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The Future Ahead

In an attempt to forecast the future of India, it may be productive to
understand the trends which are irreversible and have huge ripple effects and
therefore which will define the future of India.
The first trend is acquiring of scale. The telecom market with over 180 million
connections is the fastest growing in the world. The fourth largest
telecommunication company is being valued at $ 20 billion. All of India’s
cities used to have office space adding up to 40 million square feet but now we
are adding that much as new commercial space every year.
The total Indian car market was half a million vehicles in 2000 but by 2010, a
single company will be turning out twice that number, and India will become a
small car manufacturing hub for the world. Companies initially use to
manufacture vehicles in hundreds but now the big players are manufacturing tens
of thousands regularly. Foreign investors were of the view that Indian people
work not the markets but now they believe that the markets are working as
well.
Spread of connectivity and awareness makes the second trend. Envisage the difference between a country that has 5 million phones and another
with 180 million; between a country with 10 million TV sets and one with 120
million; between a country whose trucks travel at 25 km per hour on the
highways (counting the timing taken for rest), and 50 km per hour.
Imagine the consequences if the country number 1 transforms into country number
2 resulting in just in time delivery, better chain supply management and
increase in the scale of production if you start early morning and gives
delivery 500kms away by dusk.
Imagine diverse awareness levels and therefore a different quality of
decision-making; and think of the speed of reply because you can reach someone
on a mobile phone anywhere and at anytime. In short, consider productivity
gains, which is what the development story is all about.
Development of middle class is the third trend to be considered. The National
council of Applied Economic Research states that 173 million people belong to
middle class earning unto two lakhs per annum and the number will rise in
coming years. The growing middle class will eventually fuel urbanization and
the changes it will and is bring about. Lager middle class implies larger
number of urban voter who will consequently lead to different types of politics
and politians. Their expectation fro the government will be reliable power,
clean water, better public transportation system, better jobs etc. the rise and
development of the middle class definitely promises a better future for India.
Fourth trend throws light on the increasing problems of growth. The main
concern is the growing environmental pollution. Increasing air pollution caused
by smoke, decreasing ground water and deforestation can create havoc for the
humanity. As someone rightly said that other than weapons of mass destruction,
the only thing that can extinguish human life is environmental change.
Another problem of growth is inequality which is like to increase. Think then
how politicians are trying to arbitrate the tensions: reservations of seats and
jobs, cesses of various kinds to finance big expense programmes. If the rich
think they can run away from these problems, sooner or later the outside
reality will interfere.
The fifth trend has to do with Indias increasing openness to the world. The number of US visas issued has doubled
in the last few years and majority of students are going abroad to study. This
trend wasnt there 15 years back. The foreign trade component of Indias GDP is more than 55 percent. 25% of Indias listed stock is owed by foreign investors.
There is more self-confidence, quicker acceptance of new influences and ideas,
a readiness to accept global benchmarking, and a faster response to changing
circumstance. It is simply a more adaptive and therefore a more proficient
system which mean more productivity growth
The continuing dominance of youth is the last trend. Youngsters are different
from older generation in number of ways. The society dominated by young will be
more mobile and at the same time more volatile. It will adopt the new trends
faster, and will encourage marketer to focus on low cost projects and
services.
Four of these trends have completely positive implications except one and the
last one can cut both ways.

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