Time for introspection!
We are celebrating 60 years of Independence! What thoughts grips the minds of citizens?
Of course India has come a long way. Our first five year plan had only Rs.20,000 crores as the plan expenditure!We had just 25 universities!
The best salary of the best brains,be it ICS or the corporate CEOs then were mere peanuts!Today,the young man or woman,just past 25 years start earning Rs 10,000 to Rs.20,000 in the BPO sector!
India today has the largest number of dollar millionaires!
IT and the Internet has revolutionised the Indian economy and much more importantly,the Indian mindset!
Even the names of Gandhi and Nehru sound a bit quaint!
Yes,they belonged to an era that is long past the memory of the present generation!
Big theories,big talk,utopian thoughts,even any hint of the old style hypocrisy sounds unpardonable sins!
Just now,I read that the PM,Dr. Manmohan Singh,calling” Gandhi’s message still relevant” highly hyprocritical! The same day his government’s public sector banks advertised collectively their message from Gandhi’s famous quotation on”a customer “in their premises!
This is the height of our double talk,a national bane!
Our national character flaws need much introspection on this day of celebration!
There is a great deal of debate about India’s development strategies.There are optimists and pessimists.The optimists are those who look at the developments in the last 10 or 15 years.One need not be an apologist for the government when we see the radical developments in the IT industry.It has single-handedly,I mean without any help or even understanding from the government has suddenly burst upon us one fine day!
Historians in future would search the exact beginning of this revolution.One happy thought for me is that either knowingly or unknowingly I was a witness to this sudden revolution in the mid-eighties.At that time I was a frequent visitor to Bangalore and I could say I was at the exact point of this great change, this historic change when Bangalore was giving way to a new wind of change.The city till then was still in its old world charm,the pace of life was still very slow and there was lots of space and clean air everywhere,the people were moving in their old sense of certainty.I remember buying the book,the “Silicon Valley Fever”,in Chennai one day and after going through the book I was really astonished,I wondered often whether such a change can take place in technology,I never realised that such a change would very soon hit us here in the very city where I was exploring my way through some business ventures.
But then change did come and as they say the rest is history!
Today,we are actually looking beyond IT and its various social applications and we are in fact at the very start of another burst of activity,this time we might all would see a sudden all-round progress in every branch of our life.
Now,after the latest Indo-US nuclear deal,there is an increased awareness that what would be India’s place in the scheme of things,say after another decade of progress.
Even about the nuclear deal,much heat is generated by the Communists and the Opposition.Less light and perspective is provided by the critics.
Let us remember that nuclear power is always a contributor of very low percentage only to our total energy conception.As on date our wind energy capacity is 7,082 MW as of March 31,2007.This is twice as much as that of nuclear power! Today,the share of nuclear power is less than 3 per cent!
So,what is the fuss all about nuclear power and nuclear co-operation?
Also,let us remember as responsible nation that at no time we can just go ahead and explode a nuclear test as we wish,even in the best or worst of times! Sanctions will follow at all times! So, again,let us ask ourselves:what is the fuss all about our so-called sovereignty to explode a nuclear test as we like?We cant and should not.We should ,at least from now onwards,must become a more mature and more responsible world power and do whatever in our capacity
to prevent our friends and foes from exploding the nuclear tests and help the world to prevent the nuclear proliferation!
There is no room for sabre-rattling politics and rhetoric of the kind the Communists indulge!
Better concentrate on the positive progress and on the more benign technologies!
We are now aware that our progress in IT and related fields has generated an unprecedented demand for educated manpower.We have 20 Central universities, 215 State universities, 100 deemed universities,13 institutions of national importance,17,000 colleges etc.I know there are views about the decline of basic sciences as a choice for students,there is a shift from liberal arts courses to purely professional degrees and the quick jobs at the IT industry.Students in universities in India are still a small number, 5.7 million in India,in the USA it is 14.20 million.The share of higher education is low,0.7 per cent of GDP for higher education,0.2 per cent for science education.Of course we are talking of opening another 1,500 new universities.
These are all old themes.
Now,the reality is that already changes are taking place in the realm of economic activity and in the corporate world.There is still in India a prejudice against private sector,be it industry or education.This prejudice would soon change,I am sure.
We have to see that 150 of the Fortune 500 companies have R&D centres in India,with many cutting edge technologies are being developed,from materials technology to biotechnology,IT and all such frontier areas.As Mr.R.Chidambaram,the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India says the” US companies now come here because they know manpower here is cheap,the capability is there and if you want to hire guys,there are more guys here and there are positive developments in the interaction(in the US-India co-operation)”
Bangalore itself is a centre of this transformation in the Indian human resources development paradigm shift!
Ten years ago,no one was very much aware of the importance of higher education in the new course of engineering we are now noticing,the new course are all now geared to employment in software firms,so there is a more and more refinement of courses and what is more encouraging is the fact that the private sector has entered into this education sector in a big way.In fact,it is the private sector that is driving the change,no matter how much the government tries to do its bit.In fact, the minister of human development resources(HRD) is very short-sighted in its present activities.
It is fighting a losing battle,the OBC quota in the Supreme Court and outside,what this quota would do for the development of capabilities in the aspiring students.Precise little!
The public opinion is shifting away from the casteist politicians’s ideas,towards a more equitable approach with an economic criteria firmly in place.
Abolition or weakening of the caste system in education quotas must be the new principle.
So,whether we are puritans or not in education thinking,the society is already gearing up to get the best out of the system,yes,the capitation fee menace hasn’t gone away but then the system is correcting itself.Market forces play their role,so too the government’s regulatory agencies.
In a democracy with so much populist rhetoric,you cant have everything in your own way,too much puritanism doesn’t work in education.
So,there is a huge out turn of manpower,engineers,doctors and other qualified graduates.So too there is a migration.Yet,there is also a reverse trend.Many of the highly qualified and experienced doctors are returning home.
So,our high tech hospitals would benefit.
All this of course doesn’t mean the state has no role.
The question is how enlightened and how pro-active and what new vision that is driving the HRD ministry?
It is time the ministry has a new incumbent!
We need a new vision,a new morality,a new moral code!
Our democratic practices must be informed of great deal of political legitimacy.We have to create an open society,our political process must be more transparent and our conduct more justifiable on high moral principles!