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India: A land of frozen potential

Sudhansu R Das, Nov 21, 2012 :

India has not won even a bronze  medal in the Olympic hockey in the last 32 years.

India with a healthy financial system with $ 296.291 billion foreign exchange reserves, more than 3000 rivers and rivulets, 24 agro climatic zones, huge mineral deposit, hundreds of precious minor forest products, craft skill to add high value to gold and silver, tourism potential, 121 crore population and world’s third largest pool of technical manpower is still limping among the poor nations. Though the government has focused on investment, trade, savings and scale of production, it has failed to build human resources required for nation building.

Indians perform to their full potential in developed nations and contribute to their economic growth. Today Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) has 30,000 doctors of Indian origin out of total 80,000. According to the human resources development ministry’s revelation in the Rajya Sabha as many as 12 per cent of scientists and 38 per cent of doctors in the US are Indians. In the Nasa, 36 per cent or almost 4 out of 10 scientists are Indians. Majority of students in premier professional institutions want to work in developed nations for intellectual growth opportunities, expertise, pay package, skill and quality life.

Lack of a leader

Why Indians have become a frozen potential in their home country?  Over decades, only three Indian films, Mother India, Salaam Bombay and Lagaan have been short listed for Oscar award in foreign film category. We have produced only four Indian born Nobel Laureates in the past centuries. The world’s largest democracy does not have a mass leader whose voice can inspire 120 crore people. 

India’s economic crisis of the ’90s happened due to government’s internal debt, soaring oil price, massive loan waivers, loan melas, poor project appraisals, social sector subsidy and inability to make value addition to precious minerals etc. Small nations like South Korea, Sinagpore, Thailand and Hong Kong had overtaken India in developing high end products.

Even today political economists recommend social sector schemes despite knowing that more than 75 per cent of the money leak out to political affiliates. This has created a mass of idle energy and entrepreneurship loss among people. People after getting 35 kg food grains per month at Rs 2 per kg are reluctant to work as farm labour. Non-availability of agriculture labour is the biggest threat to India’s food security. Surplus food can be distributed in the region where people have little option to earn their bread during natural calamities.

Since Paris Olympic in 1900, Indians have so far won only 26 Olympic medals.  The winner of eight Olympic hockey gold India has not won even a bronze medal in the Olympic hockey in the last 32 years. Unfortunately many state governments shower crores of rupees on single medal winners instead of improving their rag tag sports infrastructure. Ninety percent of badminton enthusiasts in India practice with substandard shuttle corks. FDI and GDP growth has failed to supply quality feather shuttles to players at an affordable rate. 

Our architects, planners and politicians combine have made hell out of heavenly beautiful cities. Pune which was called the Queen of Deccan and a paradise for retired people has lost its charm. The city’s heritage zone, resident zone, commercial zones and multi storied zones etc are messed up. Its air, water and landscape have been degraded. “Pune adds 30 per cent coronary heart patients every year due to air pollution,” said Dr Akal Kotkar, Cardiologist.

Mumbai was one of the most beautiful island cities in the world. Today 70 per cent of the city area has been converted into slums. In Hyderabad water table has gone down by four metres in one year and its lakes are thoroughly polluted. People buy water in summer months for daily use. The summer temperature in the temple city Bhubaneswar never exceeded 30 degrees some 20 years back. Today the mercury touches 48 degrees. Hundred percent FDI flow in realty sector since March 2005 has not contributed to the growth of healthy cities across the country.

Not a single Indian university is placed among the top 200 universities in the world and our contribution to the world research output is only 3.5 per cent. Private tuition has become a booming business and it has replaced quality class room teaching in schools and colleges. 

Our political institutions have failed to achieve the much needed political inclusion in the last 65 years and keep sending large number of substandard public representatives who mess up governance. Deterioration of quality in institutions like family, schools, colleges, universities, social, cultural and political organisations etc contribute to India’s frozen potential. The time has come for every Indian to introspect.


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