Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Truth???

I was reading an article on India becoming a super power where lots of statistics were given as to how we can finally join the elusive club, right now the special pride of a few nations. I was so proud about the fact and went to the next article which was just the opposite – it denounced all the hype being given about India being a superpower and gave an equal number of statistics as to why we are going the opposite way actually. That set me thinking! Which is the truth?

On one side, we have the Ambanis and Tatas and Birlas doing large acquisitions all over the world (not to mention Indian-origin Mittals), Bollywood movies being released all over the world, all companies opening offices in India, India becoming a nuclear power, Indian authors and artists winning wide acclaim at foreign shores and much much more. Generally, the style of living of the medium class has gone up (atleast one person in a family has a cell phone, we can afford better clothes, more travel and better education and sanitation). However, on the other side, we have an alarming increase in the number of people dying due to poor sanitation and diseases like AIDS, decrease in the number of kids going to school, decrease in the number of jobs for ordinary people (due to various reasons like newer technology making the job obsolete, automation, people not developing the necessary skills and so on), lack of needed infrastructure, rampant corruption and a complacent attitude amongst people at various levels and lots more. Now, how can a country go to two extremes at the same time?

If India is really going on to become a super power( I’d be really happy if that was the case), then why do I see so much of poverty, hunger, death and so many other problems in providing people with basic amenities like food, clean water, air, shelter, clothing and education? But, if India is really sinking down, then how do I see so many companies setting up shop here drawn by our immense talent pool in all fields, so many people being able to afford better and costlier life styles compared to a decade ago, so many men and women becoming financially independent (can you imagine so many youngsters earning so much to support themselves and even their families just a score years???), so many new buildings and construction of facilities, so many different but sure signs of growth everywhere? Which is the truth?

I’m sure the answer must lie somewhere amongst this seemingly confusing jumble. Does it mean that while a certain section of India is becoming rich, another section is becoming poorer? And, does it become imperative which section we are in for our own lives to be a success or failure? If this is the case, then when will everyone in the country start having a decent living? Doesn’t the brand name “super power” take all this into account? Is it being awarded just on the numbers that are generated every year in the balance sheets? For me, a country in which all the people have good food, clean water, air, shelter, clothing and proper education is a better candidate for super powerdom than a country that has the longest road or biggest nuclear bomb or maximum percent of foreign investments (though these are good things to have). I see that this post(and the previous one :)) has lots of questions(though of different types). I see only questions, where are the answers? Now, that is another question!!


Sudipta Chatterjee said...

It is like this: statistics don't tell you that you can actually drown in a pond that has an average depth of 6 inches. We need to see where the common man stands: how much he has gained out of all the reforms. Unless we answer that, it is meaningless to get elated by springing Sensex-es and shining faces.

I liked this post, because it echoes a lot of what I think and believe

Arun said...

well, i cannot really say for sure w/o looking at the stats, but most of the stats sort of hide the truth and project positive areas like giving absolute numbers in one segment as opposed to nation-wide avg for all ppl etc.My guess is the numbers are still bad, but india is considered to become a super power based on the rapid rate of growth of these numbers which is good. Right now, these numbers have just started to hit few particular sectors or group of ppl, and it will take time to stabalize as this sector will start providing business oppurtunies to other sectors and start depedning on thier services. the sad part is that india faces a lot of challenges in achieving these bcos of poor administration and population. by numbers i mean those connected to the affordability of a person which is a function of salary,expenses,cost of living etc.
so again to answer ur question - whether india will be a super power or not - there are many areas where things are moving better(jobs,convinience,transport) compared to the areas where things are getting worse(diseases,poverty?,population?). it will take a lot of time to see whether this is slowly going to overturn the economy or just a local maxima. Rome was not built in a day! India is bigger than Rome :)
so just do ur part and hope for the best. i already did mine by moving out.

ps: i wanted to blog on this topic for a while, glad that u already did it.

Arun said...

actually now i got confused wat a super power is. many EU countries have better or comparable std. of living as US, but they are not super powers. So growing market index, foreign invst, tech/rsh adv are signs of slowly becoming super power???

Velocity said...

Guys... Wanna Know the Actual Pic..

Its simple... Being a super power is beyond financial n economic Factors.., Sensex springs up on FII investments not Domestic Performance.. IF they With draw... our indexes plunges back... n u'll find all in-organic profit making companies's stakes r with MNC financial Firms...

