Above all, our strength lies in our People – their Hands and Minds. We need to transform people within India – their thinking and attitude needs to change. Living in India has made us somewhat insular and moderate in our expectations for we have not known better. We need to dream Big to achieve Great things. This is where the 15 million Indians outside can help trigger change. Indians are spread far and wide, and can bring to India the best of what they have seen and experienced in their lives.
We are seeing a semblance of a change as Indians answer phones and emails, process invoices, help make investment decisions, and write and test software for the world. But this is a process which is only beginning and has touched a very small fraction. China wants to the Global Manufacturing base. Can India can be the Global Back-Office? We need to become part of the global money flow to elevate the standards of living. This may not be the stuff revolutions are made off, but it is a start. We must remember that this is only the start of the journey. Like the Indian pharma industry, we need to move up the value chain — from copycat to copyright, from imitation to innovation.
Our population has always been seen as a liability. But if we look at our populace as a market and work towards increasing their buying power, then we can build a market unlike any. Let us create a country which is the answer when others look in their mirrors and ask, “Which is the Biggest Market of them all?” Because this market will then be the base to unleash our entrepreneurs – capable of taking on the best anywhere.
We need to use Technology as an ally – to leapfrog over the period and generations we have slept through. There is change afoot in computers, communications and software – change which we have an opportunity to leverage and master. This is, in fact, the first step in the Journey. Our software will not come from Microsoft, our hardware cannot come from Dell, our entertainment cannot come from Hollywood. As has been argued often in these columns, if we can solve the problems of our people and enterprises, there are billions of other people and millions of other enterprises like us that we can target.
The New India must be built on Knowledge, Entrepreneurship, Technology and Hospitality. Change is what we need to bring about rapidly – in both Attitude and Action. The New India must focus on Economic Superiority, using the strength of the domestic market. Wealth Creation, which so far has been anathema to many, is what we need to do across the country to solve our basic problems. Let One take on the responsibility for Ten, and Ten for Hundred. It needs a Few to Change the Destiny of Many. Just like Frodo Baggins and his Fellowship did for Middle-Earth in “The Lord of the Rings”.