What’s Good and Whats Not


India opens up real estate

India yesterday liberalised rules for foreign investment in the real estate sector and also bowed to long-standing pressure to allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment in the construction development sector.

Depending on whom you speak to the answer to privatisation will vary – or so it seems. The fact of the matter is people only want what is good for themselves and don’t see further than their noses at such times.

India, along with the world, is standing at a threshold. There is everything to gain by doing things right, and China next door is a constant reminder that there is everything to lose if we slip up. Running a country is very much like running a large business. There are core areas, there are growth areas and then there are the drain areas. What India needs to do is identify the areas it needs to work on and chip away.

There is no quickfix answer to our problems. It really is a chip-away kind of situation. We need to identify the areas that need to be fixed immediately. Work on those. Then study the problems all over again. Identify the new “high priority” problems. Work on those.

If it seems like a long haul, that is because it is.

Given the population, and the sheer size of the country, there is no shortcut available.

Privatisation is good, provided it is done properly and the needs of the villages are kept in mind.

Let us take the F1 plan that Mr. Naidu had mooted. The Congress and others immediately raised a hue and cry about it. But the fact remains that if the track had come to Hyderabad, it would have meant fantastic roads between Vizag and Hyderabad, which would in the long run have benefitted all the villages that lay in between. F1 would need the roads for one weekend, the people would have the roads for the rest of the 363 days.

Such “popular” roadblocks is what we should really be wary of. Politicians will scream about anything that they think will get them votes. We need to make sure they know what is important to us. Unless we do that, they will just continue screaming about the wrong things.

Tamil Nadu presents one such case. In no other state in the country are elections won and lost on language. It happens in Tamil. What is more surprising is that Tamil is one of India’s few flourishing languages. But ask the common man, he will tell you that he doesn’t give a damn about whether the milestones on the NHs are in English, Hindi, Tamil or Greek. He needs water, he needs roads, he needs electricity and he needs money. But as long as such things are not made clear to the politicians, they will continue to win and lose elections on trivialities like language.

The vote is the biggest weapon in the hands of the populace. It needs to be used.

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