GN Bureau | April 4, 2013
Mr. Adi Godrej, Mr. S. Gopalakrishnan, Ajay Sriramji, Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, leaders of business in industry , Friends. Its an honor for me to be here today and I'd like to begin by telling you why its an honor for me. See there is a tendency to look at India as a country In our everyday life we see India as a national structure but if you go back go back slightly more than that go back 100 years, 200 years you'll find that India actually is energy, it is a force. If you go back a 1000 years 2000 years you'll find that force came from our rivers- Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati..we worshipped these rivers. The reason we worshipped them because that was where our energy came from and everything we had was built on those rivers. Now we have gone way beyond that we have built structures that are allowing this energy to rise, to explode and its an honor for me to be here because as this energy moves from India and goes abroad you are the cutting edge. You are the people on the first line and you are the people who are our ambassadors , you are the people who tell the people what this energy is about. Over the last couple of years you have done a tremendous job. The image of India has changed. I went to University in 1991 (scratches his nose) and I remember nobody thought of India (nods head side to side). I remember conversations where people would laugh and say look you know do you have elephants on the road. nobody is saying that now and a huge part of that is because of you. So I'd like to thank you and I'd like to tell you that its a big honor for me to be here adressing you. Pause (Claps) I think the way its going to work is that I'm going to give a little speech and we gonna have questions right.. so It was a dark night some years ago when my team and I got onboard Manayatilak express... Spoke to a young muslim boy setting out to start his life. He had no idea what work he was going to do. I asked him, boss what happens if you reach Mumbai and there is nothing for you to do. If I reach Mumbai and there is nothing for me to do I'll get in a train I'll go to Bangalore. Thats the spirit of this country forward moving, brave what struck me about that train was the optimism these were poor people weak people but not one of them was pesimistic. They were sitting there saying Haa bhaya kaam ho jaiga. Naukri mil Jaigi and they were all struggling and this optimism for me is just like India. Its bursting with dreams and fearless ideas, brave ideas and as I thurteled towards Mumbai I sat there looking at this trainand wondering how many of these dreams will actually be fulfilled. By the time we reached Mumbai we had made friends with Girish the carpenter and he told us come and see where I live. We thought thats an interesting thiong to do, we had come alll the way from Gorakhpur and we thought that lets see what this little migrant young migrant is doing. 4'oclock in the morning walk off into the gullies of Bombay monsoon season with feets going into puddles an dthen he opens the door. Little room ..probably this size (gestures to his left with drwan hands) twice the size of the table. Six people sleeping inside, they get up. All of them are migrants, all of them have done that little journey, all of them have their dream. We had a little chat very smart fellow an enterpreneur like all of you except he had the empty pockets and he says come to the chaiwala . We go to the chaiwaala there is 5- 6 of us and he buys us all tea and he insisted that nai me to karidooga hi. That is the spirtit of this country, millions and millions and millions of youngsters struggling everyday with optimism and the story of his, the story of Girish exemplifies the Indian idea of empowerment, it exemplifies the Indian worker the Indian enterpreneur. And as we talk here, a billion people are breaking their shackles, they are coming out and they claiming their place in the sun. India's home to the largest pool of human capital the world has ever known and probably will ever know. And it is this movement of people this tremendous movement of people and ideas that is going to define this country in the 21st century. It is this energy that is producing your best managers. Its driving the stock markets, and its the energy providing labor for all your factories. It drives the consumption upon which your businesses are built. Democracy and technology have triggered a non reversable chain reaction in India. This reaction is now unstopable, nobody can stop it. We have to channel this reaction. We are now sitting on an unstoppable tide of human aspiration. A tide so great that it is going to move forward regardless of what we do. But for this massive movement of people and ideas to be truly transformational we need to nuture it. We need to make it harmonious, we need to make it happen smoothly. We need to use the energy geenerated by this movement of people and ideas , the force that this is generating and we need to use it to enable this unprecedented movement of people and ideas This infrastructure needs to connect India. It needs to connect Indian villages, it needs to connect Indian cities and it needs to connect India to the rest of the world. We have to provide the roads on which our dreams are paved and these roads they can't have potholes, they can't break down in 6 months. They have to be big roads beacuse they are going to carry strong people they are gonna carry strong forces. We have to provide the ports from which our ideas will set sail we have to provide electricity that will light up our future. Government can't build this infrastructure alone we need your help. It has to be built jointly and together we will find a model where capital is used efficiently and without delay. It