Millennials” is a term used to refer to the cohort of people who were born between 1981 and 2004. These “Millennials” are babies of the Economic Boom. Hence, they have been a witness to the seminal shift in economic and social order that marked the arrival of the new Millennium. The Millennials of India have been eyewitness to the paradigm shift – From socialistic India to the “New order” of the economy. I am one of them. The GDP was a smiling figure. And soon, the per capita Income of people, purchasing power, all went up.

And I often reflect upon those days when our parents would carry a cloth bag while stepping out. The great invention called “plastic covers” were yet to arrive. The cloth bags were simply improvised out of some leftover pieces of cloth.

Those were the days when errands were on foot or cycle. I remember how I ran down to that street-end shop for those quick-fixes or for the last-minute requirements of the kitchen. The bikes, scooter and cars (then a luxury) were reserved for long distances. Today, a household of reasonable income has 2 -3 bikes, and a middle-higher income household have two cars – may be of different types – a Sedan and an SUV to suit the fancies of different occasion. Air pollution? Who cares?

Those were the days of minimalism. Need based. Furniture, Fridge, TV, shoes, bags, all & sundry. Today, choose your mood-matching shoes. Wanna – match your tie with the colour of your eyes? It is all in your wardrobe. Never mind the damn polyurethane in landfills, river, and the ozone.

Oh yes, how can we forget the smart phones, and their not-so-smart ancestor- the desktops and laptops. The retirement age of these smart cookies is on an average 1 year. Never mind those e-debris adorning all our street-sides, footpaths, landfills, lakes. Digital world after all!

Clearly, all is not well! While the new economic system has brought lot of cheer to the world, a thing or two need to be introspected. Can we stop for a second when we want to buy, and think “Do I need it, or am I buying simply because I can own”? Can we stop for a second, just before throwing away, and think “Has its utility being consumed fully or optimally? Before disposing a thing, can we stop and ask “Is this responsible (recyclable) way of disposing?” May be, it is time for reviving some of the “consumption values” of socialistic India. The conservation of our planet may well get out of her hands. It’s a small wonder that June 2019 was the driest month in 100 years.

– By Rohini Divakar, IRS. Currently posted as the Additional commissioner of Income Tax, (Investigation) Chennai, Rohini is the ex-officio secretary of the Regional Economic Intelligence Council (REIC). It is a premiere Economic Intelligence body that ultimately reports to the Finance Minister of India. The REIC Chennai, under her leadership, was ranked amongst the top 3 REICs all over India, in terms of the Actionable Intelligence that it generated that were significant in detecting – both – economic offences and offences that had a bearing on national security.