'Enormous domestic market, a boon'

The advantage India has is the enormous domestic market. Though there is a global slowdown, because of consumption levels, the country can withstand and what is now unleashed cannot be put back into the bottle, said managing director, Raman FibreScience Aroon Raman.

Pepping his address with anecdotes Raman drew a picture of where the country is heading and said to do business in India what one needs is to develop gut feeling in a complex country like ours. A country which now has an average age of 25 years will slowly see that it goes to 40 in another two decades and it is sad to see that the top per cent of the rich and the bottom per cent steeped in poverty do not match. The country has a large number of technically qualified people but does not have quality to match it.

Talking about his own experience in Tihar Jail (when he was a student in Jawaharlal Nehru University), he said that he lost 14 kg in nine days and that was because of the poor quality of food given those days which was always mixed with sand. But with the prison reforms there has been a qualitative improvement and he was surprised to see that all the names of the people who visited the jail were being entered in the computer.

Giving the example of the rural area which he visited where the majority of the students wanted to do commerce and other subjects with just two per cent interested in pursuing science, he said there was lack of science teachers in particular.

The evidence of change will be seen when the middle class population in the country reaches 50 per cent, he said, sounding optimistic.

The others who spoke included Julian Gasper of Mays Business School, Texas, Srinivas Acharya, managing director Sundaram BNP Paribas Home Finance and Ashok Jambur, chief training manager, Indian Oil Corporation.

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