quests for power and such things which are peripheral to those central economic and social pursuits.

* Published in print edition on 7 December 2021

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