India: A lot of despair but some hopes too

Years ago one used to hear ‘India is rich but Indians are poor’. In our village schools, our teachers taught us boastfully about the abundance of iron ore, coal and mica available in the state and the country. Mines particularly the coal ones were in private sector. I just missed getting into ISM and becoming a first class manager in a coal mine, the most lucrative job in those days. However, today many power plants are starving for coal. India is importing millions of tonnes of coal making the power generation comparatively. Indian government owned company Coal India dug preferably all the coal available on the surface and didn’t invest on the latest technology to go deep. Many genuine with some unscrupulous private companies recently got new coal mines allocated but hardly anything to produce.

Many projects worth many lakh crores including the famous Posco of South Korea are waiting for clearances and acquisitions of land to get it going.

Even the setting up of a National Investment Board proposed in recent reform steps has taken months to go in the system. However, there are still some good news and so hope in all the despair.

As reported, “projects worth Rs 1.3 lakh crore got completed in the first half of the fiscal and if CMIE’s projections for second half commissioning get realized, the total value of projects going on stream in 2012-13 can be Rs 5 lakh crore, that would be a sizeable improvement compared with completion of projects worth Rs 4.3 lakh crore in 2011-12.”

Many things make us pride. With all the constraints out of unnecessary fear of the government, India exported the maximum amount of rice last year. It can also top in the export of wheat, sugar, cotton and milk products too.

India has taken some great steps with technology. All the village panchayats in India are getting digital connections. Even some enthusiasts have taken the task as an individual. Bharat Broadband initiative envisages linking of 2,50,000 villages across India by the end of 2013 with an optic fibre network. It will ease the new entrepreneurs to make their products and services reach the consumer directly in the near future.

Ashrafpur Kichaucha, a small town of 15,865 people in Ambedkar Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh has a website that could be the ultimate in e-governance. And it has been created by one man without any financial help from the government or any other agency, using three computers and a scanner.

Aakash 2, the cheapest tablet of the world has been launched and will be in the hands of more than 220 million students in the next five years.

ATMs providing multiple functions are mushrooming. With installation of additional 1 lakh ATMs over a period of next two years, the average of the current 85 will go to 170 ATMs per million populations.

“Aadhar will be getting millions of Indians biometrically identified and opening accounts for them. Nandan Nilekani of Infosys fame, the brains behind it, expects that by the end of 2014 600m Indians will be enrolled, creating the infrastructure for a system of cash transfer for welfare cutting down the leaks.

Technology is also going to deliver a ‘personalized’ educational experience to students, even to many who don’t get the same in schools today. Just one such example is the offerings of the e-books including audio & video elements while others have interactive multiple choice questions at the end of a chapter along with InstaReports (test scores and solved solutions to test questions, even if you are offline).

India’s central and state governments are edging closer to an agreement on a design and deadline for the Goods and Services Tax, a comprehensive value-added tax that will replace many smaller taxes and levies and will make India a unified market. The proposed tax reform has been described as having the potential “to be the single most important initiative in the fiscal history of India.”

And in manufacturing, the MNCs are still investing in expanding the capacity and some, particularly in auto sector are focusing to make India a manufacturing hub for even export.

Let the honest Indian individuals not get daunted with the despair caused by unscrupulous politicians and industrialists or for that matter, any one, who could have made the difference, be he a vice chancellor of an university or a business man.

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