Aid and Governance Strategies to make India a Global Brand
Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 560
, Published on 27 October 2015
India is a country which boasts of one of the largest populations. The word ‘boast’ has been used to provide a positive perspective to the fact that India has such a large population which can help the country reap the demographic dividend. Since the population is so diverse, the needs too are and that offers the vast potential for companies from all over the world to capitalize upon. There is often a discussion on how a company or product from India can become a global brand. However, this essay focuses on a different perspective about how a nation that is a breeding ground for marketing and that lures corporate giants from across the globe can be a made a global brand.
Two factors that could assist India in becoming a global brand are aid and governance. These two factors cannot be viewed through two different lenses but need to be viewed with the same lens to magnify India’s image which can be ideally projected on the world map. Governance in a country is a combination of 3 Cs - Clarity, Conviction,Correction. To elaborate, governance is a combination of Clarity in vision, Conviction of action and Correction of faulty systems, schemes and practices to ensure overall welfare of the country. Governance is not just about changing the condition of the country for the better but also about signaling the direction in which the nation needs to progress. However, although certain developing nations across the globe know to grow the trees of vision and mission, they lack the skills to reap the ripened fruits of development and sustainability. In such events, the 4th C that acts as a pedestal to support the above stated 3 Cs is contribution.
Contribution, aid / assistance in this context, to support governance in a nation can be in both monetary and technical terms. Monetary assistance acts as a rudder to the ship of development that is directionless in the absence of a guiding rudder within the country. Albert Einstein once quoted."Example is a not a way to teach, but the only way to teach". Taking a cue from the quote, technical assistance from a nation that has succeeded in its quest for excellence in governance is essential to set an example and invigorate the system of a country that has plagued the quest for development.
Every city in India grapples with multiple issues that affect people's lives but to elaborate in a focused manner, it would make sense to underscore the influence that the infrastructure and energy sectors have on people's lives. The reason for considering these two sectors is because they have a cascading effect on every other sector either directly or indirectly. Infrastructure is one of the sectors in which India intends to make giant leaps but multiple issues dwarf the progressive attempts. The dynamics of this sector have not kept pace with the colossal rate of increase in population. To be specific, congestion is an issue that every urban center in India faces when it comes to both the traffic situation and living spaces. The fact that India is touted to become the most populous country by 2028 and that people are now themselves jostling for space is reason enough to set the alarm bells ringing. It is true that multiple MOUs have been signed in the past for large scale infrastructure projects. However, there still remains a lot of unearthed potential for infrastructure development. Unearthing that potential requires the resolve to solicit and utilize developmental assistance to replicate successful models, models that have been unheralded in the Indian context till now.
Traffic congestion on the roads within major urban centers is a cause to worry since economic losses due to poor roads are estimated at Rs. 300 billion and with an increase in the GDP , traffic on the road is expected to increase dramatically . Congestion has made the use of vehicles unviable. For example, in a metropolis like Chennai , a major urban center in southern India, the average speed of vehicles is just a little more than the speed of cycles on a dedicated biking lane, say for example in Copenhagen. This is because, on an average, 1500 vehicles are added daily to the road network and the use of obsolete systems for traffic regulation rather than coming up with a breakthrough in infrastructure networks. A dedicated transport research programme with assistance from countries with similar programmes needs to be launched in India. Assistance is essential from countries where recent developments in communications and telematics have assisted Intelligent Traffic Management Systems .Some of the systems are the Intelligent Transport Systems of Japan that have been introduced in the Indian city of Hyderabad . Such systems enable the users to receive constantly updated information on the traffic scenario in the arterial roads in their vicinity. These systems need to be implemented on a larger scale in many cities across India. Assistance and collaborations are also required to expedite research and promulgate home grown solutions such as the Real Time Information System developed by Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai  and Sky Bus, a prototype of which is running the Indian state of Goa .
