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Firodia stresses need for progressive outlook

IF BENEFITS of globalisation were to be reaped by the State, the initiative for change had to come from the government by generating awareness amongst the people, averred Force Motors chairman Abhay Firodia.

india Updated: May 21, 2006 14:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

IF BENEFITS of globalisation were to be reaped by the State, the initiative for change had to come from the government by generating awareness amongst the people, averred Force Motors chairman Abhay Firodia.

He was speaking today on ‘India in the light of globalisation and development in the State’ as the seventh and last speaker at the ongoing 47th summer lecture series organised by Abhyas Mandal at Jall Auditorium.

Firodia said that the context of globalisation, which meant benefit to the consumer, and the past mistakes in the economic history of the country had to be studied to prepare the country for welcoming globalisation. The government could no longer get away by passing the buck, and accountability had to be set. Slack government machinery had to be oiled in order to move the wheels of change.

The State was standing at a spot in history, which offered it the chance to choose between modernisation, globalisation and development or to continue with run of the mill policies yielding nothing. The country had a peculiar mix of ideologies governing the states with West Bengal and Kerala being extremists, Bihar and UP backward and Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi being modern.

It was interesting to note that Bihar was the best-governed province according to a survey carried out by the Ford Foundation in 1960, and UP had the highest per capita income as per the census of 1931.

These states had become backward as the values of the society had taken a beating and the people had left governance entirely in the hands of a bunch of wily politicians and babus. Madhya Pradesh standing on the crossroads of time could choose between the fate of Bihar/UP or Gujarat/Maharashtra.

Explaining the need for a progressive outlook, Firodia gave the example of India and Japan where revolutions of two entirely different natures occurred at nearly the same time.

The revolt of 1857 was not progressive in outlook, as its goal was primitive and not meant for social change while that in Japan was for modernisation and social emancipation. No wonder the Indians fought and lost while the Japanese learnt and within a short time defeated the colonisers at their own game.

Britain had succeeded in winning India not because it was a great military power, but because it had mastered the concept of collective responsibility and generating finance through a system of secure credit, he said. The East India Company was a result of this innovation taking place across the bourses of Europe.

Various companies built 60 per cent of today’s railway system within a decade by generating funds through shares in the open market and their success story lives on till date.

India was a land of diversity- a strength, which was often made out as its weakness. German Chancellor Bismarck united a number of states weaving them into the fabric of a nation. However, his greatest credit lay in not only the political unity of the country but also in giving a common economic code. India sadly lacked transparency and unity in economic policies.

After independence the country was veered from the path of slow but steady progress under the British towards a left leaning, which retarded the pace of economic growth and set in a system, which killed initiative, enthusiasm and capacity for work.

Like the onslaught of the Muslim civilisation, which won and settled in India despite the country having everything and needing nothing globalisation could not be stopped that too when it was offering everything.

Globalisation can be a success in the country only if the large demographic profile of educated youth having disposable income were made to participate in the decision-making progress and the concept of a sound economy was implemented at the grassroots level.

If that happens, no one could stop India from becoming an economic superpower within a decade.

First Published: May 21, 2006 14:25 IST