Indian entrepreneur is unstoppable

Monday, 20 December 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The age of the Indian entrepreneur is finally here, and there is no stopping him. This was the reigning mantra at an annual convention organised by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) that began here Monday.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, CEO, Bharti Enterprises, set the tone of the conference by taking the audience on a brief guided tour of his success story.

In a robustly optimistic tone, Mittal spoke about his journey as an entrepreneur from the times of the 'licence-permit- inspector raj' to the present when reforms are liberating the hidden energies of the Indian enterprise.

"In those days, entrepreneurs were simply people who bent the system to make money. They were not looked upon as role models. The good news now is that entrepreneurship is being celebrated. We are celebrating success in a big way," said Mittal.

Alluding to the government's road map for reforms in key sectors like aviation, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission and key economic adviser of the government, spoke about the role of the government as the enabler and builder of infrastructure.

"We in the government should stop lecturing industry as to what to do. What India is going to achieve is going to come from dynamic entrepreneurs in the private sector," said Ahluwalia.

Tech visionary Sam Pitroda, founding chairman of the Telecom Commission, radiated optimism and energy as he waxed eloquent on the new government which "is open to ideas and inputs from everyone."

Referring to the triumvirate of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Ahluwalia, Pitroda said: "We have a good team to look at economic issues. India has accepted globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation and they have taken roots in India."

But prosperity has yet to address the problems of inequality, said Pitroda, who then went on to outline core problems afflicting the country. "We have 350 million illiterates. Basic problems like water and sanitation need to be tackled head on."

The solution, according to Pitroda, is e-governance. "Through IT we can bring about a generational change in the practice of governance. Everything requires 35 forms. Let's question these forms and processes and look at IT as an entry point and not as an end point."

Pitroda's indefatigable optimism was all too evident and appeared to infect his listeners. "We have 100 million phones. In three years, we need to double that figure. We need 100 million broadbands. We have 500 million people who are below 25 years of age. Now that's a huge market for entrepreneurs."

Source: IANS
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