When I moved back in 2003, India was a country that held a lot of promise. A promise to be the next IT global super power, a military super power, a economy that in a couple of decades will be the second largest economy. On budget day 2011, Pranab Mukherjee quoted that India will overtake China by 2050. The India story is often overhyped: India this, India that, India will become this and India will become that, claims that have lot of noise well laced with deception. Many and I for one believed this story. A story that has more rhetoric than substance, more potential than reality, more deception than honesty. Question remains, at this juncture what is the real future of this country. What is really needed is a solid foundation that unleashes a bright future.
It all starts at the top, where we have a very weird situation. A honest Prime Minister who leads the most corrupt government. If you take a moment and think, this is really absurd absurd! Have you ever heard of an honest leader with dishonest followers ? Or a honest CEO with dishonest employees. This is the kind of garbage that is generated daily and consumed. Very few challenge the status quo, half of Indian poor and illiterate struggling for the next meal, a middle class struggling to make ends meet, the rich relishing their real estate gains. Even I was ranting and raving but it caught up with me one day when I started questioning myself ? should I really participate in this raving and ranting, am i doing justice to myself and others ?
If one starts peeling the onion, the well lit India story starts to fade. FDI has fallen significantly last year and rightly so. Some of my friends who run global hedge funds have indicated that Indian allocations have fallen down. Many Indian companies have started investing abroad. Indian capital is fleeing Indian shores instead of global capital entering Indian shores. It is illegal Indian money that finds a way into India and illegal money supports illegal activities.
I am not saying all is lost because i still believe there are good and honest people in India. I still go back to Pratyush SInha, former CVC head’s observation that 20% of this country is utterly honest. This 20% is not a small number of people, that is 240 million honest people who should be encouraged and empowered. I was told by the son of a senior army officer that even if the person appointed to the Indian army canteen ( supplies everything from food, durables and liquor to army personnel) is honest, he will be removed by implicating false charge on him. However if he is dishonest he will be duly encouraged, to collect bribes and distribute. This is just one example and if this is the case, can you imagine a country that promotes corrupt people to positions of power ever make progress.
India is full of noise: rhetoric, false claims, rosy stories and deception. If you want anything done in India you have to first find competent and honest people. Honest because they will tell you the true story with no agenda, who will keep the interest of the country first, company second and themselves last.
I am convinced this 9% growth means nothing. If competent honest people are not protected and promoted, the India story will continue to deceive the world. For if money is lost nothing is lost but if character is lost everything is lost.