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India still Asia's reluctant tiger
BBC ^ | February 28, 2008. | Zareer Masani

Posted on 02/28/2008 2:08:28 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu

Offices in Bangalore

Bangalore's hi-tech enclaves are an oasis of excellence

With its economy growing at more than triple the speed of Britain's, India has become a global leader in information technology and other hi-tech products.

But how has this been possible in a country where poverty is so widespread and where more than a third of people are still illiterate?

In the words of Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen, "the danger of India moving in the direction of being half California and half sub-Saharan Africa is a real one."

The contrast between hi-tech, silicon enclaves such as Bangalore and the primitive conditions of many Indian villages and urban slums strikes even the most casual tourist.

So is the dramatic rise of Indian IT firms just a Californian bubble in the sub-Saharan deserts of Indian poverty? Not according to Anand Mahindra, managing director of a family business, Mahindra and Mahindra, that has grown into one of India's largest conglomerates, producing everything from tractors to telecommunications.

If you want to make a million Barbie dolls, this is not the place to come

Anand Mahindra

"The IT sector was a kicker to growth," he says. "Its impact was psychological. It signalled to the world that India was much more than its old historical stereotypes.

"It suddenly in an exaggerated manner, if you ask me, made the world think that every Indian was smart and could fix their computers.

"But that helped entrepreneurs in India from all industry segments, because it gave them a more receptive environment in which to do business."

The number of Indian IT professionals has leapt from 56,000 in 1991 to a million today. That's still tiny relative to a population of over a billion, but a rare achievement in a global market where IT has traditionally been the preserve of advanced industrial economies.

Reliability costs

But how do hi-tech Indian companies survive and prosper in an environment where even basic infrastructure like transport, power and water is so notoriously unreliable?

Phiroz Vandrevala, executive director of Tata Consultancy Services, India's oldest and largest IT firm, says: "What we've actually done is within our own environments created global circles, oases of excellence.

Growth of IT sector in India

"So if we build any facility, we create a 24-hour power back-up," he says,"or if you employ x number of people, you actually transport everybody from their home to their place of work."

"But it certainly is a cost to doing business."

While IT firms are cocooned within their oases of excellence, poor infrastructure can be a crippling cost for other sectors, such as large-scale manufacturing.

Anand Mahindra, whom many consider the sub-continent's most thoughtful businessman, warns that India cannot live by IT alone.

"Even Bill Gates when he came to India said, 'IT is not the answer for employment. You're going to have to emulate China and its manufacturing sector, because that's where the jobs are and that's where the multiplier effect is the highest,'" says Mr Mahindra.

"So it was a nice, sobering thought to come from the Messiah of IT himself.

"If you want to make a million Barbie dolls, this is not the place to come. Then you go to China. This is not a widget-making manufacturing economy, and that is largely and possibly only due to our poor infrastructure.

"We simply don't have the power in terms of energy to meet such high capacities. We don't have the port infrastructure and the transportation infrastructure to ship out such a high volume of goods in a reliable and timely manner."

Education, education

So instead of making widgets, Indian manufacturing is currently building on its comparative advantages in engineering-intensive goods, which require versatility, flexibility and innovation.

One example is carmaking, with domestic and foreign firms now investing an estimated $6.6bn in new Indian factories.

GM India plant at Halol
Manufacturing is the backbone of India's strong economic growth

But growth in these high-value sectors is also running up against a skills shortage fuelled by lack of what's called social infrastructure - primarily good education.

Although Indian universities churn out three million graduates a year, only 15% of them are suitable employees for blue-chip companies.

That's nowhere near enough for Phiroz Vandrevala of Tata Consultancy Services.

"We have a tremendous amount of availability, but the suitability quotient is slightly low. If you look at about a hundred engineers from different educational institutions, in a company like ours about 20% make the cut," says Mr Vandrevala.

"Every industry is going to have to make significant investments in training for their own skills."

Despite growing investment in education, India still lags way behind its Western competitors. Thirty-five per cent of its population is still illiterate; only 15% of Indian students reach high school, and just 7% graduate.

Change is messy

Privatisations, or at least public-private partnerships, are now widely seen as the way to open up essential infrastructure like education, transport, power and even water to competition and new investment.

