Wealth creation is a hard exercise than equitable distribution of wealth. It is deplorable to berate wealth creators only because of demographics. A society is served for centuries by one man or one woman who creates wealth and engages in the vocation of creating wealth. The process creates jobs for people, starting with a single digit to 6 or more digits. It is the result of ideas and their application, highly advanced skills to convert those ideas into production facilities, creating wealth in the process. Such persons need support and facilities to proceed with their ventures without the slightest of disruption, dislocation and distraction. It means a pro-active government which encourages ideas, development, entrepreneurship, projects, production, supply, distribution, employment, profits, prosperity, growth, investments, diversification and complementarity with other means of production and wealth creation.
The existing system is anti-entrepreneur, wealth creation, profit, investment and reward for it all by way of profit. Old ideas of treating wealth as just an illusion which needs to be abhorred. It has been further compounded by mistaken ideas of socialism, particularly in practice. The British Raj tendency of maximum exploitation for maximum revenue generation has been further aggravated by decadent democratic corruption of the kind unseen in the more than 5000 years history of India. Nobody comes forward to encourage the model of wealth creation portrayed in the foregoing beyond hollow promises for vote bank purposes.
Income tax, GST, Excise, Customs and hundreds of known and unknown kind of taxes kill enterprises faster than they are born. The provisions of the law are so elaborate and complex than an issue worth a few thousand rupees costs lakhs in court and lawyer fees besides wasting precious business time of the entrepreneur. It leads to unethical practices and acts as a disincentive for honest work culture and wealth creation. What is more important for a vast country like India: tonnes of law books and millions of case law pages or thousands of enterprises engaged in wealth creation?
The most unwanted influence of incompetent rulers has made every single wealth creator a dishonest person always living under fear. Only the lawless can prosper in India- many would say.
That does not inspire dreams to make India a developed country, an economic superpower and a prosperous nation.
India has to reveal its plans for realizing its dream. Is it some alternative to the model adopted by India after independence?
Without a new Industrial Policy Resolution or policy laying down the contours clearly, imagining achievements is no more than mere dreams.
Unless the government thinks big, the problems of under-development, unemployment, growth and poverty will continue with marginal improvements only whereas the need of the hour is to think anew the large industrial projects of the early decades of independence, the superb growth of small scale industries with equal attention paid to tiny, macro, household, cottage, village and khadi industries.
On the one hand was a moderate growth perspective with large scale employment but low incomes and on the other was competing with the industrialised countries. It was not one man or one woman’s job. It was the pooling of available talent, import of technology and machinery and pro-active efforts of the governments at the centre and states. One advantage was the single party rule in the country. Growth was spurred by zeal and fervour all around and a climate of clean administration. The result was industrial growth, green revolution, white revolution with government incentive for growth in every potential area.
India’s progress in information technology was a direct outcome of such government incentives.
Are we thinking of some better model? What is on offer? A country as vast as India needing millions of jobs every year needs big projects capable of generating that kind of growth and wealth creation.
India needs Microsofts, Apples, Huaweis and many such enterprises and entrepreneurs. But can the country guarantee a government capable of facilitating such projects and entrepreneurs, aware of the community of rent seekers in every nook and corner of the government and its agencies?
First develop that kind of a government and thereafter only dream of realising every aspiration. History of post-independence India is witness to the manipulations in imports of capital goods and raw material. Junk second hand machinery and discarded technology were imported which stalled the progress of the country. Import of wheat under PL-480 symbolises those times and morality. Things are unlikely to change unless that changes down to the grass roots level. And there is small possibility of that. An honest prime minister may not have many colleagues to support that approach and the sufferers of such an honesty only wait for the times to change. Just re-assess the two period (1999-2004) and (2004-2014) and compare the ethical standards of the two and the benefits and damage to the country by the two kinds of governments- one clean and the other tainted.
Before India becomes a world Guru or Viswa Guru, let it become a viswa Shishya or world learner. Since we failed to utilise all our scientific and technological talent, we exported it. Their talent was used by the host countries, which gave them best payments (not constrained by civil servants’ salaries) and working environment with full freedom to experiment, innovate and develop their ideas into products and services. The list of expatriate Indians earning good name abroad is long. India has to start paying for talent as DRDO and government R&D facilities alone will not fill the bill. If India starts it now, it will show results in next 24 months.
We are insensitive and inconsiderate in wasting scarce resources. Our students are deprived of good education, making them unemployable. It is no wisdom to educate a child for 18 years and then find that s/he is unemployable. This attitude wastes our high achievements in many fields. What makes us proud also makes us miserable at the same time.
What was done to the Air India/Indian Airlines is symbolic in every field, developed with the sweat and blood of the people of India, paralysed by dishonest politicians. Public services and production facilities were deliberately administered slow poison to vacate the line for exploitation by crony capitalists who also poached trained, highly skilled and high integrity public servants by paying them double, triple or more emoluments and facilities than by the government. Then they advertised their name and fame to get clients, charged exorbitantly, rigged tax laws, made windfall profits which they shared with the corrupt prime minister/chief minister, ministers and bureaucrats, seeding nurseries of corruption that would be difficult to eradicate. Today India faces that crisis. Thinking big as dreamt needs a workforce of volunteers, who are prepared to render service rather than working for wages.
India needs brain gain- whether expatriates or foreigners. It needs to properly identify items that can establish world leadership in that particular line. That alone will create the kind of opportunities we seek to provide jobs to educated youth at such huge numbers. The gaps are known, only freedom of action is required.
Indiscriminate sell off or closure of public sector enterprises (PSU/PSEs) creates a reasonable doubt about the logic of doing so. Has the need been met otherwise from private sector or imports? Has the demand dried up? Are imports cheaper or of superior quality? Is there an attempt to vacate the space for private sector cronies to exploit like in Air India, Indian Airlines, MTNL, BSNL, NTC etc?
Why can’t the private sector enter on its own without swallowing the PSU? Are we unable to manage the violent trade unionism and are seeking an escape route? Are we assured of adequate availability of the goods and services in the sector at reasonable prices and of good quality? Simply closing down public sector Units/enterprises is no big idea. The big idea is to establish bigger units of superior quality to meet the demand without artificial scarcity giving an opportunity to exploit shortages and make windfall profits. India must think for the next 30 years now.
Globally, the period 2020 through 2050 is going to be a great churning one as industrial Revolution 4.0 comes to dominate major production processes. Major technological doldrums are expected as artificial intelligence replaces most machines and reduces human intervention. Economic standards in India are as varied as the climate: extreme poverty to sickening opulence at any given point of time like temperatures varying from -17 degrees to 50 degree (freezing on one end and scorching on the other).