Growth. Who Manages India?
(Image used for illustrative purpose only)
Indian politics is on a high pitch. Most politicians are cowed down by their political agenda. In this process, a lot of institutions are damaged or redefined. While some issues have been addressed by Supreme Court, others are brushed under the carpet for now atleast. There is no time available to think of social growth. Our dear prime minster did offer hope. But he also seems to be caught up in political compulsions. Yes, some institutions are trying hard to improve the society. Indian judiciary, RBI and election commission are great examples. The absence of space for a free and fair dialogue, where citizens can express themselves without being afraid of any negative repercussions, is the main issue. Guess, India will grow socially at its own speed.
Technology and social media offered some possibility. But they too have been taken over by vested interests. Trolling and fake news are rampant. Though these are global problems now, they seem more acute in India.
Things get interesting when one looks into the economic growth. India has over 50 million registered marginal, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In a predominantly agrarian economy (till yesterday), this is not a small number. Their decent contribution in employment creation, GDP, etc. has been recognized. Their problems start there. Lack of abundant access to funding, research, innovation, technology, skilling, etc. have marred their growth prospects for all the decades of independent India. This has set about a fatalistic attitude in entrepreneurs. The risk-taking ability is dampened by the overall environment where everyone is thinking of their own self and afraid of starting anything innovative. Though there are success stories, they are far and few in-between. Indians do not lack entrepreneurial instincts. They are among the very best.
As a country, India is not much successful in exports due to poorer product quality, infrastructure and price competitiveness. As for farmers, the recent agitations and suicides in Maharashtra, Telangana, Punjab etc. are a testimony of their state of affairs.
It gets even more interesting when one tries to corelate the dots. Small businesses do not get adequate support from banks and other institutions because of some past experiences. When Nirav Modi or Vijay Mallya happens, the axe falls on small businesses. When stock market crashes, one of the first victims of weak sentiment are the small businesses. In the stock market, the vast number of individual investors have been marginalized by a few of individuals and institutions. Things are controlled by foreign investors, Indian financial institutions, few large individual investors, etc.
So, is the growth of this nation of over 1.3 billion citizens at a mercy of a few hundred people from the stock market? The sentiment in shares of 5000 companies determine the same for entire economy, including 50 million MSMEs? Point to ponder.