Is India story over? Somebody asked me in one of the ‘Intellectual discussions’ I was part of. I said with all conviction, NO. My basis at the time was the often quoted saying, ‘Every one learns from mistakes and so will a country. A country, to my belief, is a living entity; so is India. India will surely learn from its experience of last few years. But, frankly speaking I did not have any substantial reason of my saying no, except my conviction and above phrase. I believe in ‘Gut’ Feeling. Guts more often than not, come true.
I started looking for reasons to check my conviction, however later. I could find.....
India grew with the ‘Hindu Growth Rate’ of about 3.5% for the first fifty years after its independence, followed by ‘Accelerated Growth Rate’ of 8-10% annually. Then, came year 2008 with a centrifugal force that threw every other country out of gear including India. So, there was nothing unusual with India story. Only one thing what made us pessimistic was, financial & economical reasons got blurred with our ‘Societal’ misgivings. More so our hunger to make quick money, perhaps ‘corrupt money’. Although money has no face, still I feel like giving the name. If I for the time, remove this societal part of the story, rest reasons were dealt with - some may say appropriately, some may so no. A point for ‘political’ debate, but for sure, not for intellectual one. At the same time, I am not hesitant in saying; story would have been very different, if we would have taken few more ‘different’ steps, as we are country of courage & vigour.
First part first!
India is a country of 125 crores people. A strong customer base, no country can put off its eyes from it. No developed country in particular, can think of keeping its economic success story intact without India in it; for two basic reasons. One, manufacturing due to industrialization, a very strong base for developed countries for almost two centuries has started sliding downhill off late because their manpower has become expensive. More complex became the situation as their manpower was not willing to work in factories and became unavailable for 'manufacturing jobs'. Further, manufacturing cannot pay and sustain higher compensation to its manpower like new age industries, as raw materials & processing cost etc was making their Cost of Production unsustainable for them. Therefore, there basic foundation of industrialization success has become shaky. People of developed countries have moved forward as their education and lifestyle supported it differently. They started looking for fields, needing more grey cells and can get them earn more money. It thus means these countries have no choice but to turn to countries like India, having cheaper, English Speaking, young and ‘not averse to hard working’ manpower for providing manufacturing base for them. Developed countries have no choice; if they want to provide even basic amenities to their population at ‘reasonable price’. Even I forget for time being the price as a reason, these countries have limited people willing to work in factories. ‘Glocalisation’ too provided the seamless integration of the world. New age transportation facilities came in handy. Things became more favorable to India, as it started providing technically trained manpower to the world. Moreover, India is a big customer base for developed countries with unique proposition of stable democracy. They have no reason left but to come back to India with their invest plans.
Do you see any change in conditions quoted above today after 2008 turmoil? No, to my understanding. People may see it differently. The developed countries have no choice but to look at countries like India to remain floating in their countries.
Another compelling reason for my positive outlook is – Country culture of saving. Internally Indian population is hell bent to save at the cost of their own life. With 30-35% saving & investment rate and higher productivity, the country has easy capital to invest. So, we have capital, manpower and even will to work. Only support we look for is from Govt & its Machinery. ‘Any govt’ for a reason cannot remain aloof to this feeling. ‘Public’ outrage shall not leave anyone remain inactive for long time. It is Public, by the way. It is democracy, by the way. So hang on; India Story-2 is imminent. Fasten up your belt tightly; we shall be flying again, together.
Coming to second part; Yes, things would have been little better, had we handled ourselves in a more matured way on following points:
1. ‘Political Will’ of various political parties to counter their hunger for being seen differently in the eyes of the public.
2. Reforms in the areas of Labor & Taxation, simplifying process and systems for better industrial growth.
3. Redefining & re-emphasizing role of Agriculture in the overall Indian Economy in times to come.
4. Introduction of GST to make movement of goods within the country easy and seamless movement outside too.
5. A common face of Finance Ministry & RBI on Monetary Policy of the country. No room would have been given to personalities to vitiate from ‘doctrined’ principles of the subject.
6. All round efforts to curtain Inflation menace and not RBI alone fighting to curb it by 13 smaller changes; giving unnecessary reasons for negative talk to general public.
7. Govt focus on infrastructure development where seeking private interests would have been difficult or near impossible.
8. Equal focus on creating new infrastructure and maintenance of old. Like new roads vs new. Power generation etc.
9. Handling subsidies more maturely.
10. You can add more.......