Economy Photograph:( Reuters )
Innovative ideas to revive the Indian economy which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic
Attracting Businesses to India
If we have to put India’s markets and industry back in place, we will need strong investment from outside the country. The trust that people had in certain economies has been seriously eroded, and over 300 top companies in the world are looking for a new home, if not fully, at least partially. This is a great opportunity and India is eminently positioned to take advantage of this. This will need a very determined effort from the industry lobby, the businesses, and of course the government. How efficiently we do it and how hungrily we grab this will determine its success.
Tapping into our DNA of Innovation
Indians have always been patting our own backs, saying we are a very innovative society. This is the time to show how innovative we really are. There is no magic wand for the challenge that we are facing. All of us have to rethink the fundamentals of what we are doing. We must be ready to make enormous innovation. We must be willing to come down to the ground from whatever comfortable towers we are sitting on, and reinvent a lot of things. Unfortunately, over the last few decades, we have been left out of the economic development in the world, including Asia. We have to level that in the next three to five years.
Reviving Rural India
Statistics say that around 72 per cent of the world's investment is just in some thirty-odd cities in the world. It is quite natural for people from other areas to migrate there. In India, it was estimated that 220 million people will move from rural to urban India. You can imagine the plight of the cities if this happens. If we do not focus on spreading industry across the seven-hundred and odd districts in the country, migration will become too difficult to manage. The only way you can spread it is by taking it to rural India in some way. I understand that it is much more difficult because to get talent and train people in rural India takes much more. But if you do this now, the economy will be far more resilient. If ten years later another virus or something else comes our way, we will be able to sail through those things much better.
Business Opportunities in Agriculture
Right now, India is the only nation in the world where 60 per cent of the population still knows how to perform this magic of transforming mud into food. We are capable of growing food twelve months of the year, and we have the soil types, climatic conditions and latitudinal spread to grow almost any crop in the world. In the next five to ten years, if we do the right things, we can establish India as the breadbasket of the world. We need to focus on rural India. That is where the people are, that is where the land is and that is where India's wealth is.
Everyone does not have an academic mindset. They do not have to go to university. They have to learn other skills, innovations and a variety of disciplines. The industry needs skills. They can make a slightly long-term investment and train tenth standard children for their industry’s requirements. A certain amount of disruption will be there, but we must be willing to go through that. Only then will we unleash the potential of our youthful population.
We must set up a structure that by the time you are eighteen, either you must be going to a university or you must have some livelihood skills. If you do not have both, you must be conscripted into either the military or paramilitary or a one-year residential skill development institution. They must go through the discipline of becoming physically fit, mentally fit and disciplined enough to learn a skill and execute it. You will develop an enormous amount of skill in the country with this.
Turning Waste into Wealth
Right now for many polluting industries, there is a law in the country that they must set up their own treatment plants. That has been our biggest mistake because such treatment plants will only work on the inspection day! It is most important that a treatment industry grows in such a way that your effluent is my business and my raw material. Then I will make sure my raw material is always flowing and my business is to treat it. You can make the treatment industry very lucrative.
For domestic waste, as there is a charge for how much water or electricity you use, there must also be a charge for how much sewage you discharge. Today, there are many technologies to transform filth into wealth. If there is an economic value to it, people will not let it go waste.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)