India has reason to be proud of the development that has taken place, but there is no place for complacency. There is a great distance that remains to be covered for this to impact all sections of society. The impetus for this has to come from the government, of course, but that would remain incomplete without initiatives taken at the grassroots level by the agencies concerned and, most particularly, the people themselves. This last mile effort will make the difference between success and failure.
As the economy grows, so does the potential for employment and wealth generation at the individual level. However, unless the opportunities are recognised and exploited, it leads to economic stagnation. Growth in the manufacturing sector needs to be matched in the services sector, and vice versa. It’s like in the Electric Vehicles sector – unless there are charging stations available, this important, environmentally necessary, transformation cannot take place. It has potential for employment generation but only if there are intermediate level initiatives taken and everything is not left to the manufacturers alone. Similarly, consumers will have noticed how few properly trained personnel exist for proper repair of the thousands of new products in the market. While manufacturers may or may not be happy with consumers resorting to purchase of new items rather than have the old ones repaired, that is neither good for the overall economy nor the environment. The question is: are the numerous ITIs providing the necessary training in the emerging technologies, or are they still stuck in the traditional mould – focused on handing out diplomas rather than skills?
Even the consumers need to update themselves on using the new gadgets that are supposed to make life easier for them. In fact, they must be able to work out the proper mix of equipment suited to them, rather than be swept away by the force of persuasive advertisements. This is necessary to provide inventors, innovators and manufacturers the feedback to develop products suitable to specific consumers, rather than blindly imitating what is being done in other markets around the world. Development will truly begin to bring about the necessary changes in quality of life once this up and down network is created. India may have become the fifth largest economy in the world, but the really tough part lies ahead. Without innovation, rising higher will be near impossible.