The school kids look for the chocolates they would get, the young fellas would throng the cinema halls, office goers want to take a day break and relax, and a vast majority would spend their time watching the varied entertainment programs aired in different T.V channels. A few portion of the population wake up to see the parade. Yeah, this is how the Independence day is celebrated in India.
This year we would be stepping on to the 60th year of Independence. 60 years is definitely a long time for a country to show prosperity across sectors. But what do we have India? At one side the booming IT (which is currently worried by the appreciating rupee!!), telecom, retail and real estate industries which increased the spending power of middle class. On the other side we still have farmers committing suicide, poors still don’t have access to basic needs, female infanticide, corruption at every level, states fighting for water, states in havoc due to floods, etc, etc…
Well, we would have a lot of things to complain right from the very traffic and transport systems to everything else in this country. At the same time we should be able to realize that we are free to complain at least. Currently the historic nuclear deal is the hot topic in the political system of the country. While the current security advisors, scientists of the country welcome the deal and support it one hundred percent, the retired scientists are against it. The left is totally against this and plans to storm the parliament in the winter session. This by all means is freedom, you are able to oppose one of the greatest decisions that is being taken in the country.
We are often compared with countries like China, Singapore, US and others to show the scale of development that has happened. If we take a closer look we are comparing a 1 billion populated country which is democratic, diverse and secular with countries which would fit in only one of these. China has the population but not democratic, US on the other hand doesn’t have the population to this larger scale.
India when we proudly claim with such attributes like democracy, diverse and secular is complex because of these very own attributes. When the Brits left the country and gave the freedom they also left back a corrupt bureaucrats which has spilled over decades and generations and is still prevalent. Right from the day one of independence the scenario has always been “Rich get richer; poor get poorer”. With opening up of the economy and all the booms this country is witnessing now, richer are just getting richest and the poor don’t have a way to go. The real estate prices are going uncontrolled, first it was Mumbai and then it slipped to Bangalore and now other metros are witnessing the new highs in this industry. So who is becoming rich? Definitely not the new home owners, they have their rest of their life slogging out to pay the EMIs. It is the real estate developers who are already rich. And government is still thinking of providing concrete houses for the poor.
Inflation went up to a record high and RBI had to take a lot of measures to keep the prices under control. It hiked up the CRR twice and the banks passed on the burden to its customers; the interest rates increased. Now the other worrying factor is the appreciating rupee!!! If the rupee appreciates we should be proud that we are getting better value for a rupee in the international market. But the boom that has happened was primarily driven by the IT sector which in turn depended heavily on software exports; a heavy dependency on the dollar to rupee conversion factor. Other exports including textile and pharma are also hit because of this.
When news like TATA acquiring a company (Corus) larger than its size and almost in the final phases of acquiring Jaguar would make us feel “Way to go India!!”, we also need to think that the reformation has to occur across various sectors of industries and people and the standard of living of the people has to come up. We need to have more innovation in the country which would drive a whole range of new products. Agriculture should not be a neglected sector where we need to industrialize more to increase the productivity. Energy needs would be of a prime concern for us and acquiring energy safety is the need of the hour. With increasing oil prices and the global warming a key issue to address we need to tap alternate sources of clean energy on a large scale. Some scientists now say that instead of investing heavily on the nuclear energy with this “123 agreement” India needs to invest on the alternate sources of energy like solar, wind, etc… That could be an interesting point for the decision makers to think considering the future.
Today in this flat world it is almost impossible for any country to develop and sustain without depending on others. The development that is happening in our country started with heavy dependency on the dollar prices as all the services that were off-shored were billed in dollars and same with all the exports too. While this is an advantage we could take as a launch pad, slowly we need have fuel to fly the rest of the journey. And that would be the in house innovation, engineering across all sectors. This would result in new range of products and should make the west to depend on us. We need to think really big and come out of this small circle. As of today we have a pretty young nation when compared to others with the average age below or around 30. But this would not be the case for ever. Soon we would have a population which cannot contribute in huge numbers to the economy as these people would get in to their retiring age.
Though we could say “Way to go!!” by looking at some of the reforms that is happening, in terms of becoming a super power, influencing economy with corruption less governance and better standard of living for a billion plus people we still have a long way to go…