Wednesday, July 19, 2006
is India's future success - The Myth..?
recent article made me think is India's success story really Myth,,!? may be or may be NOT..
would recommend to read this before - Pankaj Mishra's "The myth of the new India" in The New York Times
While India is making significant strides in some areas thanks to opening up of its economy and a drastic change from a focus on agriculture and rural economy (an agenda of prior prime ministers) there is a lot that needs to be done. The current prime minister had been responsible for the economy change when he was the finance minister in an earlier administration.
One of the strongest things going for the India is its democracy "to the ultimate" - a country where it is possible to have a communist party take lead in some parts of India (something that cannot be dreamt in US). It is a democracy where the have-nots kick out technocrats in favor of communist party candidates - AND THAT IS TRULY DEMOCRACY!
Today, the strides made in India are focused on the educated elite - there is some trickle down affect - but not as much as desired. However these major strides have been in the past 16 years ONLY. What will the next 16 years bring about - I feel - A LOT. We have not given India enough time and one generation needs to pass before one can see significant changes at other levels.
There are still some remnant ills of past generations like, the caste system, poverty and poor distribution system - and not all have been fixed. But major strides are happening in all areas. Even
poor people see that their hope in a better life is in higher education, hence they are eager to give their children what they could not accomplish in terms of education. It will take a generation for those results to manifest. There is a VERY STRONG focus on education. Also notice
nobody seems to talk about hunger in India. That has a lot to do with the distribution infrastructure and tech.
Investment is pouring in from all parts of the world. "Hi-tech" was focused on service oriented jobs, and now that has changed and a lot and VCs from the silicon valley and Europe are investing in the country - and so are big corporations.
Focus of the country has moved to nuclear energy for obvious reasons. Electric car manufacturers (like Reva) are beginning to taking a foot hold as well. India will be more nuclear than US because that is the only hope. I feel India is on the right track... give it time... it could end up
exceeding China in the next generation.
When you hear about "hi-tech" in India, one thing that you do not hear about is "hi-tech" investment by the country in military. India will become a major power in economy AND military might.
Somethings to watch out for wrt India, will be its military might and to some extent Hindu fundamentalism. Why I say this, because ultimate power can bring about arrogance.
if you thinks Hindu fundamentalism, even though a weakling must be kept in check - and I feel it is under check for now. I don't expect Hindu fundamentalism ever taking a significant foot hold in India. Here is my hope: Hindu fundamentalists do get riled up because of other religions like Christianity and Islam trying to convert. Hindus do not have a branch in the religion that focuses on 'conversion to Hinduism' and that irritates many folks. The saying goes in Hinduism - "we do not want to or are even willing to convert you to Hinduism- don't do that to our people". One good thing going for Hinduism is its basic tolerance to other religions. Thanks to "Pantheism" they will worship any god of any other religions like Jesus Christ etc.
Should not surprise you that the Prime Minister is Sikh and the President is Muslim. Democracy and tolerance again. India narrowly missed getting a Christian prime minister.
There is a lot going on in defense technology. I would not be surprised it India is not working on Cruise missiles and Missile interceptors. They have neighbors that have not been very friendly in the north and the east.
Today, Indians are more free in India than Americans in US. You want Viagra you are free to get it without remorse or feel the the strong arm of a police state. Your life is not an open book to the
government like it is in US. Your finances are not 100% in the face of electronic tracking. I presume 50% of the economy does not show up on any books. It has its ills. Lack of proper taxation leads to
poor infrastructure. Flip side - the underground economy in completely legitimate products is capitalism to its ultimate.
My take: Give India another 20 Years. Many ills will be taken care of. It is a very good time for US to partner with India. India will not, ever be like China, a country to fear. It will be a very strong country, and will remain friendly and open.
India has a lot going for it in the realm of higher education.
It should not surprise you that the highest rated engineering school in the world is IIT and the highest rated Management school is IIM. Both tougher to get into than MIT and Wharton. Medical schools like AIIMS and CMC Vellore are not household names yet in US but they
are names to watch, both with extremely tough standards. But these are schools you hear about. There are other schools as well, may not be as the well known, but still producing good
human resources and in fairly good volume.
Give it time (and not too much either) India will surprise you and very fast.
India, with its rich culture, strong economy, friendliness and openness will be a country to envy.