Monday, November 05, 2007

Tata small car, Tom Friedman

He writes in the NYT, no, no, no, dont follow us.

Why should you care what they’re driving in Delhi? Here’s why: The cost of your cellphone is a lot cheaper today because India took that little Western invention and innovated around it so it is now affordable to Indians who make only $2 a day. India has become a giant platform for inventing cheap scale solutions to big problems. If it applied itself to green mass transit solutions for countries with exploding middle classes, it would be a gift for itself and the world.

To do that it must leapfrog. If India just innovates in cheap cars alone, its future will be gridlocked and polluted. But an India that makes itself the leader in both cheap cars and clean mass mobility is an India that will be healthier and wealthier. It will also be an India that gives us cheap answers to big problems — rather than cheap copies of our worst habits.

Point taken, but taxing just the small car will smack of discrimination. Tax the small car and the Skodas and Mercs burn the roads? Smart. Tax all cars then? Well, thats no alternative, then people would never get to anyplace since public transport systems are nothing short of pathetic. Sunita Narain, worried about pesticides in soft-drinks and cheap car on roads. How about tackling lack of drinking water for a large of the country and some other real problems?

If the government thought like Tatas, we would have had cheap mass transit systems in all parts of the country within 60 years of independence. There is barely one and a half city which has a functional metro. The rest of the public transport in the country is worse than cattle and cabbage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The answer is to tax car AND build public transportation. Adding million s of cars to already choking Indian raods is not an alternative either. That would mean knowingly going down a disastrous path.