But local delivery depends on the quality of local leadership and its willingness to cut back its own powers.

Indian democracy undoubtedly makes structural change a lot slower and more messy than in China, but there is genuine optimism among Indian economists that the system will eventually deliver.

"Our confidence in rapid growth is quite recent, because rapid growth itself is recent, and so for the state to gear up to provide the infrastructure that's appropriate for 8 to 9% growth is taking a while," says Suman Bery, head of a leading Delhi think-tank called the National Council for Advanced Economic Research.

"We're not one of these countries like France or China which does things in advance and pre-emptively.

"The shoe has to pinch before we get round to it.

"Infrastructure strikes me as an issue that will solve itself. It may hold growth back a little bit, but I don't think it's fatal."



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: asia; asiantiger; bric; india; nationalpsyche; psyche; southasia; superpower
"'It suddenly in an exaggerated manner, if you ask [Mahindra], made the world think that every Indian was smart and could fix their computers.

"But that helped entrepreneurs in India from all industry segments, because it gave them a more receptive environment in which to do business.'"

Mr. Mahindra sooooo gets it.

It's surprising what a little pr can help build--and what a little 'nr' can help destroy. A self-feeding loop, both ways.

1 posted on 02/28/2008 2:08:30 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative; Gator113; Zhang Fei; DanielLongo; Tamar1973; Dr. Marten; brf1; ...
Pudong at night.
pan-Asia pinglist.*
This pinglist covers a broad range of topics relating to Asia: culture, current events, politics, science, history, arts, etc.

Warning: This could be a moderate/high volume pinglist.

Note: This pinglist generally does not cover topics pertaining to soutwestern Asia (the Middle East); there are already a couple of moderate volume pinglists for that region of the world.

Ping if you see a pertinent thread.

*To get on or off this list, freepmail with the subjects Asia on or Asia off .
No message is necessary.

To get on or get off this pinglist, freepmail here, with the appropriate subject.

There is also a:
John 3:16 (New King James Version): "16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
This pinglist can terminate at any time, without notice.

2 posted on 02/28/2008 2:10:45 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu
I know there is a lot of resentment about jobs getting outsourced to India. I have a little secret about getting excellent service from technical support in India, be nice to the person on the other end of the phone. I guess these guys and gals are so used to getting harassed by us impatient Americans, when someone is nice to them, they bend over backwards to help you.

Here's another reason to like the Indians....

3 posted on 02/28/2008 2:27:19 PM PST by 109ACS (Humpty Dumpty was pushed!)
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To: 109ACS
Actually of the opinion that it's a great thing that so much of India's development is coming out of Bangalore and southern India. And that many of the engineers and IT workers are Dravidian.

On the reconnoiter of Stormfront which was made a while ago, one of them commented something about a link between light skin and intelligence (linking Europeans and northeast Asians).

Almost undoubtedly, Dravidian tech workers would rather be lumped with light[er]-skinned northern Indians--just look at Indian celebrities: they don't look all that similar to the 'average' Indian--but the fact is that they are a huge beacon of hope for people such as Australian aborigines and Africans. They are extremely intelligent and extremely brown. They prove that a large group of non-Caucasoid, non-Mongoloid people can be intellectually successful.

[slapping forehead] Arghhhh, trying to not delve too much into 'race' things as have been recently.

4 posted on 02/28/2008 2:40:00 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu; Cronos

Dravidian origin, and genetic difference from the majority Indo-Aryans, is disputed.

For example, the actress whose photograph is pasted above, is from south India, and specifically, Dravidian.


5 posted on 02/28/2008 2:56:52 PM PST by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu

What is “nr”?


6 posted on 02/28/2008 2:58:18 PM PST by tbw2 (Libertarian sci-fi without Heinlein's free love - "Sirat: Through the Fires of Hell" - amazon.com)
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To: CarrotAndStick

She, or her family may have emigrated to the south, but I doubt she is of Dravidian stock.


7 posted on 02/28/2008 3:06:16 PM PST by libh8er
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To: CarrotAndStick

She, or her family may have emigrated to the south but I doubt she is of Dravidian stock. Dravidians of southern India are closely related to the aborigines of Australia being part of the same landmass at one time.


