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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Young & Resurgent India – Time For An Action Bias

Following the keen focus planned on India , Manjeet Kripalini finds Indian top ministers and policymakers making many lucrative contacts among the foriegn power brokers on hand at the global economic conference – the high and mighty skipped annual jazz dinner at WEF to attend Indian cocktail. India has been helping itself quite effectively at Davos this year as can be seen by overflowing India sessions – late nights to early breakfast meets et all. Ministers acted like salesmen, high level bureaucrats wined and dined with global business leaders, Japanese big investors actively wooed for infrastructure investments. India actively talked about the 10 paradigm shifts taking place simultaneously in India – besides outsourcing, the country is now focusing on becoming a manufacturing base, largest middle class in the world, largest english speaking population on earth, the youngest nation with fortunate future demographics, all very attractive for global business. Indian industrialist have provided a matching visibility & support for attracting investments. India now needs an action bias – groundswell of interest can dissipate if nor converted into stretchable filed level pops – India is generally seen as slow in execution and in finalizing policy level decisions – delays in decisions related to airport modernization, all need to be stamped out with firm determination. Delhi Metro, Konkan rail lines – all have shown that India can deliver – obviously we need hundred of such new cases to report year after year. As Klaus Schwabdescribes, India needs to make further improvements in four important areas.
- The first is in education where the needs are particularly urgent at the primary and secondary level. Where tertiary enrolment rates are low, the scope for improvement in girls’ education is especially broad.
- The second is infrastructure; India needs to improve the quality of overall infrastructure, including roads, ports, airports, telecommunications and power generation.
- The third area for improvement is the extent of bureaucratic red tape and regulation – ensuring a favourable environment for business, especially entrepreneurship.
- Finally, India needs to continue to address its fiscal deficit problem, both its public debt level and its revenue collection.

During my visit to China last fortnight,someone told me that Shanghai city has more cranes than the combined number found anywhere else in the world – I am not sure of the veracity of this – but the effect is real. Let thousand and thousands of cranes crank, let decisions be made faster, let the execution of these engagements make record of sorts for execution. Let the slogan "No To Inertia" get more and more heard - clealry there is a huge chance to make a bright & better future for millions and millions of people lay there.

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