India's future knows no borders

Author: Manu Mehta
Founder & CEO, Metabyte
How big is India? That was an easy question to answer when I was growing up in Punjab - “India stretched from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.”

While India’s geographic boundaries may remain unchanged, my answer to this question is a much different one today. India still stretches from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. But now India also stretches to London, to Tokyo, to New York, to Silicon Valley and beyond.

India is everywhere today. And understanding India’s rapid transformation from a regional to global player is a key element in understanding India’s future.

Let’s use the year 2000 as a reference point in this transformation. Much of India’s exports that year – U.S. $36.3 billion – were related to commodities such as textiles, chemicals, and durable goods. In 2006, India’s exports had more than tripled to U.S. $122 billion of which a large chunk was from the IT industry.

What got the ball rolling for such an impressive growth in just six years? This latest boom started in large part within India’s service sector, fueled by technology companies located outside of India’s boundaries that used the country as a low-cost offshore entity to farm out back-office jobs.

However India’s offshore efforts soon set up a chain of events not anticipated by even these foreign companies. It required the creation of an infrastructure within India that could facilitate the exchange of information on a global scale. The timing was ideal. The Internet was setting in, enabling cultural integration on a global scale and a grass-root level participation in global economy.

Many U.S. companies took a closer look. Faced with continuing restrictions for qualified H-1B visa workers to fill high tech jobs in the U.S., many of these companies, who in previous years had used India for back-office jobs, now found an Indian workforce highly energized, educated, and ready to compete with any onshore company.

Soon, many leading companies flocked to India to open dedicated branch offices and subsidiaries, and the number of foreign companies heading there continues to grow.

For India, the convergence of these events has been nothing short of an economic and technological windfall. It has transformed the country from a regional to a global society, and from a back-office job factory to a technology-driven juggernaut.

India’s remarkable progress is really a testament to the spirit and drive of Indians themselves. It’s no secret that we come from a very competitive society - from childhood the seed is planted to compete for the finest schools, sports teams, and later jobs. Competitiveness is a healthy part of any culture. By virtue of the limited resources relative to the population size, Indians grow up well poised and resourceful in meeting this ongoing challenge to compete on the world stage.

Cultural integration with the outside world is shaping India’s new identity more and more, particularly among the youth. This was evident with a group of young students I met during a recent visit to my company’s Bangalore offices. They spoke enthusiastically of videos they had seen on YouTube, the latest updates to their MySpace web sites, and even their favorite episodes from The Simpsons.

With on-line connectivity to the outside world becoming more accessible to more Indians, the population is coming to realize that the sharing of ideas, innovation, and culture knows no national boundaries. The result is more creativity inside India, more user-generated content from India hitting the Internet, even more worldwide fans of Bollywood entertainment, and research and development of new products and services.

Technology and an educated workforce got the ball rolling, but now innovation is making the ball unstoppable. This momentum will continue to propel India’s economy and global presence.

If I were to make one suggestion that would help sustain this momentum for years to come, it would be to introduce more of a free-form structure in education beginning at the elementary level. Take away some of the formality and encourage creativity. For example, give children crayons and blank sheets of paper and let them express themselves freely, instead of showing them how to draw a tree. Creativity spawns innovation – just sit back and let it happen.
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Reader's comments(5)
1: Mr Manuji -Whatever you expressed in this piece of article is very very acceptable.
More so the idea that " give children crayons and blank sheets and let them express themselves freely " is the best way to nurture the upcoming talents of our future generation.We will progress only if we give children to express their thoughts frankly since each individual has a talent of his own.
Me a Textile Consultant living in mumbai,Goregaon would like to keep in touch with u for professional contacts.
Thank you..... Happy Dussehra
Posted by: VIJAYA SHESHGIRI SHANBHAG - Wednesday 05th, October 2011
2: From: Mrs. Mary David

This mail may be a surprise to you because you did not give me the permission to do so and neither do you know me but before I tell you about myself I want you to please forgive me for sending this mail without your permission. I am writing this letter in confidence believing that if it is the will of God for you to help me and my family, God almighty will bless and reward you abundantly. I need an honest and trust worthy person like you to entrust this huge transfer project unto.

My name is Mrs. Mary David, The Branch Manager of a Financial Institution. I am a Ghanaian married with 3 kids. I am writing to solicit your assistance in the transfer of US$7,500,000.00 Dollars. This fund is the excess of what my branch in which I am the manager made as profit last year (i.e. 2010 financial year). I have already submitted an annual report for that year to my head office in Accra-Ghana as I have watched with keen interest as they will never know of this excess. I have since, placed this amount of US$7,500,000.00 Dollars on an Escrow Coded account without a beneficiary (Anonymous) to avoid trace.

As an officer of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money thus I am impelled to request for your assistance to receive this money into your bank account on my behalf. I agree that 40% of this money will be for you as a foreign partner, in respect to the provision of a foreign account, and 60% would be for me. I do need to stress that there are practically no risk involved in this. It's going to be a bank-to-bank transfer. All I need from you is to stand as the original depositor of this fund so that the fund can be transferred to your account.

If you accept this offer, I will appreciate your timely response to me. This is why and only reason why I contacted you, I am willing to go into partnership investment with you owing to your wealth of experience, So please if you are interested to assist on this venture kindly contact me back for a brief discussion on how to proceed.

All correspondence must be via my private E-mail ( for obvious security reasons.

Best regards,
Mrs. Mary David.
Posted by: mary lovely david - Monday 26th, September 2011
My Name is Tata I was impressed when i saw your profile at and will like you to email me back to my inbox so that i can send you my picture for you to know who i am.i belive we can establishe a long lasting relation ship with you.In addition,i will like you to reply me through my private e mail box (
This is because i dont know the possibilities of
remainning in forum for a long time.
Thanks,waiting to hear from you soonest.
Posted by: tata tatababy os - Friday 30th, October 2009
4: Sir,
India or China, The billion people nations, with very old and substantially rich civilizations as credentails.
We are but getting back the natural place in world, that was just denied for lack of proper platform(pls. read as opportunities and resources).
Hence, today's India should be more viewed as US in late 19th century and early 20th century and not as some miracle happening.

We should now concentrate on leading India through a more inclusive growth.There are good signs of this happening.

Time to take India places, cheers!
Posted by: Prateek Srivastava - Tuesday 16th, June 2009
5: Very rightly said,Sir. I add here that our politician and administrators need to value time in implementing the projects which yield results in future like infrastructure in roads, townships, water, power etc. We have estimation for all these up 2020 but where is the plan to implement?. Also what ever the plan is there it is not being implemented. The implementation gains momentum only during elections but dies down soon after. We need to change the system which will implement these with honesty before we miss the bus and keep repenting later for the lost opportunity.
Posted by: U P Kalmadka - Saturday 28th, March 2009
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