The situation today is not nearly as dire as the one that India faced in 1991. But the plan it should adopt must be as courageous as the one it took then.
Bureaucracy and corruption need to be faced head on. Like a cancer the solution is targeted surgery that removes the diseased elements quickly.
India’s reliance on foreign oil is also an issue that can be readily addressed. The country has huge coal deposits, and by adopting South Africa’s coal to oil technologies, there is a ready solution. Joint ventures with the large oil conglomerates who are desperately looking for new partners and will happily provide the skills India needs to develop its oil and gas reserves, which the Boston Consulting Group believes are the world’s 15th largest.
Nehru, India’s first prime minister, had the dream of renewable energy 60 years ago, using hydro electric power. That dream must be renewed, together with India’s huge potential for other renewables.
The controversial subject of nuclear energy needs to be balanced against the county’s desperate need for more energy.
The overloaded rail system will benefit from the sophisticated software that makes Switzerland’s train network the envy of the rest of the world.
There is a growing belief that rail is more efficient than road. With it’s huge population, India needs to expand its rail network instead of succumbing to the vested interests of the motor industry that have polluted the air and clogged the roads in so many other countries.
Technology is changing education, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) offers an opportunity for India to find a solution to the challenges of trying to educate 230 million students.
The broadband network will have to be expanded so that the whole population has affordable connectivity. And the students will need to have inexpensive tablet computers, that India’s education department is already distributing, on which to work.
India has a huge unexploited potential for tourism. But it needs to learn how to treat its visitors well.
India’s business people have already proved their skill in the international markets. By allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country, they will be able to prove themselves at home.
India must swallow its pride and go to the markets to borrow the money it needs to invest in its economy. India’s government has taken a conservative view to borrowing, fearful that a dramatic drop in the value of the rupee will leave it unable to meet its debts. But the currency already reflects the world’s poor expectations. By surprising them, the country will be rewarded with a stronger currency and discounted debt. It will take a bit of courage, and strong leadership at the Indian Reserve Bank.
In Raghuram Rajan, India’s newly appointed head of the Reserve Bank, they have one of the world’s leading economists. In 2005 Rajan warned the world’s central bankers of the dangers of some of the new financial innovations. At the time they were a little disparaging of his views. Not so much now. No doubt he has quite a few of good ideas how to revive the Indian economy.
Let’s hope the Indians listen to him.
Getting team India to win again
Getting team India to win again – poverty
Getting team India to win again – infrastructure
Getting team India to win again – The 1991 financial crisis
Getting team India to win again – fiscal consolidation
A price worth paying
Ideas coming down the track
Out of the frying pan
The attack of the MOOCs
The screen revolution
Unleashing the Potential of Renewable Energy in India