8 posted on 02/28/2008 3:08:03 PM PST by libh8er
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu

I am woefully ignorant about the different ethnic groups that make up India. All I know is, they’ve made miraculous progress in the past couple of decades. They are and will continue to be an important counterbalance against Pakistan and China. I really admire them. The fact that India can produce the likes of Aishwarya Rai doesn’t hurt, sort of like Canada and Shania Twain. :-)


9 posted on 02/28/2008 3:20:35 PM PST by 109ACS (Humpty Dumpty was pushed!)
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To: libh8er
She's from the Bunt community, speaks Tulu, a Dravidian tongue.

I'd like to say that genetics is complex in southern India, and the whole of India, generally. You can even find blue eyes in people in places historically cut off from foreigners, and other people.

10 posted on 02/28/2008 3:23:15 PM PST by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: CarrotAndStick
Appreciated (for the information). Still, there does seem to be a strong probability that the generally* lighter skinned, prominent nosed, long-faced Indians are genetically tied more closely with other 'Aryans' (pre-Nazi usage) than the darker skinned, less prominent nosed, rounder-faced Indians. As in every nationality, there is a gradient--just in India's case, the gradient is more noticeable than, type, German's gradients between Celtic, Slavic (west and east) and Nordic, Alpine (north and south).

And it is the case in India, as in many countries in Latin America--and in the United States, that socially the less Caucasoid-appearing get the short end of the stick.

11 posted on 02/28/2008 3:54:36 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: tbw2
Opposite of pr. (Both not written out because of quirk (first bullet Miscellaneous section). As you might have noticed, there are some words which don't personally use, even when they'd make comments much clearer.

Yes, sort of a freak with eccentricities--but with decent arguments and opinions now and then.

12 posted on 02/28/2008 3:58:36 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: 109ACS
Agree with your statement of India serving as a counterbalance to China. If had to choose between China and India for an ally, as of today would hands down choose India.

However, disapprove of the United States depending on alliances, especially when the ally has the potential to crush the United States (as India does).

And their economic progress is admirable. They still have some work to go socially, though that is hardly confined to their country.

13 posted on 02/28/2008 4:02:09 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: libh8er
From the macroevolutionary* viewpoint, India and Australia broke up long before humans existed, much less migrated out of Africa.

*From the Creationist viewpoint, continents moving into their current positions primarily happened during the Flood (with tectonic shift today moving the continents a little) and humanity (all 8 of them) were in a ship bound for a mountain probably in southwestern Asia. --and all humans are of not only one species, but one race; there hasn't been enough time for humanity to split into full-fledged races, and that is something that is good for all humans.

14 posted on 02/28/2008 4:06:45 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: Gengis Khan

You’re free to ping your list, if you want. Up to you. Just letting you know.


15 posted on 02/28/2008 4:10:17 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: 109ACS
I could always counter with बिपाशा बासु
16 posted on 02/28/2008 4:16:11 PM PST by AmericanInTokyo (Sean, Rush, Laura, Mark, Michelle, Neil, Michael nor others do ANY thinking for THIS conservative.)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu
You will also find dark-skinned, long-faced, sharp-nosed Dravidians. Genetics is weird, really!

The structures below are mostly monolithic- carved out of single hills and boulders.

Ruins at Hampi, southern India.

As for the Dravidians, they have been a major culture throughout India's history. Some of the world's most spectacular architectural features such as the ruins at Hampi, and the Vijeyanagar kingdoms, were all Dravidian.

Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, southern India.

It is also said that the Dravidians are the descendents of the people who built the Indus Valley Civilisation.

The Great Bath, Indus Valley, present-day Pakistan.

17 posted on 02/28/2008 4:34:12 PM PST by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: CarrotAndStick
Appreciated.

Aware that you don't espouse the Aryan invasion theory, but according to that viewpoint, the ancestors of the Dravidians were people of the Indus Valley Civilization. Agree that they have an impressive culture.

18 posted on 02/28/2008 4:41:54 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: libh8er

She, or her family may have emigrated to the south but I doubt she is of Dravidian stock. Dravidians of southern India are closely related to the aborigines of Australia being part of the same landmass at one time.

