India Sparkling

India is really sparkling. My reasons for getting this inference are simple.

The latest issue of ‘The Economist’ has published a survey on talent. I consider both- ‘The Economist’ and ‘The NewYork Times’ as not very congenial to India. I go by the amount of attention they give to China vs. India, perhaps that is also a business strategy. But the survey that is very extensive is having many favourable references for India; rather China appears along with India. There are eight articles-The battle for brainpower; Everybody’s doing it ; The world is our oyster; Opening the doors; Nightmare scenarios; Masters of the universe; The revenge of the bell curve; Meritocracy and its discontents. (subscription necessary)

I quote from the first article- “The battle for brainpower”:

India and China are adding billions of new cheap workers and consumers to the world economy.’

‘Both India and China are suffering from acute skills shortages at the more sophisticated end of their economies. Wage inflation in Bangalore is close to 20%, and job turnover is double that (“Trespassers will be recruited” reads a sign in one office). The few elite institutions, such as India’s Institutes of Technology, cannot meet demand. India’s Licence Raj destroyed management skills, while China’s Confucian tradition still emphasises “face” over innovation.’

‘The training budget at Infosys, an Indian tech giant, is now well above $100m.’

‘How can India talk about its IT economy lifting the country out of poverty when 40% of its population cannot read?’

‘Over the past decade multinational companies have shipped back-office and IT operations to the developing world, particularly India and China.

‘India and China are trying to entice back some of their brightest people from abroad.’

The article “The world is our oyster” is mostly on India. The survey doesn’t have any such article on China. Some quotes from it are:

THE Infosys campus on the outskirts of Bangalore looks like a chunk of the rich world that has been reassembled amidst the dust and debris of India.”

“The software giant now has annual revenues of $2.2 billion and 58,000 employees. But it is just one of a hundred companies in Bangalore’s Electronics City. Bangalore is India’s software capital, with 140,000 software engineers (more than in Silicon Valley, the locals boast). The signs are a list of the world’s biggest IT companies, from multinationals such as Hewlett-Packard and Motorola to home-grown giants such as Infosys and Wipro.”

“Every year India produces around 2.5m university graduates, including 400,000 engineers and 200,000 IT professionals. India’s National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) calculates that the country has 28% of the world’s IT offshore talent.”

“Almost 400 of the companies ranked highest by the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University are in India. Now they want to become world-class and get into more sophisticated areas such as “integrated solutions” and consulting by adopting the latest productivity-boosting techniques, such as applying lean-manufacturing techniques to software development, a favourite strategy at Wipro.”

The article “Opening the doors” mentions as below:

“There are an estimated 20m Indians living abroad, generating an annual income equal to 35% of India’s gross domestic product.”

“NASSCOM estimates that in 2001-04 some 25,000 Indian techies returned home, and the number is rising rapidly. A survey of Indian executives living in America found that 68% were actively looking for opportunities to return home, and 12% had already decided to do so; and a survey of graduates of the elite All India Institute of Medical Sciences who were living abroad found that 40% were ready to go home.”

“The brain drain is giving way to brain circulation, and returning émigrés are turning into economic dynamos. One example is Dr Prathap Reddy, a returnee from America, who established the Apollo Hospitals Group, one of Asia’s largest and the first to attract foreign investment.”

The article “Nightmare scenarios” starts with: “INDIA’S high-tech enclaves exude euphoria. Proud techies take their parents on tours of company campuses. Proud parents boast that their children earn more than the rest of the family combined. Mr Nilekani of Infosys says that his company’s greatest achievement is not its $2 billion turnover but the fact that it has taught Indians to redefine the possible.”

 Vir Sanghvi wrote an article- ‘The Indians Are Coming’ in ‘Hindustan Times’ on Sunday, October 8, about his impressions on the Frankfurt Book Fair, where India was the Guest of Honour this year. 700 literature/culture people from India were present there. Sanghvi writes, ” When they (Germans) asked me in Frankfurt if I thought that the power of India’s educated middle class represented a threat to them. I said, quite honestly, that it did. And when they asked if they should be frightened, I was as honest. Be scared, I said, be very scared. The Indians are coming.
 And then I read two news items one in Telegraph about Hollywood in India that reads as below:

Calcutta, Oct. 7: It’s raining Hollywood in India this year. After Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in autumn, it’s all set to be Nicole Kidman in winter.

The second one appeared in ‘Express India’ as well as Times of India of Sunday about a possibility of Jagdish Bhagawati getting the Nobel for economy this year. I wish he could do this. It is an overdue honour that must go to Bhagawati. How nice it would have been if the Western power had helped Shashi Tharoor to get to the top position of UN? India will have to attain supremacy in knowledge and convert its strength to become a real economic power as China has already done. Rest will automatically follow.

Is not India sparkling with achievements, and hopes for achieving the goal?

And, unfortunately like Shashi Taroor, Jagdish Bhagwati also could not make it to Nobel.

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