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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
India needs to be taller and stronger
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
The Great Indian Dream, March 2012
 

Unless India can get a grip on infrastructure and network building and carry out the much needed reforms in a timely manner, it will loose out on its demographic dividends.

We get so used to reading comparisons of India against China that we take it for granted that these populous nations are really alike; yet on the dominant dimension - India is a democracy. Some in government might wish otherwise at times as parliament, regional governments and everyone else talks and talks, discusses, and gets nowhere even on important matters. The nation is facing, just like the rest of the world, an economic downturn - in its case it looks to a possible drop in growth to seven per cent from the expected nine per cent - which is seen by its bourgeoisie as a disaster.

Once I used to be provocative stating that India was not a large country; look it fits on an A4 page in an atlas! But now, having travelled extensively across its land I know otherwise. Yet travel itself could be made easier. Once again the democratic process hinders. The mass of poor people, ill-educated and mostly illiterate, do not possess their land-rights documents. These are needed to allow sales of land to the developers and to prevent the massive fraud that does take place when industry, or roads, railways or airports need to be built. Every development thus slows down hindering the broader economy. And even when good new roads are built, their dual carriageways are abused by allowing cattle and oversized and under-lit vehicles to dangerously occupy space, often on the wrong side of the barrier, causing havoc and far too many needless deaths. It is imperative that the basic Indian infrastructure is not just mended, but is also properly planned, initialised and joined-up. After that the secondary infrastructures can grow more easily - the important water delivery and sanitation infrastructures, the electricity distribution, new townships (not slums); and above all, coherent schooling for all children so they can escape the illiteracy trap and learn to be critical thinkers.

It is in fact almost too late to aid what will be a quarter of the world´s teenage population who, without growth in Indian manufacturing, will be out of work and thus grumbling if not demonstrating against their government. This is an international problem, not only Indian, and its cause goes back several generations of children... they were educated by rote although the brightest grew to learn of other things, the middle group learned to obey, and the dull were forgotten. The next generation of teachers were told by the old group of school governors to continue the rote learning so a new cohort of children did not benefit from any schooling aligned towards creativity. Meanwhile manufacturing was changing from mass employment to demand a higher educated group able to think and control the operations of more complex machinery and soon these machines became automated requiring well-trained programmers to creatively control them; business bosses complained that the school-leavers, even university graduates, were under-trained and not fit for purpose in this modern world. We must not blame the school governors of yesteryear as the mechanisation and digitilisation of everything could not have been forecasted - but they could have insisted on teaching creativity and critical thinking rather than rote-learning. India and the world face a grave issue on this front.

Interdependence upon both hard and soft infrastructures has been affected by a rapid fall in inward investment - it is at a five-year low reflecting the continued global volatility since the US financial difficulties of 2006 onwards which affected all of us. But it also reflects on critical business issues in India - its inflation and its inability to pass anti-corruption laws. The Lokpal bill against corruption, pressed by the 12-day hunger strike last August by Anna Hazare, looked set to be passed, but finally did not become law. Investors still cannot judge how effective their plans will be given the inflation (at 7 - 9 percent which is the higher than most other developing nations) and the rampant corruption which together erode planned returns on investment. Unfortunately some of their new investment might have been aimed at production for the European market place which is itself undergoing a radical depression - thus like the proverb '... a butterflies´ wings flapping in...' So, problems outside India´s control affect issues inside; especially relating to industrial growth and longterm jobs. Happily the rupee seems to have recovered somewhat following sharp falls in 2011.

I think I am inclined to agree with many Indiawatchers; the nation needs to press ahead with reforms, despite the acrimonious discussions by opposition parties against any and all such actions. Perhaps when the Assembly elections due through 2012 would end, especially in the populous Uttar Pradesh region, the government can take firm action. Unless India can get a grip on its needed infrastructure building and connecting, and the many reforms affecting its economy it will lose out on its demographic dividends. Over the next few years it will have more young people entering work, and despite my reflections above on the poor education systems globally, India has a relatively good basic system with most children able to communicate in English and Hindi. They can offer a great opportunity to transform India into a cheap-labour producer for world capitalism through tax cuts, deregulation, privatisation and other pro-investor policies. But only if parliamentarians agree that India Inc. is more important than fisticuffs and bickering; such images on the world´s TV channels do not inspire investor confidence.

 

Frank-Jürgen Richter is the Founder and Chairman of Horasis - a global business community. The views expressed in the article are personal and do not reflect the official policy or position of the organisation.


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