Continuing the Rays of Hope in today’s India:
- An increasing number of Indians are returning back from abroad. While some are being forced to do so (due to the slowdown in the USA), there are many others who are doing so out of choice. Even among NRIs, the frequency of visits to India is on the increase. This is a good starting point for building a local base in technology and other areas.
- Availability of Venture Capital funding has never been better for
entrepreneurs. Success stories of IP-driven companies like Switch-On
Networks and Sasken offer a positive outlook for the future. A recent
issue of Business Today (http://www.business-today.com) has a cover
story on India’s next big opportunity: BioInformatics.
- India’s democracy remains its greatest strength, its politicians perhaps its biggest weakness. But there is a new generation of younger leaders coming up who offer hope of doing things differently (and are very media-savvy). The Indian Express talked about some of them in a recent article. Examples: Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Pramod Mahajan (BJP); Jairam Ramesh, Madhavrao Scindia, Jaipal Reddy (Congress); Sitaram Yechury (Left Front).
- India’s free press is a great asset, and along with India’s democracy something Indians can be proud of.
- There is an increasing recognition of the threat from China among Indian industry. This in itself is a good sign. Businesspeople are realizing that the result of doing nothing will be death. Their answer is not just running to the government asking for greater protection, but looking for partnerships, joint ventures, and even acquisitions.
- Recognition among India’s foreign policy mavens that a strong relationship with the US is critical to India’s future is an important change. The US has also been quick to reciprocate. During his recent US visit, Jaswant Singh had an unscheduled meeting with the US President George W. Bush, something unthinkable a few years ago.
- The success of Indians abroad and their desire to contribute back to India is a strong positive going ahead. What India needs is not just their money, but also their contributions in setting up companies locally which can help foster a culture of entrepreneurship.
- There has been an increase in the number of Indians traveling abroad. As they do so and see the good things abroad, their desire to have the same things in India (the tangibles and intangibles) will make a difference.
- India’s recent tragedies (the Gujarat earthquake, the Orissa cyclone) drew a huge response in terms of contributions from the international community. This concern and sympathy is a sign of India’s improved standing. Even the domestic and NRI contributions in the wake of the Kargil aftermath were unprecedented.
- India is now 4th world wide in terms of Purchasing Power Parity, after USA, Japan and China.
- The media and entertainment industry in India has been growing well. India already makes the largest number of films in the world. What is needed now is for Indian film-makers to create products which can do well internationally – this potential has not yet been tapped. An example is the success of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” which grossed over USD 100 million worldwide.
These are but a few Rays of Hope. To build the new India will require a lot more than this – an efforts and sacrifices from every Indian – in India and outside. Change is not going to happen overnight, but over a generation. We owe it to our children to give them an India which is smarter, richer, and more competitive – an India which is a leader in the world.