Saturday, October 11, 2008

Indian Transformation - An Eventful Period

India is in a hurry. It has to catch up and keep its tryst with destiny.

India is also a place where chaos reigns supreme. Chaos made all the more intense with deep rooted transformation in progress. I say “in progress” because this “wave of change” that commenced about two decades back in slow and unsteady steps has begun to assume increasingly bigger and wider dimensions. However, this wave has yet to assume tidal proportions that will include all within its fold.

Grow it will and no power on this earth can stop an idea whose time has come.

This phase, of transforming a nation to a completely different level of existence, occurs but once in the lifetime of a nation. Perhaps, on a longer time scale this phase may be seen once in a couple of centuries.

We, the people of India, are blessed to be living our life times at this juncture in our nation’s history. We are witnessing history being made and many of us are actively contributing in our own way to its making.

Many things have changed dramatically, many for the better, some seem to have worsened, but, the vast majority feels that life seems to be the same and nothing seems to have changed.

Let me list and examine a few of these changes

This is the unsung sector of India. Our farmers' achievements have largely gone unnoticed. Our food grain production has increased from about 169 million tones in 1991-92 to about 230 MT in the current year and land used for this is more or less constant at 122 – 127 million hectares.

The total population covered by a telephone connection (fixed or wireless) has crossed 350 million. Almost 35% of the population is connected with some of the lowest tariffs in the world. This is a far cry from the dismal 4% about fifteen years back.

The conceptualisation and completion of the Golden Quadrilateral expressway network was a bold project which has had dramatic and far reaching impact on surrounding regions

Indian education system has gained much respect and much of home grown talent has proved its mettle in various spheres around the world. Surely, a lot has to change but it is also true that we are our own worst critics. Engineering and Management education is already accepted as amongst the best.

Indian entrepreneurial energy has been unleashed and world seems to be the stage. There are numerous instances of Indian companies setting benchmarks for excellence. Pharmaceuticals, IT, Engineering, Steel amongst others come immediately to mind.

World class facilities and expertise has become available. It has gained sufficient acceptance to be packaged for medical tourism. The challenge, however, is how to make this more affordable and accessible to all Indians.

Banking, Insurance and Financial Services:
This period has seen establishment of independent regulators, increase in transparency, expansion of market leading to increase in financial inclusion, use of Information Technology, a liberal tax regime, strong supervision and conservative incremental approach.

The intangibles
- Surge in self confidence,
- Ability to dream big and translate them to reality,
- Use of soft power,
- Freedom of expression has found new avenues and new meanings,
- Ability to evolve strategic thinking.

I understand that much ground needs to be covered. There are serious gaps in some areas like spread of universal education and healthcare. Socially we seem to have regressed. That should, probably, be the subject matter of another post.

However, it is also important to feel proud of what we have achieved. I am at a complete loss and I cannot understand
- Why are so many cynical?
- Why are so many pessimistic?
- Why are we so apathetic and disinterested?

On reflecting a little, I could think of so much to be positive about. I am sure, collectively, India can shake this world up and show an entirely new direction. (Cynics Please excuse)

What do you think, my dear friends?


Avani said...

India is indeed transforming and the pace at which transformation is taking place makes this an evenful period. Indians have the vision, qualities of patience and perseverance and an undying motivation and will to slog and use information for its transformation unlike many other countries. Information regarding anything and everything is available to most but India is showing the capability to use this information for a worthwhile transformation. Growth of weeds along with crops cannot be avoided but can surely be uprooted and controlled. Good to know someone pointing out to the positive developments of this great nation. A greater awareness will help pluck out the weeds too.

Vinod_Sharma said...

Mavin, it is indeed refreshing to read such a vibrant, positive post about India on Sunday morning. "Grow it will..." are reassuring and confident words of an Indian who, in the midst of many negativities, has cut through the haze to see the ongoing transformation that occurs "but once in the lifetime of nation."

Cynicism and pessimism can actually be useful to spur the country even more to address more and more issues as it moves up quickly. What is deflating is apathy and disinterest, because that can be strangely demotivating.

Anonymous said...