is critical that the business environment of this dynamic infrastructure is stable and predictable. SEcondly, people were not the only thing moving on that train ideas moved with them and in the 21st century we need to make ideas move fast. We need to agressively build a knowledge infrastructure that will support this massive flow of ideas. Together we must ensure that our knowledge, education and skills define the global standard. It is not good enough for us to say we want to be like them. They have to say we want to be like India. Pause (Applaude) Certainly we have the scenes of a world class education system, its there but its small needs t be expanded. but that alone is not going to be enough. Today we are mortaging ou future because large parts of our education and trainign are based on defunct ideas. Ideas that are no longer relevant. The reality is that a lot of the youngsters in the Gorakpur Lokmanya tilak express were not trained so are quite difficult for you to employ. You understand this best because you spend enermous amounts of time and money , hard earned money to train them. Our problem is not joblessness its a lack of rtaining and skills. Why should a mother sleep at night worrying whether her brilliant child will find a school to go to. Why is it that a degree from Harvard cost the same as a capitation fees of a medical college in Lucknow. Why are our students forced to study obsolete things? I am a pil;ot. I learnt to fly in the United States, I came back and I wanted to convert my licence. SO I went to the DGCi and said what do I have to do. They gave me the curriculae, I opened the book. Large section in the book, HOw to drop mail from aeroplanes. How many of you how many of you are getting your mail dropped from aeroplane in the sky? I..Its been a long time since I got that but we are teaching it to our kids. Guy is flying a A 340 loos out and they telling him listen you need to know how to drop mail from planes. And this is not only in pilot training its everywhere. Look at our textbooks, open them out most of the stuff is not really relevant to what they going to do. Who knows what they going to do , you know what you going to do. Why..because you goig to give them the jobs. YOu are the ones who are going to emply them. Do you have a role in our edication curriculum? Do we ask you? Do we? Does someone come to you and say listen what do you think?Does it happen? I am asking.. Does it happen systemetically? Do you have structures in Unoiversities , not individual relationships but structures in universities that allow you to impart what the IIT is teaching. Do you? Its a question.. You dont. Those are the type of structures we have to build. OUr university structures are closed. I meet these guys they are brilliant guys absolutely brilliant but a university today is a network , its no longer a sylo. The network has to be connected to the industry. it has to take input from industry. Thats not happening. I tell you a story friend of mine comes from the United States and he wanted to do some engineering work and he asked me whats a good place to go and I said go to the IITs..5 0r 6 years ago. I said go to the IITs and ask professors there. He goes to the IIT, speaks to a professor. Professor solves the problem for him and he comes out and he says to me this is very interesting and that guy is a brilliant fellow. He solved my problem for me and I said so whats wrong with that and he said well you know he just charged me a couple of thousand rupees. So I said..so well that thing that he solved for me is actually worth 30 thousand dollars. This guy has no idea about what his value is he's got no idea about what he is worth. why.. because he is not connected to the market. He doesn't understand what the market is ready to pay him. He does but institutionally he doesn't. SO we have to change some of this stuff. For the young, the difference between aspiration and empowerment is basically a job. I go tot he rural areas and the bottom line is a job everything else goes around it. Education but its all done to support jobs and thats where you guys come in. You are the people who are going to take the lead for the creation of jobs. What we have to do, what the government has to do is we have to improve the playing field and create an impartial professional and rules based governance system. I have spoken to you about what we need to do to nurture this movement of people. I'd also like to tell you about what I feel threatens this movement of people. What is it that we should worry about? What are the things that can go wrong.. Lack of infrastructure clearly one, lack of knowledge infrastructure another one but for me the biggest danger is excluding people. Excluding the poor, excluding the middle class excluding the tribals the dalits and I'm gonna tell you why... Whenever we have not embraced the excluded; women, the minorities, the dalits, tribals we have always fallen backwards President Kennedy famously said, that a rising tides raises all boats. I oversee a women self approved movement in my constituency and in Uttar Pradesh and I was chatting to them once, I told them this, you know the president of United States he said that a rising tide raises all boats. The woman looks at me and she said Rahul bhaiahumare paas to naaw hi nahi hai. A risen tide doesn't rise people who don't have a boat. We have to help them build a boat. Its not good enough to raise the tide. We have to give them basic infrastructure to rise with the tide. What is the basic infrastructure? (Applause) What is the basic infrastructure? The basic infrastructure as designed by the UPA is a rights based paradigm. Give everybody the basic minimum on a number of key ideas. Give him a basic minimum on the job front, give him a basic minimum on the education