Saturday, April 18, 2015

India: Tipping point

In the book Tipping point, Malcolm Gladwell argues that small things in the right place at the right time and the right place make a huge difference and as one keeps on getting small things right, it tips the balance in favor of success.

The Narendra Modis government is working along these lines. This is early days yet, but if you take a look at his actions - and the actions that his government is following, it is all about tweaking the nuts and bolts, of filling up ditches dug by the previous government.

Lets go over a few things they have done. One, look at the coal block and the spectrum auctions. They have created a policy of 'transparency' - as opposed to the policy of non-transparency followed by the previous government. So, in both the spectrum and the coal block auctions, the government has made windfall gains which it passes to people instead of passing it onto cronies.

The Prime Minister has travelled far and wide since he took office - signing uranium deals with nations ranging all across from Canada to Australia.

Take both these things together and you will see an India that may very nearly have 24X7 power - which is far from the case today.

(The next step is to make reliable electricity and make consumers pay - which is not the case in most states in India because electricity is free. And what is free is unreliable.)

Top level corruption is gone. The lobbyists are busted. The corporate espionage scam is both a warning and a reality of how much 'middlemen', 'lobbyists' were making a mockery of the system - obviously in connivance with the powers that were. Corrupt bureaucrats are being shown the door - as are those who are shielding them. Laws are being tweaked - rather made simpler. Obsolete laws are being abolished. Add that to transparency? And what do you get? Ease of doing business.

And what will ase of doing business achieve? That means companies will open factories, offices, startups will flourish and employment will be generated. This is a generation that is hungry for jobs. And once 'Make in India' starts to take root, jobs will get generated.

Add to the emphasis of Make in India when it comes to defence and you have an entirely neglected industry that has the potential to make huge inroads into the Indian jobs market. This is one segment successive governments have neglected because defense procurement is the one area where cronies get to make, remake and multiply money. Closing the door on this is also about better defence preparedness for India among other things.

What about farming? And rural areas? Here is where the Jan Dhan yojana, direct benefits transfer (LPG money for urban folks, but much more for other parts of the country) will have a collectively greater impact than 'garibi hatao' slogans. Building skills for India - is another aspect in building employability in the youth

Every one of these are programs with vision, big ideas, but executed well, together they will transform India.

PS: Big bang reforms and those who want them are one thing, but we need a lot of small things also. Like a Swacch Bharat and a visa on arrival for tourists - Cleaner India and ease of entry - mean more tourists. More tourists mean more revenue. These are small things - as an example in one sector. And the Swacch Bharat initiative has had a viral effect - from entrepreneurs to corporates to housing bodies to children, everybody knows about it. Will India get cleaned in a day? month? But surely it will happen...

And this just a sliver of things that have happened...In 5 years, India will transform...

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