Where we are with regards to RISC: fundamentally, it has to be admitted that implementing RISC requires at least 1) Deep understanding 2) Deep commitment 3) Deep pockets
I see the first bit the biggest hurdle. Take for instance the PURA model. President APJ Kalam has commitment and the influence to motivate deep pockets. But I feel that the PURA model does not reflect reality in some basic aspects. I have done a brief note comparing RISC and PURA. Rajesh discussed the matter with Khosla last month in California and Khosla said that he would forward the note to Kalam. Khosla told me that during his recent visit to India, he had spoken to President Kalam about RISC and also to the chief ministers of AP and Karnataka.
Currently, we are working on establishing partnerships with other entities interested in tapping the potentially enormous resources that lie under-utilized in India. The private sector has the opportunity to not just do extremely well by addressing rural India, but also do a great deal of good.
Deeshaa Ventures does not have the immensely deep pockets required for transforming India but does have understanding and commitment by the tons. I am confident that we are at the cusp of a radical tranformation of India — what is required primarily is the vision and the hard work that will transform the vision into reality.
A few points mentioned by Khosla on microfinance:
Microfinance is simply applying the principles of free markets and capitalism to the poorest people. That is what is interesting. It is more about the economic system of capitalism and how to enable it for people who have been outside of it.
We will see a much bigger economic divide between the rural and the urban unless we do something about accelerating the economic growth of rural India. I believe microfinance is a very, very powerful tool. In fact, it is the only tool with a potential to revolutionise growth in rural India. That’s why it is important. It is not only important for the macro numbers of economic growth to be great, but we also must distribute wealth creation.
[Microfinance] is a tool that doesn’t interrupt or interfere with any of that, and it can work without that change. In fact, it accelerates that change but is not totally dependent on it. It is an independent axis of economic development. The government can keep doing things to help people from within the political structure, and there will be some good things about it. In the end, what is important is that this tool goes directly to those who are below the poverty line. It enables them, and it helps them sell. And there are thousands, if not millions, of stories in Bangladesh alone.