Opinion: 2024 Is Poised To Be A Year Of Renewal, And Let Us Celebrate That

According to The Economist's calculations, over four billion people in 76 countries are set to cast their votes in 2024 to elect governments.

Opinion: 2024 Is Poised To Be A Year Of Renewal, And Let Us Celebrate That

According to The Economist's calculations, over four billion people in 76 countries are set to cast their votes in 2024 to elect governments. It states that populous countries like Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States will have elections in 2024.

This is a remarkable coincidence, but the team at The Economist seems less enthused. They observe: "More people will vote in 2024 than in any previous year. But this great march to the ballot box does not necessarily mean an explosion of democracy." Instead of embracing the convergence of this global democratic carnival, the magazine opines that "2024 will be stressful for those who care about liberal democracy."

Democratic renewal of the kind we have not seen before

While I admire the audacity of some intelligent individuals sitting in a London office and offering their insights to the world, my humility reminds me not to dismiss the collective wisdom of a staggering four billion people. It is not my place to question the innate intelligence of voters. They have the right to make their choices, and who are we to challenge their preferences in the name of a flawed construct called "flawed democracies".

To me, an election is about engagement. It involves the pledges that parties make to voters, recognizing the importance of people at its core. It signifies a transition from the old to the new and a renewal of commitments, government structures, policy frameworks, and the engagement between people and government.

While some may have the audacity to despair at such a large-scale renewal, I do not share that sentiment. I wholeheartedly support the celebration of democratic renewal in 2024 on an unprecedented scale, and that is precisely the kind of optimism I eagerly anticipate as we await the arrival of the New Year.

In India, we are gearing up for the largest event of all-the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for April-May 2024. Additionally, key states such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, and possibly Jammu & Kashmir will hold elections. Regardless of the outcome (current indications suggest a one-sided election in favour of the Modi regime in New Delhi), India will move one step closer to its dream of achieving a $30 trillion economy.

Interest rate cuts across the world

A year marked by numerous elections will also witness another record, one not seen in 14 years. According to The Wall Street Journal, "With inflation crumbling around the globe, Bank of America strategists project 152 global central bank rate cuts next year, the most since 2009."

Interest rates cuts in 152 countries! This prospect is enough to bring a smile to even the most pessimistic observers of the economy. It is no wonder that Goldman Sachs is confidently asserting that the global economy will perform better in 2024 than many expect, with India retaining its title as the fastest-growing large economy.

Amidst the prevailing optimism fuelled by the grand-scale democratic renewal and declining credit costs worldwide, a note of caution emerges as the impact of climate change becomes increasingly evident in our lives. June of this year was the warmest on record, and some days in July recorded the highest temperatures ever. Dire predictions loom for 2024-it is projected to be even hotter than 2023, with global temperatures expected to surpass 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Furious climate change nightmare unfolding

The significance of the 1.5-degree Celsius target cannot be overstated; repeated breaches will have catastrophic consequences. If such breaches occur in the coming years, we must be prepared to bear a heavy price. The other side of this challenge is the significant investment in green technology and the raw materials that power it, a process already underway worldwide and poised to accelerate. This offers a silver lining amidst the chaos induced by climate change, which continues to unfold at frequent intervals across the globe.

What is heartening is the kind of decisive stand India has taken on this count. Even as India and many other developing countries have gone the extra mile on green transition, what is worrying is vacillation and double-speak by the developed countries. Hope better sense prevails in 2024.

When I look at the key events of 2024, I am more optimistic than ever because we are better equipped to handle challenges coming our way. While occasional geopolitical flare-ups may occur, the global system has developed a remarkable capacity to contain them locally.

As I bid farewell to the year that marked a period of recovery after the pandemic-induced hardships, I am confident that the year ahead will be one of renewal and consolidation.

The year 2023 started on a sombre note in India. There was a sense of gloom with geo-political tensions and spiking inflation. The end, however, has been the exact opposite of that. There is an unprecedented consensus on a 'we will do it' theme. Regardless of the challenges ahead, there is a seamless flow of collective energy ever eager for a big leap.

Let us all pledge to be at the forefront of democratic renewal and the resulting advancements. And let us all celebrate the impending India moment.

Wishing you all a very happy new year.

(Sanjay Pugalia is the CEO & Editor-in-Chief, AMG Media Network)

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.