Sunday, November 2, 2008

Nano lessons!

States should work on models that benefit India as a whole

Tata’s exit from Bengal is somehow largely perceived as a loss to both Tatas and West Bengal. But how much Bengal and Tatas would have actually gained, had they succeeded in operationalising the facility at Singur, remains doubtful. In fact, looking at the way things were shaping up there, a win for one would have always been a loss for the other. For, had the factory come up, for all the promises of generating employment by the Tatas – how much of it would have gone in productively engaging the farmers and their families would have always remained debatable. And going by the past precedence, to what extent Tatas would have been successful in running the factory remains equally doubtful. But then, the moot question is not who won. The entire perspective of winning and losing changes, the moment one looks beyond the micro-interests of an industrial house and that of one state, but for the nation as a whole. And in this case, the nation was a loser from the word go!

One just cannot rule this fact away that a Nano can be manufactured anywhere in the country, and not essentially on a fertile piece of land. Similarly, there are lot of means by which West Bengal can take the industrialisation route, not essentially with a Nano. For argument sake, playing around Bengal’s strength, why can’t the state government take the food processing route to industrialisation? Globally it is a known fact that food processing can go about generating huge economic value, and Bengal stands to gain for its inherent strength in terms of the supply chain. Moreover, this kind of forward linkages would not only help the industry to grow but would also help farmers directly associate themselves in the process, without losing anything. Similarly, why didn’t Tata in the first place decide to start its factory somewhere in Maharashtra or Tamilnadu, wherein it could have reaped the advantages to external economies, which these regions possess on account of their existing automobile manufacturing advantage.

And this has been the crux of the problem. Most of our state governments suffer from a herd mindset and thus always follow a collusive approach. It is a common sense that Bengal or a Punjab can easily become the food hub for India and for the world, and Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh can retain themselves as the technology hubs. Similarly, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa can play to their respective and inherent strength of minerals. In fact, it is prudent that each and every state works together and plan out a non-collusive and distinct course of industrialisation and progress. With time, each and every region has created its own inherent strengths, which have been either by a natural design or by legacy. And these strengths invariably have been instrumental in extending external economies to the existing industry, already. But rather than doing this, it seems most of our state governments are stubbornly chasing the same developmental model. It isn't a secret that it would take years and huge amount of resources to replicate another Chennai in Kolkata!! And frankly, that is what most of the state governments are trying to do. As a result, none of the states are able to exploit its existing resources to the fullest, and each one of them are operating much below their sub-optimal levels, leading to an unprecedented national loss!! It is high time that our state governments realise that instead of competing among each other, we need to work together towards mutual progress. At the end of the day, we are all a part of a larger revolution called ‘India”.


1 comment:

  1. Besides, I feel there should be a national planner commission which should interact wit state governments pinpoint best location for industries etc in respective states.