1. Man’s needs are unlimited. This is true of any century. However, every century has its own characteristics and needs. 18th century needed an Industrial Revolution. The 19th century wanted freedom from uncertainty created by loss of religious faith and inability to shake hands with scientific spirit. The 20th century suffered two world wars and felt relieved with the cessation of cold war between the super powers —the USA and the USSR. The beginning of the 21st century itself demands a lot of things from every one of us. So, first of all we have to keep an open mind to understand the needs of the century, into which we have stepped in.
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2. The first problem of humanity, more than food, is security. Unfortunately man has been feeling more and more insecure day by day. The fear of war, which to some extent subsided with the disintegration of the USSR, is still lurking in fundamentalism and the growth of mafia gangs. So, international cooperation is necessary to check the terrorists and mafia. Further, a more sincere attempt is needed to reduce the armaments all over the globe.
3. Democratic form of government proved to be the best form of government in the 20th century. The 21st century has to put it in practice and see that all the governments in the world behave democratically and there should be no domination, either political or economic, of any big brother like the USA.
4. Institutions like World Health Organization (WHO), World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank should be given prominence. The need of the century is to develop the poorer countries, whom these organizations support. We may dream of a single currency in the world taking cue from Euro.
5. The concept of global village has come into existence in the place of Imperial British Empire where the Sun never set. Development of computers and communication network changed the face of the earth. Distance has no meaning in this century except in science. Even inter stellar spaces too ceased to surprise because of the developments in Space Science. So we need to explore into newer worlds in the 21st century.
6. The fields of Management and commerce are likely to take a pride of place and there is need to develop the manpower equipped with appropriate skills. Strengthening international trade is necessary to develop nations.
7. Psychology is an infant science born to Physics and Philosophy. It has to take great strides in the 21st century delving deep into the human psyche to relate Physics and Philosophy.
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8. Naturalism or returning to nature is also the need of the century. In the name of civilization, we have been distancing ourselves from nature and natural products. It is not only the synthetics on our bodies that are artificial, our smiles and behaviour too became artificial to some extent. Choosing herbal products, instead of synthetics, will have to be taken up in a big way in the 21st century. Consequently preservation of nature and restoring lost forests should be taken care of.
9. The water table is going down gradually at many places and it is said that water may be the cause of wars in future. So, conservation of water is more necessary than conservation of energy sources like petrol.
Having gone through some of the global needs of the century now let us look at the needs of India in the new century.
1. In India the greatest need of the century is poverty alleviation. This is possible through development of industry and thereby creation of employment. But unfortunately we rely more on so called welfare schemes and subsidizing prices of goods which are unproductive. Adopting modern techniques in water management like drip irrigation and by developing refrigeration and air conditioning we can conserve and export our agricultural and horticultural products. If India is to grow into an economic power in the 21st century, we should develop scientific research in pure and applied sciences to aid agriculture and industry and our exports should grow to bridge the trade gap.
2. Developments in the fields of computers and communication systems have given an edge to India, over all the other countries in the world. It is a matter of pride that a majority of the computer personnel in the USA are Indian, and a majority among the Indian experts is from Andhra Pradesh. The Telugu Pride Satya Nadella has been elected chairman of Microsoft. Our people have high adaptability and remain at the top though new things like Artificial Intelligence and Robotics came into existence. As India goes digital we need more and more computer personnel with updated skills. So is the case with management experts
3. Because of liberalization of Indian economy since 1991, there has been a gradual tilt from seller’s market to buyer’s market. This is a welcome change. We know that the prices of many electronic items have gone down and there is greater competition in the market which makes the customer a king. The same thing has to spread to all other goods in the 21st century.
4. Information revolution and things like e-mail, internet, e-governance, video conferencing have changed the functioning of the government. There is more transparency. But we have made only a beginning and have to go a long way, in the years to come. Hardware too will have to be developed with software.
5. Apart from different branches of Engineering, certain courses like Fashion Designing, Catering Technology, Refrigeration and Air conditioning, Genetics, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Medical Transcription, Soft Skills, Advertising, and Modelling have bright prospects compared to traditional courses and pure sciences. Service sector in computers will benefit most and needs to be developed.
6. Fundamentalism and terrorism have grown to alarming proportions in India, and lack of serious political will to curb them, is the main reason for that growth. Corruption among politicians and in turn officials has become rampant. People in general and particularly those at high places have become so selfish that it is hard to believe that the very same society fought with British, sacrificing their cloths, jobs, careers etc, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Writers should create an awareness among public about the state of affairs and make people rededicate themselves for the country to develop it and there by themselves. The morale of the public should result in good work culture in the new century. Then only politicians will stop politicizing every issue and think about people’s welfare.
7. Development of Human Resources is a great necessity as the society is going from specialization to further specialization. Regular and periodic updating of knowledge is essential. Tomorrow’s need is more skill and entrepreneurship than getting capital.