Indian Social System, 711 and 8% growth

I had planned to update my blog more frequently during my India trip but things have been so busy and fascinating that I have been slow. This despite excellent connectivity but I do wish I had gone in for the Reliance wireless Internet than the faster, but less mobile DSL line.

In any event my India trip has been just great. Apart from numerous outsourcing related meetings etc. I took the time to observe the "new" India. Finding myself at the pharmacist’s with a proper doctor’s prescription for a cold I noticed that a member of the "bottom of the pyramid" had walked in. This guy was a young fellow working in one of the numerous frenzied construction projects in Delhi. He asked the pharmacist, another young fellow for cough medicine for his two kids. The pharmacist asked precise questions like what ages (1 and 3 years) what kind of cough ( wet/dry) and suffering for how long ( 2 days). The pharmacist came back with what I guessed was pediatric cough syrup and gave precise dosage instructions with the caveat that the kids should see a doctor if they were not better in 2 days.  The cost – Rs. 25 ( 50 cents) for the syrup and the "knowledge" of the pharmacist about the current kid’s coughs and treatment was just part of the social support system. Neither the patient nor the system at this point is able to afford lawyers or insurance… and probably things are better off.

711 or the Mumbai train blasts had me stunned for a week not only with the ghastly event that made Bombay the most terrorist attacked city in the world but I was more stunned at the speed with which everything became normal. The stock market worked the very next day, people just caught the same trains,ordinary Mumbai folks helped the injured and the families of the dead and yelled loudly at the police who managed to look appropriately sheepish for not doing enough and not doing stuff quickly at least immediately after the blasts. To the credit of the Indian political system there was no communal backlash and people in general remained calm and Indian Muslims roundly condemned the terrorist perpetrators.

The US Congress approved the India US nuclear power technology transfer deal with wide  bipartisan support. The Indian press reported every killer amendment that was thankfully defeated in the US congress. Nuclear power will certainly go a long way in helping fuel the spectacular 8% growth that India is experiencing.  What does  8% growth feel like ? It feels about 3 times faster than the much ridiculed 3% Hindu rate of growth; every business is so busy with the booming local market that US outsourcing business is merely a "status" symbol or novelty. Very much like Indian kids preferring KFC to tandoori chicken more than occasionally for "style".

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