Thursday, July 29, 2004

California Living in Chennai

Just a couple of random thoughts on your blog from – Rajesh Shah
- i think that the IT boom was pretty deliberate thru gov't and leadership guidance. a focus on providing lots of resources (read land, water, electricity) to that sector rather than agriculture, farming, poverty, etc.

- its great that you see the need to get 300M+ people out of abject poverty to some quality of living. just looking at the land availability and all the resourses (wood, fuel, ...) do you think we can get the californian lifetyle out to them or even a fraction of them? is that suburban low density living model feasible in india?


Rajesh, thanks for your comments…. Here are my thoughts on the above.

IT Boom
I certainly would like to believe that it was Indian Governments visionary leadership that led to the current IT boom (in tier-I cities only).  But, the stories that I read and hear seem to contradict that.  Forget the perennially water starved city like Chennai, even in the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore, Companies like Wipro & InfoSys have to create their own infrastructure for basic utilities like water, electricity and sewage.  There have been stories about how large companies create their own eco-system to support their operations.  In fact, last year there was public spat between Azim Premji (Wipro Chief) and SM Krishna (former Chief Minister of Karnataka) about frequent electricity grid failures.

I am not fan of Chinese government or its political leaders, however, I am awed at the kind of growth and prosperity they were able to achieve and improve the lives of common man.

California Living
India and USA are a study in contrast in terms of availability of resources and population.  While India boasts a population of about 3 to 4 times to that of USA, it has only 1/3 of the land mass of USA.  Because of this and other factors, it is neither practical nor feasible to import ‘California Living’.  Also, I don’t feel the kind of urban sprawl we see in US is the right model for any place.  (We / Americans consume far too much energy)  However, I do want to see a qualitative difference in the lives of the majority Indians in some of the very basic necessity areas like Roti, Kappda Aur Makhan. 

While the IT boom has definitely helped the middle class in tier-I cities, it has left behind large chunks Indians.  But, I do see some hopeful signs, besides the IT industry, other industries like Pharmaceutical, manufacturing seem to be making their presence felt (albeit in a very small way) in the world market.  Hyundai India, Maruti Suzuki, TVS & Hero Honda are now exporting their Cars and motorcycles and Dr. Reddys is a big player in the generic drug Industry.

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