The discussion has been circling around the infrastructure sector in India and numerous smart ideas to revamp the sector have been enumerated. However, to comprehensively endure the test of time, every concept illustrated above needs to be buoyed by unconstrained and foolproof supply of energy or electricity. Every person in India craves for power albeit the meaning of power in each context differs, sometimes it is political and mostly it is electricity. Considering India's size, its colossal population and subsequent demand, there is no doubt that power deficit acts as a roadblock to India's progress. The problem is compounded by factors such as archaic grid systems, overdrawn power from the national grid, acute shortage of non renewable sources, cash strapped electricity corporations, electricity theft, and transmission loss, failure to boost power production and a lackadaisical approach to research and development of renewable energy. The per capita consumption is expected to double by 2020 to 1800 terawatt hours. With time and resources running out, India needs to utilize external assistance to address the disparity between generation and consumption.
Blackout due to failure in the northern power grid on the 30th and 31st of July, 2012 affected over 600 million people in India. Within a few hours, it had a cascading effect with the eastern and north eastern grids also failing. The main reason behind the blackout was the drawing of excessive power from the grid by a majority of the northern states . The backup systems to stabilize the grid also failed during that period. To avoid recurrence of such a conundrum and to increase the efficiency of the national grid, India must initiate measures to adapt 'smart grid' technology. Smart grids allow communication between suppliers and consumers, which results in an efficient management of demand, safeguard of the distribution network and reduction in costs. India, as of now does not possess the ingenuity to develop this system indigenously, also research and feasibility testing would involve a lot of investment and time. Countries in the European Union pioneered research in this field as early as 2005 under the European Electricity Grid Initiative . India requires similar dedicated efforts and assistance from the European Union in this regard to transform the country's power sector.
People discern the fact that energy can neither be created nor destroyed but have associated another phrase to it, that it can also be wasted. Tackling with the energy crisis involves not just production but also conservation. One of the reasons for the power crisis is the manner in which power is distributed and consumed by people. Conservation plays a key role in this context. Impregnating the conservation culture into people's mind is essential. Aid till now has been only classified into financial and technical categories, but conservation is a platform to show that it can also be extended to chart awareness campaigns and conservation measures. India has failed in setting the stage on home turf for such campaigns. India needs to launch awareness programs such as ‘Setsuden’, the electricity saving scheme of Japan . Such programs can largely succeed by roping in large business houses, which provide employment to millions of people across the country, instead of directly appealing to all sections of people. Europe's 'Save Energy' project is an example that can set the tone for India to unearth the energy conservation potential in large buildings .
A paragraph that concludes would not augur well for a topic concerning the progress of a country such as India. The journey cannot end even before it begins. Future hasn't yet arrived and the wheels of change are yet to be set in motion. Governance succeeds only by making things easy for both the government and the people and hence, any initiative to transform the lives of people requires the people be made a part of that system. It is in this interest to embrace the quote, “Don’t intend to lead, but heed to succeed." It would not be practical to say that the subscription of the above elaborated concepts alone would lead to delivering good governance. 1500 words of ideas conceptualized by a single brain cannot transform the systems that change the lives of over a 1.25 billion people. However, there is no doubt that when the system incorporates the ideas conjured up by the 1.25 billion brains of India and financial, technical and awareness assistance offered by countries globally, the winds of change would start to blow in India.
This article has been authored by Vignesh Ramanan & Swetha Nandakumar from Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai
1. R.N.Roy, K.K.Guin, Alex Abraham , "Effects of Traffic Congestion On JIT-Supply of Items: An Indian Scenario" , http://www.pomsmeetings.org/ConfProceedings/001/Papers/GOP-01.3.pdf.
2. Courtesy of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, "Intelligence on the Road" , http://www.gov-online.go.jp/eng/publicity/book/hlj/html/201208/201208_03.html
3. "IIT-M takes up pilot project on traffic management", http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/states/iitm-takes-up-pilot-project-on-traffic-management/article6332344.ece