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India today and tomorrow

Author: Rakesh Mittal
President & COO, Corbus
India today and tomorrow -By-Rakesh Mittal
From one of the poorest countries in the world with a highly regulated business regime, we seem to be freeing ourselves from the shackles and become a forward looking, growth oriented economy. Poverty is decreasing but, but at a speed that is far insufficient. We need to bring depth to our reforms process so that it seeps to the poor man in terms of education, jobs, and an increase in per capita income, etc.

Some of the things which we have make us a great country - a vibrant democracy, flexibility, religious tolerance, youthful demography (versus some other countries that are baby boomers), and a great desire to succeed. What we still lack is the combined vision on several fronts including infrastructure, anti-corruption drive, and competitive positioning. Be it water, electricity, roads, ports, or airports we need several times improvement over what we have. Corruption is absolutely undesirable but it is everywhere in the world. What we need to follow is the Singapore Model that has ‘zero tolerance’ for corruption so that it is no longer institutionalized and the country gains some respect in global markets. On the competitive positioning, I personally find that India is much more expensive in everything except labor at the quality parity and we need to work hard to change this situation.

One of the ways to expand job opportunities to the poorest is the growth of sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, and fisheries. Unfortunately we have not done so well in this area, compared to countries like China. Without the infrastructure basics like roads and ports, even if you have world-class manufacturing or farming, it is not going to be possible to have the goods reach at the right time at the right place. Global markets are too tough and there is no scope for error. But the growth rate of infrastructure in India is still dismal.

I remember the days when the telecom minister used to take pride in the fact that India had the lowest density of phones because it was not possible to provide phones to crores of people and waiting lists used to be years long. After privatizing, India became one of the fastest growing markets and it has created hundreds of thousands of jobs, lots of wealth, as well as opportunities in ancillary industries. We should ask the same minister, how is it possible now to give a phone connection to anyone who wants it in just 2 hours instead of years of begging with telecom department? Same thing holds good for electricity, water, roads, airports, and ports as there is a desire to pay for quality and there is huge need for the same. But the regulatory regime still slows everything down in spite of the ‘so called reforms’.

I have been to over 40 countries and one of the important worries I have is that India is getting too expensive for comparable quality of goods, to the exception of labor. I can find an equivalent hotel in London or Tokyo cheaper than it is in Delhi or Bangalore, and so on. The cost of a lunch in a hygienic restaurant here exceeds that of a lunch in a similar restaurant in the developed world. Cost of hiring a car (obviously with a driver as you can’t drive yourself due to the poor infrastructure conditions) can be much higher than that in the U.S. In the competitive countries’ ranking we continue to be in the bottom ten, being less competitive from cost-productivity stand point. Our government and businesses need to take cognizance of the same and work on it to change the situation.

Anywhere in the world, Indians stand out as exceptional people with their intelligence and work ethics. We just need to work on some of the things at our end to make India one of the most competitive and powerful forces in the world. Eradicating poverty to a considerable extent and removing the stigma of ‘corruption’ are important.

I believe that our increasing middle class population and its spending power could be a boon to the country rather than a curse if the Government truly provides good governance and improves some of the things that I just talked about.

In spite of having lived outside of India for 12 years, I take a lot of pride in being an Indian and my pride continues to increase every moment.
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Reader's comments(5)
1: 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.

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Posted by: mary lovely david - Monday 26th, September 2011
2: tataosah@yahoo.com
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Posted by: tata tatababy os - Friday 30th, October 2009
3: their would be huge change for today and tomorrow india, but still be have some obstacles which giving slowness to our working, anti-edging our effeciency. these should be clear first.
Posted by: Pannkaj Jain - Thursday 26th, March 2009
4: There is a popular saying that adultry is rampant among 2 classes of people in the society 1.)Poorest 2.)Richest.There is no concept of 'value chain' in these strata of the society.Similarly recession is a terminology invented for the middle-class which has no effect in the aforesaid classes of society.It is the middle class which holds on to the social fabric of India.We have to observe and take care that by improving the buying habits , the middle class doesn't build castles in the air.Inequality and corruption is rampant in our country.There is NO equanimity of power and wealth in the nation and lot's of tax evasion by nefarious means.Let's not boast about what others say about Indians,they'pamper'us and we feel good!Let's look towards our inner selves and find out what we can do for the nation.My suggesstion would be every businessman whether NRI or Indian, should take care to beautify an area of the city they come to stay in India or were born , and take up that responsiblity by rotation.Mother India will look beautiful.Thanks | Regards, Ramangshu Sinha
Posted by: ramangshu sinha - Thursday 12th, March 2009
5: hello Mr.Rakesh Mittal!!

Very good article!! Sir! but who are responsible for the corruption is it poverty? or desire of power?? if first is true try to eradicate it by corporate social responsibility if send is true try to correct it.
Posted by: roja reddy - Wednesday 20th, August 2008
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