Ten ideas for a better India


I came across a contest on HarperCollins India for Ten ideas for the next twenty years of India and was tickled enough to bring out my own list, but after completion I realised that mine were not ‘ideas’ but what I thought were catalysts for change. So instead of submitting the list to the contest, I have posted it here. Feel free to comment, debate and share your ideas.

1. Pass the Lokpal Bill

Self-explanatory. The biggest problem our country filled with potential is facing is graft and political anarchy. I take the liberty of calling it anarchy because a nation run by money-laundering rascals, misogynists and religious criminals with no vision or desire to serve the people is fit to be called anarchy (and I do not single out any political party here. One is worse than the other).

2. Treat eve-teasing as a criminal offence awarded with heavy fine or imprisonment

This includes self-appointed moralists who take it upon themselves to beat up women because they do not fit their bill of ‘Indian culture’. It’s high time someone taught these bastards some culture. A heavy fine and imprisonment might go a long way in curbing the animalistic, sex-deprived street behaviour of Indian men and give women the courage to lodge complaints.

3. Make rape and marital rape non-bailable offences awarded with life imprisonment and revealing a rape victim’s identity a criminal offence

Rape laws in India are chauvinistic at best and so moderate a hardened rapist could easily slip through their grasp. A tough sentence could act as a deterring force.

4. Make sex-education compulsory in all schools

I cannot stress this enough. The moral police could go fly a kite in the filth of their own ignorance and patriarchal tribal values.

5. Make it impossible for a candidate with criminal records to contest elections and set a minimum educational bar of a graduate degree to contest state and national assemblies

Education does not mean knowledge but it does go a long way in opening up the mind to the world and better representation of an emerging India.

6. Introduce a benefit scheme for small-time farmers and BPL families providing them a (realistic) monthly package of money/ration and free education for the children

This might have been thought of and implemented ‘on paper’ but it’s time India tagged along the poorest of the poor and the farmers who feed us on the path of progress and of course their children have a birth-right to education. Considering the amount of tax payer’s money being hoarded in Swiss banks, we can afford this.

7. Implement a ‘One child only’ rule

Controversial, yes; against individual rights, yes but it’s the need of the hour if India has any hope of limiting the population explosion.

8. Build world-class training facilities for rural, athletic and national sports (basically all other sports side-lined by cricket) in every district

Refer to my post India at the London Olympics

9. Build enough public toilets or provide portable loos and make public-urination and littering an offence that will be heavily fined

Self-explanatory. It’s time we stopped ignoring the mess around us and got working.

10. Metro links in all Tier 1 cities, High speed rails connecting the country with on-board loos that do not open on to the tracks

Yes, Indian Railways is a profit-making entity and operates a huge fleet but if you think about the population Vs transport infrastructure ratio we are way behind optimal facilities. And the loos well, haven’t we all pinched our noses shut within a kilometre radius of railway tracks?

Now I am well aware that this list does not cover everything that can be done for a better India. I have not mentioned the dire need for us to stop being IT service slaves of the West and the need for entrepreneurship (but you can read my thought on the topic here) or Caste and Religious issues or environmental concerns. I would also like to write in length on gender inequality and women’s issues in our country in another post, another day, till then I think this will do.  Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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Indian Entrepreneurship in doldrums


Recently while surfing the net for reading material on Venture Capital in India, I came across an interesting article.(http://www.sramanamitra.com/articles/venture-capital-in-india/)

In the article the author describes how the committed capital chasing India is abundant but that in today’s India, the commodity in short supply is good entrepreneurs. Bulls eye!

The arguments enumerated by the author are very convincing. Take for instance these paragraphs- “Historically, India has been the world’s back-office. Consequently, the skill-set that has developed in India is that of engineering management and coding. The specifications are provided by teams elsewhere. Elsewhere, the market studies get done. Indian managers do not understand global technology markets. They have hardly had opportunity to learn this aspect of business. Entrepreneurs try to position products without knowledge of the product marketing discipline.
The natural instinct for Indian entrepreneurs is to build outsourcing services companies. BPO. Software Development. Chip Design. Those ventures take less capital, and become revenue generating fast. None of the Operating Loss period of a pure play product company is necessary, and hence, venture capital is also unnecessary.”

Juxtapose this situation against the entrepreneurship boom in China that we are hearing so much about. China has today become the second most influential economy in the world and it is an open secret that the Chinese government’s move to mobilize its working population towards entrepreneurship has a big role to play in what China has grown to become today. From an over-populated poor country to a country that can make the US President Bow to its wills-quite literally!

Yet year after year a talented pool of Indian youth bred to set their minds on corporate jobs in multinational firms pass out from professional colleges and universities in India, with their eyes set on the 5-6 figure salaries that they can lay their hands on in these MNCs, opening the door for a grand lifestyle. There are very few who dare to take the road less travelled-that of the entrepreneur!

Skip to the scene in China again, the country that is pushing India up the wall be it in trade, economy, growth or muscle power in international relations- border dispute included! The dragon has the largest pool of entrepreneurs today and is soon set to overtake India in having the largest English speaking population.

Holding the mirror to the difference between the 2 countries is a reality show titled Win in China where the best entrepreneur is the winner, the winner receiving nearly $1.5 million dollars to invest in their new business plan. Win in China is more than a lucrative business plan competition – it is an opportunity for the government to educate, motivate and inspire the latent entrepreneurial talent in the most populous nation on earth.

Have you seen this in India, a country where every possible reality show finding success abroad is aped?! Of course we Indians only like to watch dramatic marriage hunts and celebrities bitching about each other in the reality shows!

Throwing more light on the scenario is a documentary #WinInChina that uses the world’s largest and most lucrative business-plan competition –Win in China– as the metaphor to explore the radical cultural changes taking place in China and the surge of Chinese entrepreneurs, to consider the implications for the rest of the world.

The documentary directed by Robert A. Compton, the Executive Producer of the Two Million Minutes series on global education describes how in the 30 years since Mao’s death, China has evolved from deep poverty to the second largest economy in the world – quietly lifting 400 million people out of abject poverty.

The documentary shows Chinese capitalism in its rawest form. Beneath the game show’s surface lies a nuanced, subtle view of Chinese business practices, ambitions, ethical norms and competitive behaviors.

The timing of the documentary couldn’t have been more apt, what with India looking more like a sitting duck for the Chinese onslaught with every passing day!