What you say would lead to a different theory on human evolution...because Humans and life itself seems to have appeared way after India and Australia separated from what was then Gondwana land and now Africa. I am not saying that it is far fetched...but then the seeds of life would have had to have been sown way before evidence supports it to have happened.

I am from Bangalore specifically and my ancestors have originated from this region for as far back as I can trace. I am not quite as dark. I am not saying “that I am Dravidian” or “Aryan”. I was reading here on FR of India being the origin point of all non-black people and how the genetically Indians are more diverse than any other country. Might be something in that....


19 posted on 02/28/2008 8:08:09 PM PST by MimirsWell
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu; CarrotAndStick; libh8er
They prove that a large group of non-Caucasoid, non-Mongoloid people can be intellectually successful

Actually, Dravidians are a branch of the Caucasian race. Nearly all of India is Caucasian except for the North-East which is partially caucasian and partially Mongoloid (to varying degrees) and there are some tribe and group (like the Somali-Indians) who are Afroid or Australoid.

Aishwarya is mostly Indo-Aryan as she is a Konkani -- these are the Indo-Aryans who went down south to Karnataka. There would have been a mixture of the Indo-Europeans and the Dravidians (btw, Dravidians may be related to the Sumerians, just a hypothesis) naturally, however, Mangaloreans are mostly Aryanic and speak an Indo-European language (Konkani).
20 posted on 03/04/2008 6:01:42 AM PST by Cronos ("Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant" - Omar Ahmed, CAIR)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu
So instead of making widgets, Indian manufacturing is currently building on its comparative advantages in engineering-intensive goods, which require versatility, flexibility and innovation.

Quite in contrast to China, the world's copy machine...
21 posted on 06/17/2009 3:03:07 AM PDT by Cronos (Ceterum censeo, Mecca et Medina delendae sunt + Jindal 2K12)
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To: libh8er
She, or her family may have emigrated to the south but I doubt she is of Dravidian stock. Dravidians of southern India are closely related to the aborigines of Australia being part of the same landmass at one time

Completely and utterly incorrect -- the Indian Deccan region was part of Africa millions of years ago (before the evolution of humans).

Secondly, the Dravidians are Caucasians and unrelated to the Australoids (Bhils, "tribals" and Andamanese etc.) -- Dravidians are, in contrast, related to the Sumerians.


The point you ARE correct about is that Aishwarya isn't a "pure" Dravidian -- she's a Mangalorean of Tulu stock, so a mixure of Aryan and Dravidian, like most Kannadigas (people from Karnataka) and especially those from coastal Karnataka.
22 posted on 06/17/2009 3:08:30 AM PDT by Cronos (Ceterum censeo, Mecca et Medina delendae sunt + Jindal 2K12)
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To: CarrotAndStick

The blue eyes found among Mangaloreans (Catholics and Hindu Brahmins) relates to their being Gowd Saraswat Brahmins, with a Kashmiri origin and with some mixture of Macedonian / Thracian blood (from the Greeks who settled down in what is now Afghanistan and Kashmir)


23 posted on 06/17/2009 3:10:25 AM PDT by Cronos (Ceterum censeo, Mecca et Medina delendae sunt + Jindal 2K12)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu
but according to that viewpoint, the ancestors of the Dravidians were people of the Indus Valley Civilization. Agree that they have an impressive culture

That viewpoint doesn't have to be exclusive to the invasion theory. There are signs that Dravidian langauges like Tamil are related to Sumerian and to indo-harappan. The idea could be that the sumerians (ig-ga or dark haired people) and dravdians are one and the same people who settled on the southern coastal areas of eastern and central Eurasia. And, just like the Sumerians weren't pushed out by the Akkadians or the Hurrians weren't pushed out by the Aryan Hittites and Mitanni, it is very well possible that the Ayrans were the nomads who wandered around the Dravidian cities and slowly became a part of the land and culture.
24 posted on 06/17/2009 3:15:02 AM PDT by Cronos (Ceterum censeo, Mecca et Medina delendae sunt + Jindal 2K12)
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