U know the real Super Power US ( as on DAte ) is worlds biggest polluter... Powerful enough to Defy Pollution Norms n is able to Deny our future generations the Comfort of Atleast having what we have ( i meant natural resources ).. india on the other hand had made remarkable progress on tat... There isn't a river in which runs beyond the Dam n has potable water... Our Tremendous Progress in Textile has left with Thousands of Gallons of untreated effluent, flowing into river making room for Cost effective Production., Its not Progress...

Then Abt Progress in Areas Like

In Defense n Military sector... v float the biggest purchase order for weapons acquisition n yet v don't sell any.. Politicians make a lot money out of it.. n Indian Defense Forces are Stripped out of funds for R & D., c American n EU picture.. they hav a huge investment in defense n R & D infrastructure n r making real technological n economical progress in this sector...

Infrastructure... As a average only 30% of the contract value goes in as material as against 50 - 60 in developing economies, promising us a Bumpy ride in every New Road... N New Roads Every year..

As such they say " statistics gives out all probabilities.,hiding all certainties ".. it works out.. Tat way

Real Progress is having a eco-friendly Atmosphere where value is build without any harm to nature. Its high time India takes steps to curb pollution and concentrates on efficient n effective utilization of resources, its about time we build good administrative systems which exploits IT n Simplifies Procedures., that’s how we’ll be the super power in the future..

taggy said...

Any society as it grows is bound to give rise to divisions of itself.It is virtually impossible to have a uniform growth and that i believe causes this different sections.Why india is beign reckoned a superpower i think is because ,
looking back 20 years ago the average indian salary and the facilities he could afford were very very minimal and today the same indian can afford a lot many more things.All sections of society hava managed to rise above their self ,the only thing that is different about their progress has been the pace at which they have progressed.and i think its natural,the more able you are the faster you are going to progress and help others progress with your money .
Hence although majority of indians are still struggling for some amneties their progress is seemingly inevitable and its only a matter of time the more educated ,the more accomplished indian mankes their life a little easy :) .

alpine path said...

Sudipta, right! But, the definition of common man changes from time to time and from person to person. So, it all remains a jumble to me. And,I'm really glad that you liked this post :)

Arun,that is my whole point too. India seems to be moving towards being a super power but large sections of its population seem to be fighting harder for a decent life compared to what prevailed a decade ago. And, I don't mind waiting even a score years more for India to be a super power only if I am sure that it is moving in the right direction. My doubt is "is India going in the right direction or are we missing something?". This issue seems to be raising lots of questions. I'd be glad to read your post on this topic. :)

Velocity, I have said about pollution in my post too. However, a superpower needs not only a pollution-free life and good administration but also people whose basic needs are satisfied and who can be proactive about growth.

Taggy, if the more-accomplished Indian assumes that it is his responsibility to bring up his lesser fortunate contemporaries, then your arguments are valid. But, what if they decide to migrate to somewhere else rather than staying back and helping others? And worser still, what if they take advantage of others' misfortune and cash in on it? In such a case, it is the responsibility of the government or a collective body to see to it that the weaker sections can protect themselves adequately. This is possible only through education. Sadly, our efforts of education are not reaching the grass-roots level and is not producing the required results. Do give your views on it.

taggy said...

i think even then it helps.If at all today indian talent is recognised all over as a brand (although we are still called the cheap skilled labour) its because of those scores of talented people who found success abroad and it is all this success and people that has helped india build its brand image world over.
and then we had companied coming here to recruit us (increasing employment ) .Not everyone can work on his own soil and sweat it out.We need a visible success/name/person with whom the world can identify india and who can do it better than talented people going out and making big . We should encourage peolpe to make it big abroad ,that also helps :)

Velocity said...

How do u define " Basic Needs" the old bookish definition
"Food, Water n Clothings" aren't the only basic needs anymore...

Pro - activeness has to start from somewhere.., considering the existing Teche - Crowd... i believe the process has begin thought no one is thinking about the way, changes have to be implemented ., Don't u think having a good administration in our existing setup can bring a change in the scene much faster than a unorganized initiative..

Our Growth as such has to be redefined and all possible factors affecting us in the longer run should be taken into account., thats when real growth will occur..

alpine path said...

Taggy, sometimes makeup helps a face be beautiful but only true health gives the glow. Though I'm not against people succeeding abroad, I'd be happier if the people in India succeed in all fields too... A tall order but nonetheless!

Velocity, basic needs never change. Its always food, clothing, shelter and clean water and air. Also, a good administration does help but we are a democracy. So who takes the initiative? But that is another topic altogether though closely related. Thanks for your opinion.