Imagining a new tech savy India CIOL - Bangalore, Karnataka, India The fact Auroville has been successful in India shows it is possible. ... Think Auroville. Just look South to Puducherry. Auroville is not only a self ...
Think Green. Think Technology. Think Auroville
NEW DELHI, INDIA: Monday, September 14, 2009
Imagine what an incredible India we could create if we followed the example of Auroville. We would be self sufficient in power and basic needswith solar roofs, desalination plants, recycling and processing plants, wind turbines in the garden, hybrid vehicles, green communication, and e-governance. Nothing is free and we would require discipline. The fact Auroville has been successful in India shows it is possible. [...] So here is what can be done to end the recession.
Ban Personal Income Tax: Indians are taxed in so many different ways that makes personal income tax completely unnecessary. So, for starters, the government should ban income tax on individuals. This will put more money in the hands of people who will spend it instead of the government creating schemes or handouts.
Kill Socialism: India needs to kill socialism that is spreading like the swine flu in government and disinvest in public sector enterprises. The logic is government subsidizes failures of government owned public sector enterprises as it belongs to no one and repeatedly allows unions of these companies to blackmail politicians for votes. A government is there to govern and not run businesses. We require a real laissez faire government as it means hands off.
Bankruptcy Laws: We need bankruptcy laws to encourage entrepreneurs and new companies and protect old companies. In India, if a private enterprise fails due to outdated laws and others which are retrospective in nature, failure of private enterprises is not just due to incompetence but also due to laws that actually prevent a person(s) from becoming an entrepreneur.
Private Banking: There is a big need for more private banks, especially at the local level. A good model would be the SEWA bank run by women in Gujarat. Not only do they provide credit for those with little access to it, they are prime movers in encouraging entrepreneurship among those with talent and ideas. They create competition in the financial sector which have few players and is monopolized by the government.
Triple No: There should be no SEZ projects, no quotas in any form and no subsidizing failures by the government. All these measures kill genuine competition and create artificial regions and companies of growth in the country. We have a competent private sector that can grow on their own without government pull or pressure. Companies dont need handouts or interference. This will go a long way towards removing corruption in the system.
Environment as a Financial Component: While designing or managing a company, so far we dont do environmental budgeting. We need to do so as at least from now on as global warming is felt by everyone now. It is not a topic which can be avoided or skipped over anymore. Environmental degradation comes at a financial cost that is real. This is a challenge but also an opportunity. It provides a chance for new entrepreneurs, especially those who can develop e-friendly technology or solve environmental problems at a small and medium scale. This goes towards solving the larger problem and also makes money.
The recession is an opportunity to face the monumental challenges and to redefine or change our fundamental way of doing business. With the governmental ban on income tax, it would give us an opportunity and the resources to refashion and redesign the world we live in. The way forward is not to go on as before.
For a long time, India has been growing despite the government and not because of it, unlike China. Many think China is the ideal model but this is false as it is on the brink of a revolution anytime as their growth is artificial which comes at the cost of human rights and environmental destruction. With a truly laissez faire government in India, we might have a real chance at ending the recession and becoming the leaders in the world, instead of being second-hand superpowers.
Inventions and innovations are happening in India but are usually sponsored by powers abroad. It is time India became a showcase of technology with mind boggling structures powered by renewable energy power plants run and owned at the local level. It is time to think differenting design and execution.
Think Green. Think Technology. Think Auroville. Just look South to Puducherry. Auroville is not only a self sufficient community but follows a no-waste community with people living in peace constantly innovating and inventing. For example, their water recycling system, where they dont waste a drop of water is something that can be copied or replicated and needs to be adopted nationwide. Here, politicians dont interfere and are easily approachable. You dont hear of strikes and power plays in Puducherry. It is Bengalurus consumerism model but Aurovilles sustainable designs that is the way forward. As techies, we need to learn the new way.
Imagine what an incredible India we could create if we followed this example. Nothing is free and we would require discipline. The fact Auroville has been successful in India shows it is possible. We would not only prove to be a model country for the world to follow but also help stop global warming substantially. That is when India would become a real leader like we were 5,000 years ago. It is our time again. (The author is the founder-moderator of the IndianWISE e-group)