In this series of articles which started two months ago, we have looked at seven key factors to aid the development process: Education, Microfinance, Market Access, Information Access, ICT, Energy and Distribution. For the most part, the focus has been on two sectors which can be the twin engines for growth: the small- and medium-sized enterprises of India, and rural India. This is not to say that there arent others. Indias problems and challenges are many, and so will be the solutions. But the key point is that there are many solutions which need to come together and happen simultaneously to leapfrog India to a different orbit.
The India Shining campaign and the 10.4% GDP growth in the last quarter of 2003 make us feel that we have arrived, and India is well on its way to becoming a developed nation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, many sectors in India are booming, and there is a great sense of optimism, especially among some of the urban people (and probably more so, in the Western media). The development of India is an exercise which needs all-round progress not just for the top 5-10 percent of our billion people but for everyone. It is as much about growing incomes as it is about providing opportunities for a better tomorrow. It is about giving birth to an Indian Dream.
There is no denying that there is, after many years, a confidence that tomorrow in India will be much better than today, and that the destiny of India is less dependent on the whims of the government and more on us. Whether it is the peace moves with Pakistan or the boom in outsourced services, whether it is the good monsoon of 2003 or the Golden Quadrilateral project, whether it is the performance of the Indian cricket team or the Sensex, there are many reasons to be happy about. But this is only the beginning the first baby steps of what is a long journey.
We simply do not have the time for incremental, sequential solutions. We cannot take a generation to solve Indias problems we have already lost two since Independence. The Indian transformation needs to happen in the next 5-10 years. The pressing imperative: Indias relatively young population. This is Indias tomorrow. They need to see opportunities. They have energy and enthusiasm, and if this can be channelled properly, they can help engineer Indias growth. We cannot fail them.
Another segment of Indians which can play an important part in Indias development are the Non-Resident Indians. Once upon a time, they left India in search of better opportunities. Now, the better opportunities are in India. They have seen and experienced life globally. Now is the time for them to consider applying those learnings to help catalyse and capitalise upon Indias development.
So, as we look ahead, what will be the other catalysing factors to accelerate Indias development? Think Vision and Will, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Tomorrow: Vision and Will