Potential and Impact of Basic Public Services

The other day I met somebody from Australia, he had a proposition to bring to India, a day care franchise which is very popular there. He marketed the opportunity quoting, more dual income couples with children will require professional day care, after school is over and parents return from work. I requested an “immediate stop” to talk any more about the opportunity. I explained something fundamental to him. In Australia as the franchises are rolled out, there is an assumption of basic services being available, electricity, running 24*7 water, etc. at a reasonable price. Daycare needs basic clean water, to ensure kids have a clean environment, extra pure drinking water, sterlized toilet facilities. In India the water supply in locations, where franchises are planned, is not guaranteed and if the supply is regular, then the quality is suspect. In many situations water tankers have to be ordered to augment the government supply. So by the time you ensure clean water your cost structure has already vibrated a few times. How can you build a brand, which is basically a promise, to provide day care, when basic water supply will be a day to day struggle. My friends, I have not moved to electricity and other services.

This is the very reason, why India does not have branded low cost hotel chains, low cost healthcare, low cost branded restaurants. We have low cost hotels but they are not branded, do not promise any level of service. For the same price the city of Bangkok will provide rooms that provide 2-3 times the value. Thats why services that cost X in other countries start costing a factor of X in India, even when human service is far lower. Its unfortunate for many Indians, we pay pretty high taxes and get nothing in return. To ensure we get basic services we have to keep on hafta (on tab) many corrupt Indian government officials. For those looking to bring in models from other countries, please ensure you are ready to account for these additional costs and a long struggle. Infrastructure creates potential, society will harness it with entrepreneurs launching new services that will benefit the people.

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