India - A Major Economic Player
Long written off as chronically hobbled by poverty, in today's India we saw on the roads Toyotas and BMWs traveling alongside brightly colored buses, motor rickshaws, scooters and bicycles. We were as much amused as amazed to see the lowest paid worker on the street talking on cellphone to his family at home, the morning newspaper man distributing the paper driving a motorbike instead of the bicycle and most of the urban families owning a car and their school going children driving scooters. The standard of living of the common man in the country is so strikingly improved that it looked unbelievable to us. And why not – the minimum wage earner who was available for rupees fifty a day we found it difficult to get for 300 rupees for a day's work. Our friend's son who managed to earn a place in an elite university after surviving a merit- based selection that is most competitive in the world, has a payback that was beyond our belief: a degree from Ahmadabad Indian Institute of Management was worth starting salary of rupees one million per year plus perks. Another friend who is looking for a match for his daughter is outright rejecting any proposal where the boy is earning less than ten-lac package per year. Can you believe it, we could not unless we had seen it ourselves.
It is commonly known that India is now leader in information technology and home to many multinational companies that dominate in developing computer programs for key players in the field, providing software for satellite GPS codes and video-enabled cellphones. But what we did not know was that some of these companies are providing their consulting services to the mighty ones like Google, Wikipedia, Youtube and Myspace. The success stories of the young software engineers in these companies convincingly prove that if there is a place where hope is still young, this place is India. India churns out more than 20,000 engineers annually – more than double America and Europe combined. A nation that the West no longer looks down on with compassion, but now gapes at with admiration, India represents a new idea of modernity – a model for so many underdeveloped nations who might wisely ask: “If India can do it, why can't we?” Its success is already inspiring hope in South America, Middle East and Africa. Foreign tourists, especially from the West become inebriated not only by the country's colors, its natural landscapes, the poetry of its customs and the elegance of its simplest people, but also by the new atmosphere of optimism and energy that one breathes here. No wonder, India today is poised to emerge on the world stage as a major economic player.