The ascent of a country from poverty to prosperity, from tradition to modernity is a great and fascinating enterprise. Despite of the massive inequality it has created, India’s middle class has grown from after the economic reforms in 1991 and it has begun to flex its muscles in the global information economy. But this revolution had eluded India for a long time.
About 100 years ago, Karl Marx predicted that industrial revolution would soon dawn upon India. After independence Jawaharlal Nehru attempted to create it through the agency of state. But our inward-looking, export substituted path; inefficient public sector, over-regulation of private enterprise led to a collective failure. Low priority given to education was a final nail in the coffin. As a result, at the dawn of 21st century India was placed at 124th place out of 157 countries in terms of per capita income. In the 1990’s, as the world changed from an industrial to information economy; major changes were made in India’s economic policies. Factors like WTO agreements, the throwing open of Indian economy by the government and the globalization effect served to provide the necessary impetus to the IT boom that gradually set foot in India.
The success of Indian firms and professionals in the IT arena during the last decade has been a success story. Entrepreneurs, bureaucrats, and politicians are now advancing views about how India can ride the IT bandwagon and leapfrog into a knowledge-based economy. Isolated instances of villagers sending and receiving email messages or surfing the Internet are being promoted as examples of how India can achieve this transformation, while vanquishing socio-economic challenges such as illiteracy, poverty, and the digital divide along the way. E-governance is being projected as the way of the future as IT has the potential to make existing processes more effective and efficient. The growth of the IT sector in India symbolizes the potential of Indian industry to perform at world-class standards. Led by some visionaries and supported by thousands of employees and entrepreneurs, the IT sector embodies much of what can go right when the spirit of human enterprise is given free rein.
India may be slow to enter into the global market but we are now prepared to take on the myriad social and economic problems faced by us. We are also backed by strong by strong ethical beliefs. This transition will make India a more stable nation and will also avoid the harmful side effects of an unexpected capital society. Today India produces 4 lakh engineers per year. We have 5 crore telephone connections, 23 crore mobile phone connections and 6 crore internet users. Information technology has thus seeped into the minds of millions of Indians, as India takes of on a promising growth ride. All that must be kept in mind is to take everyone along in this. We cannot afford a next era where poverty is in tryst with prosperity within the same country.