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Are leaders born or made? How we need to envision public leadership schools

On 13th March 2017, Shri Manohar Parrikar stepped down as the Defence Minister of India, only to take oath as the Chief Minister of Goa the next day. The Ministry of Defence was passed on to Shri Arun Jaitley, who was already heading the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Corporate Affairs at that time. In Goa, the potential allies insisted that they would extend support to the BJP, only if Parrikar was brought back from Delhi. A well-performing Defence Minister had to resign since the State needed a deserving Chief Minister. Both Shri Parrikar and Shri Jaitley are no more with us today and have left a void which is hard to fill. In a country of 1.3 billion people, it is hard to find leaders of immaculate character and calibre who can hold public positions of responsibility. This void exists not just at the top, but at all levels - from panchayat to parliament, from villages to cabinet secretariat, from primary schools to universities. This vacuum has held our country back when it is time to grow by leaps and bounds.


It is time to fill the public leadership vacuum in India in primarily three domains of public life. We need thought leaders to infuse fresh ideas and solutions that work in the Indian context. We need social leaders who introduce these ideas and solutions at the ground level for the betterment of communities. And, we need political leaders who represent the will of the people, put the nation above self, and scale ideas across the length and breadth of the country for its development. There is a dearth of all three types of leaders today. For far too long, we have left the destiny of our nation to chance. We have hoped that an inspired leader will emerge from somewhere and show us a way out. With the emerging crises caused due to complex societal issues like poor quality of education, climate change, poverty, migration, inclusive development, public health, urbanisation, there is an urgent need for systematic creation of public leadership which will guide India to its future.


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