Month: January 2008

  • A wishlist for 2008

    So as 2008 begins, I present to you my wishlist for the new year. This is all fantasy—none of these wishes may actually come true this year. But they give us something to aim for, and hopefully we’ll get there one day—and truly be a free country. It’s a long list, and I’m sure any reader of Pragati could easily double it. There is so much to do, and so little will. And yet, it is important to keep shouting from the rooftops what India needs to fix, and Pragati will continue to do just that. Are you with us?

  • Pakistan zindabad!

    India’s long-term interests therefore call for New Delhi to insist on strengthening state institutions vis-à-vis the military establishment now, at a time when outside powers are interested in Pakistan’s stability. Even as India engages President Musharraf bilaterally, a separate multilateral process will allow it to pursue other imperatives of the stabilisation process.

  • Regaining the horizon

    These, however, are matters to be addressed by those who practice foreign policy and are more in the technical realm. The larger issue is to regain the policy horizon that shrunk after the Nehru years. At that time India had a large influence in world affairs for the wrong set of reasons. Today when the right reasons exist, there seems to be no will to go where we have been before.

  • Sovereign, wealthy and ready to invest

    India should insist on reciprocity in investment access, and in other economic opportunities in the countries of origin of the SWFs, while participating in shaping an international code of conduct for them. The aim should be to retain policy autonomy and flexibility so as not to undermine India’s medium-term technological choices and growth options.

  • The new citizens

    The answer lies in the increasing urbanisation of the voter. The urban voter is more likely to make up his mind by watching television. It is less likely that the choice is mediated by caste leaders. It is more likely that this citizen cares one way or the other about national level issues, such as industrial policy and national security. This citizen is more likely to directly engage with a leader from another state. It is of course a tautology that urban voters are more likely to care about urban issues.

  • Quick to blame IT

    This attempt to associate the IT success story with Nehruvian institution-building capabilities can be quickly debunked by pointing out that not many of those who pioneered the low-cost, offshore centric Indian IT emerged from the IITs. At the other end of the spectrum, analysis of the educational demographics of the foot soldier of the industry, the quintessential software programmer, would point to not less than 80 percent of them drawn from private engineering colleges and science colleges

  • Claiming a piece of the future

    For India to become a global leader, it needs to leverage its domestic market. Companies can build scale targeting users (or businesses) in India, and then use that to go international. In recent times, we have seen Suzlon do this in the alternative energy industry. To answer the question about which areas India can lead in, it is important to first understand the past and then envision tomorrow's world.