I simply love the fact that we have grown so self reliant that the recent global economic fiasco hasnt affected us greatly.

Wish we could do more about power outages and roads.

Nita said...

Good points Mavin. There is another thing, and that is the internet. When I entered the work world, this wasn't there on any scale and now no one can do without it. I am glad that I am witness to this great human transformation!
About India too, yes great strides have been made, particularly on poverty alleviation. But what has gone wrong I think is that we have not progressed fast enough on the educational level. Too many illiterates in this country (even the so-called "educated" ones as our definition of literacy is just being able to read and write) and I think in a way it is fuelling the social chaos we see today. Whether it the naxalite movement, or criminal activities. Just the other day I read that in UP people are making bombs because it feeds their families. They say they have no other work.
Lack of education also makes people vulnerable to politicians. They can manipulated uneducated people through rhetoric. How many voters really know who they are voting for? And as for the educated in India, they too have an apathy towards voting, they feel their vote won't count as a large mass of people will vote the other way, vote in the bad politicians. This will change. I am an optimist in this sense. Education will change everything. Give it another 30-40 years.

Mavin said...

- Avani

Thanks for coming over. I liked your bit on growth of weeds and that it can be cleaned up and controlled. I am sure we can do it.

- Vinod

Thank you for your nice comment. I see many of us in deep slumber and actually shirk when any opportunity to contribute occurs. We need to re-energise the people and inject enthusiasm.

- Ritu

Welcome to My Voice.

Yes power shortage is the result of political myopia. Constructing quality roads were progressing at a great pace till the clowns in power ground everything to a halt.

Hopefully, things will improve.

Mavin said...

Hello Nita

Thank you for the comment. You have raised some key issues.

Yes, I missed out on internet. It has definitely changed the way we work and communicate. The BPO boom has been facilitated by the net.

Education and jobs are the two critical missing parts that need to be fixed.

Vikram said...

Mavin, I admire your optimism and I mostly share it. However, the deepest concerns for me are the state of Indian agriculture and the political apathy of the Indian youth. Please see this page for some views on the agrarian crisis in India. Lack of adequate farm insurance and the destruction of traditional farming techniques and inputs (seeds, natural fertilizers) are seriously threatening the viability of Indian agriculture.

Indian Home Maker said...

And the change has been felt by the urban aam aadmi :)
As little as ten (?) years ago one had to wait for a phone connection for months, even years. Today our maids and dhobi have mobiles. TV channels switched from Krishi darshan & chitrahaar to round the clock news, the day we had that Earth Quake in the early hours of the morning, I switched on the TV and soon it was there in the news!
Banks, ATMs and cheaper Air Travel has also directly improved the quality of life we live in the cities...
Development has also given job opportunities to people who shifted from their villages to
expanding cities ...
Tomorrow is Blog Action day, do join,

Mavin said...

Hi Vikram,

Welcome to "My Voice" and thank you for your comment.

I fully agree with you on the agrarian crisis. Sustained improvements in agriculture are necessary and not by aping western methods. These have already impoverished our farmers.

Vidarbha now, Andhra a few years back only highlight the serious problems existing.

Mavin said...

Hello IHM

Yes, the changes are most pronounced in the urban areas.

Hinterland has also changed. Telephony and roads have thrown up a world of opportunities to these communities.

But, a lot more needs to be done. We have miles to cover before we can even say that "We have made a difference"

Trailblazer said...

Wow. Very refreshing. But we still face a lot of problems. And we just cant afford to bask in our achievements.

However, posts like yours are refreshingly welcome.


Mavin said...

Hello "trailblazer" aka JM

Welcome to "My Voice"

Obviously, we have miles to go and a lot to achieve.

However, I find that we, as Indians, have no pride in our achievements. We seem least interested in even wanting to know more about our achievements.

I have no illusions and am painfully aware of the gaps in agriculture, health care, education, affordable housing...etc., but we can fill these gaps with imagination, courage and hard work.

L. Venkata Subramaniam said...

I like the intangibles part. I think that is what is showing in our Olympic and cricket wins. Self confidence can make us achieve great things even beyond our innate capabilities.