front, give him a basic minimum o the information which is what Nandan is doing. That is what we are trying to do with the rights based approach. The rights based approach is important because it allows people to move, it builds this movement. One of the biggest problem poor people have is identification. If you go to a village, the village knows each other. Everybody in the village knows each other uska bhai hai, us uski behn hai. When the villager leaves the village he looses all that information and nobody else has it. So a lot of the ideas that we have are designed to support the movement and make it smooth and more comfortable for people who are going to move. And as I said earlier, this movement is what is driving everything. It is what is driving your business. Let me go back to the women for a bit. (looks for his script..pause) ya..let me go back to the women. They told me they have no boats, i have lost it now...okay.. (find his script) They told they have no boats but the work the women do. They work millions of women undertake everyday. Not the poor ones, not rich ones every single one of them. The work they do right now as we sitting here in this nice ACed hall. They building not only our boats, they are the wave. They not only building boats, they're the waves. And I for one will not speak of growth without speaking of them. OUr economic vision must be of more than money. It must be about compassion You must envision a future for India that leaves no man and no woman outside in the shadow. Embracing the excluded is essential to the wealth of the nation. If we do not embrace them we will all suffer. Its very simple In a democracy, the poor have a veto. And we have to carry the poor and the weak with us. India will only move forward with inclusive growth that embraces everyone and is open and attainable to those inside this room and those very very far outside. Now there is a strong connection between harmony and growth. I spoke about this energy and this movement. and there is two ways this movement can go, it can go harmoniously or it can go disrupted and the idea of the Congress party is that it should go harmoniously. Everybody should move forward together happily. There is a strong connection between harmony and growth. India has grown faster under the UPA because we have greatly lowered tensions between communities, made growth more inclusive and fostered an environment of tolerance and harmony. Anger, hatred and prejudice do not contribute to growth. Do not under estimate the benefits of harmony when you play the politics of alienating communities you stop the flow of movement of people and ideas. And when that happens we all sufer. businesses suffer. The seeds of disharmony are sown and the dreams of our people are severely disrupted. Once begun, this damage take s a very long time to reverse, it is very dangerous to leave people behind. Inclusive growth is a win win for everybody. We in the Congress party have been systematically working on creating modern political infrastructure that provides people with voice. BY lifting people out of poverty using our Rights approach we are smoothening out a lot of these flows. As we move forward to meet these challenges we must remember that we have a tendency in India to think about solving all our problems in commentary. This is a mistake. There are some problems that require exponential solutions. Whenever India has done well it has done so not by incremental steps but by radically transforming infrastructures. Look at our revolutions, from the green revolution to the white revolution to the IT and telecoms revolution. All those successes were the results of exponential thinking. we are a brave young country that breakout of the incremental mode of movements and get into the mode of generational shifts. Lets stop wondering how many colleges we can build and lets start discussing what we can do so that the very idea of a college, the idea of an university is transformed. This may sound idealistic to you But I am speaking very seriously from India's experience.
When Dharmendra Pandey, a fruit-seller had to leave Mumbai after the imposition of the lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, and return to his village in Uttar Pradesh, he was staring at economic uncertainties ahead. Little did he know that his 16-year-old son, Mahavir, had acquired skills that would come
Wearing a face mask is the first line of defence against the novel coronavirus, along with maintaining social distance and frequently washing hands with soap. More than six months after the outbreak of Covid-19, nearly 90 percent of people in India have become aware of the necessity of wearing a face mask,
Is India finally gaining an upper hand over the Covid-19 pandemic? After weeks of new cases hitting 90,000-plus every day, the tide seems to be turning, as the number came down to 75,083 on Tuesday, and the recoveries were not only higher than that but crossed the 1 lakh mark too. The countr
Sit Your Self Down A Novice’s Journey into the Heart of Vipassana By Gayatri Jayaraman Hachette India, 212 pages, Rs 399 As stress and strife increase in daily life, more and more people are turning to meditation as an all
On completion of one year of the chairmanship of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB), the Election Commission (EC) of India on Monday hosted an international webinar on the theme of “Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during COVID-19 : Sharing Country
Sections of the news media have degenerated into becoming the pet performing poodle of the government, says Manish Tewari, former information and broadcasting minister and a member of the Lok Sabha. In a webinar chat with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, on Friday as part of the Vis