What will it take to build the India into an economic powerhouse, the India of our dreams? Besides discipline, hard work and tremendous sacrifice, there are six building blocks which can serve as the platform for making the 21st century belong to India:
- Infrastructure: India needs a much more robust infrastructure – from airports, roads and power to ubiquitous telecommunications and computing. Life must become easier both for citizens and businesses.
- Open Economy: India needs to encourage free trade without restrictions. This will mean that domestic companies either need to become competitive or die. Fewer restrictions will also reduce corruption.
- Technology and the Internet: The change agent needs to be information technology and the Internet. Technology gets to be vigorously adopted by consumers, enterprises and the government.
- Education: A mix of English and technical education is critical for creating a smarter and more productive workforce. India has a great opportunity to be the “back office to the world”.
- Global and Entrepreneurial Mindset: An entrepreneurial mindset combined with and the ability to think out-of-the-box to create solutions keeping in mind a global marketplace is needed, along with venture capital and society’s acceptance of failure.
- Leadership and Vision: Above all, India needs strong and determined visionaries as leaders who can make the future happen at every level – in politics, science, government and industry.
Japan and China are two examples of countries in Asia which have crafted success stories in the past 50 years. Japan rose out of the ashes of World War II while China emerged out of its self-imposed isolation in 1979. For too long, India has been “a caged tiger”. A mix of globalisation, technology, software and success of Indians worldwide (especially in the US) offers a great opportunity for India to win what is perhaps the most important war – the economic one. One generation needs to build so that the next can reap the benefits. It will require sustained effort to create a better tomorrow not for a handful, but for the masses and our children.