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June - 2013 - issue > View Point

Addressing the GDP Growth Slowdown Head On

Jagdish Sahasrabudhe
Monday, June 10, 2013
Jagdish Sahasrabudhe
Founded in 2002, Pune based LinguaNext Technologies is a software product company in the enterprise application language management industry. Its software products enable enterprises to use state-of-the-art software such as SAP and Oracle completely in Indian languages, without any modifications to those applications.

How can a country with over one billion population, most of which is young, which has a deep cultural hunger for education, and which has enterprising nature in its blood, not be able to deliver more than six percent growth?
GDP, by definition is simply a measure of a country’s people’s volume of transactions among themselves. What if you had a situation where 90 percent of the population of the country was prevented from participating in any transactions above a certain minimal value – say Rs 1000? Would you then be surprised that the country’s GDP was suffering? Shocking as it may sound, that is exactly the situation we are in today.

Let me explain:
90 percent of the country’s population does not speak English. Yet, for everything from a leave-and-license agreement to a vehicle loan document, we are required to operate in English. It’s no surprise therefore that people are naturally afraid to participate in such a system whose language excludes them. This has also resulted in the proliferation of alternative cash-only financial systems that remain not only off-the-books but also outside the law, causing a multitude of social problems.
An argument is sometimes made that India’s progress can be attributed to the exports from the IT/ITES industry, where English has been a distinct advantage for India. The fact is that these exports only contribute about 7.5 percent of the GDP, the rest of the 92.5 percent comes from transactions between us non-English speakers only, where the use of English is strictly optional.

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