Monday, November 15, 2010

A Blogger's Dilemma

After months of perceived inactivity (though my mind was busy analyzing the world around me ;)) aka no blogs i finally decided to break my silence. The last few months have been marred by stories of rampant corruption be it the CWG fiasco or the dubious land deals or stories of sporting success. As a citizen of this country my mind has wavered from the depths of despair to the joy's of India's sporting victories..but when i look back at the year that is almost over what strikes me is how the nation's mood has changed from the postive energy of an re-elected government to negativity stemming from the incidents that cast a doubt again on the quality of governance in India.
And its not just the Central Government or the State Governments but right down to the smallest units of governance be it schools, panchayats or colleges that stem from lack of quality governance. We see a common thread lack of discipline and governance continues to hurt India. We may hide behind self-congratulatory statistics like the 2nd fastest growing economy and the tag of 'Growth Markets' but the fact remains that the growth story would be more sustainable and noteworthy with better governance. Yet as a nation we keep hiding our problems under the in point the mess during the CWG was clearly hidden to ensure a trouble free games though the people of Delhi were to face the brunt once the games were over..hence the question of India has arrived is largely theoritical as we have a lot of mess to clear up before we can claim our arrival on the world stage..the mess that i refer to is multi-dimensional - education, health, quality of governance, power of judiciary and executive, state of environment to highlight the key points.
Our media (electronic and print) need to highlight the true picture of India to the common man and not sensationalize issues for TRP ratings..while there were numerous reports on CWG financial scandals and the Mumbai Oil Spill.little is being spoken about these issues now. There must be a consistency on part of media while reporting on issues. While the Obama visit got significant coverage (almost like Reality TV) a lot of issues did not find mention. For instance when we talk of promises made by the endless government schemes but little is spoken about the effectivess of these schemes on rural employment and electrification.
We continue the to be a country of misplaced priorities. It is time for the rising tiger to wake from its slumber and shake off the cobwebs of sleep and deprivation. Let's make it happen. Its now or never.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Is India an Emerging World Power

Is India an Emerging World Power? A question we often come across in different media channels be it Television, Radio, Internet, Books etc. While there is no doubt that the Indian Economy has shown impressive growth numbers since 1991 questions remain over whether we are going to be a 'world' power in the 21st Century. Lets do a reality check - we are now into the 2nd decade of the 21st Century (which is supposed to belong to China & India) and still have a high population growth rate of 1.9%., literacy rates of around 65% and we still rank poorly on all UN surveys on quality of life and health. Lets look at some of our success stories - we are pretty much the 'back office' capital of the world..with IT Services and BPO bring us much need export earnings..but lets dwelve a bit deeper..what about R&D and Products...we cut a sorry figure there..barring Infosys's Finnacle and IFlex's Flexcube (now OFS thanks to Larry Ellison) we hardly have any products that are making waves worldwide. If we go by recent survey findings of World Intellectual Property Organization where we don't make it to the top 20 countries in Patents worldwide while our neighbour China features 5th with over 7000 patents filed in 2009. It tells us we are obviously not doing things right. Lets look at our education system which we claim produces top class students - none of our IITs, IIMs, NITs or INIs feature in the worlds best technology/B-school rankings. We still believe in reservations and government control of top institutes..clearly we are moving against conventional wisdom..
Look at the state of higher education in India..hows many quality PHD's are we churning out..not sup rising why we score low on patents..or quality research..our media highlights the success of Indians abroad but we conveniently forget that they are being rewarded for work in their adopted countries..So that brings us back to the old question of brain drain..have we stopped it by being the back office some extent yes..but the brain drain continues as we don't have the right people in core areas of scientific research, economics as well as academics. We have a huge shortfall of quality professors in all our premier institutes..
We need to wake up as a nation and realize where our true priorities are..blame games don't help..what is needed is some serious introspection and proactive action to stem the rot before its too late. We need an overhaul of our education system as well our approach to doing business. Corporate houses must invest in research and in building quality products..We need to create world class facilities in Indian companies and institutes to attract PHD's and SMEs. There is a lot of scope to work in the areas of energy efficiency, green energy, defence research, bio technology etc. Government must be a policy maker and enabler but not implementer..lets create models that work. Media must be responsible in portraying stories in terms of national relevance..TRP ratings are important but at what cost !
Lets learn from successful models and customize them for our long as we are ready to learn and innovate and appreciate the importance of national goals there is no reason why we can't be a 'world power'. But it would need some fundamental changes in our mindset and in the way we run organizations be it government, educational, defence or corporate. Time will tell whether we make it or not..i hope we do..