Recipe of being a First World Country! Fix these, Fix India!

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In the silicon valley of the east –
Bangalore, I have been to Manipal Hospital atleast 5 times in September to
visit my close friends or their family members suffering from dengue. It is
surprising and rather interesting that everyone I know between Delhi and
Bangalore, knows atleast 2 other people down with dengue. I didn’t know whether
to feel amused or sorry when parents of my

cousin, suffering from dengue, visiting Bangalore to tend to
him caught dengue themselves and they laughed it off
saying the entire family had a 7 day holiday at the hospital.

Shame on the nation and its citizens (who
are an equal party in keeping their country dirty) that while we cannot stop the
chest thumping in self-praise on our intellectual, economic and scientific
advancements, a significant population is just figuring out their dengue and
malaria.
Simple math throws some startling
numbers. Every dengue patient ends up spending USD1500 for a treatment in
addition to a loss of productivity of about 10 days. Readers of this piece who
are good in math would be appalled by the broad numbers if they choose to
calculate the national and the notional loss.
I spend an hour each day each way to
work and this 2 hr commute gets reduced to a mere 40 mins on a Saturday or
Sunday (if I ever have to visit office) 8% of my life and 30% extra fuel
(because of traffic inefficiency) gets wasted in negotiating issues of traffic.
Imagine 8% of your precious time that could be spent on filial bliss is taken
away by traffic jams.
Approximates figures according to
data available online pegs
India’s daily fuel consumption at 4.4
million barrels per day
. If traffic makes it 30% inefficient (wasteful burn)
, we waste approx. 1.3 mbpd or 206.68 million litres per day. Staggering number
translating to approx. USD190 million per day. Or 69.35 billion USD per year.
Let me remind you that’s just the
wastage due to inefficiency, bad roads and traffic jams.
India imports a major part of its
fuel using precious foreign reserves and it’s a pity that 70 billion USD gets
wasted due to poor infrastructure and quality of roads and bad traffic jams.
In India you can almost get away with
anything. Whether its Mallya who is basking in the sprawling mansion of Hertfordshire,
or JP
associates who have duped 32000 home buyers
of their life savings or top
50 defaulters of Indian Banking system
who collectively owe close to 80
billion USD to the banks. All this is really just the tip of the iceberg. The
collective loot by top 500 politicians, businessmen and officials could be upwards of 500 billion USD.
The result is that markets are short of cash. Genuine businessmen don’t get
affordable loans. Existing businesses cant expand and if at all – they get sicker
by taking on un-affordable debt. I hear that some businesses in India are paying
upto 10% in processing fees of commercial debt (even for fully collateralised loans) to financial
institutions. One would wonder whether there is another major scam brewing in the
banking sector or banks are funding sub-prime loans for superior upfront processing fees.
And irony – with
8-12% of stressed loan book
, the outgoing chairman of SBI is still being hailed
as a having left a legacy
. Whereas I clearly remember that in her incoming
quarter (As Chairperson) the profits dropped by some staggering 80% and the banking
fraternity hailed her as cleaner of skeletons left behind by the previous
An this is just one bank!!
The Acchhe Din rhetoric resonated far
and wide in every citizen’s imagination. The demonetisation and GST decisions
required balls of steel and a pristine intent. The jury and naysayers are still
criticising PM Modi (rightly or wrongly – I wont opine here) but no Prime
Minister has stirred the imagination of a nation as much as Modi has. But the
bedrock of any nation lies in the health of its citizens, the quality of life
that a country offers and the corruption that rots the country like a rogue
virus that has no cure.
Bharat wont become swachh by AmitabhBachhan talking about it on prime time or politicians grabbing every photo-op a
few times in a year by holding brooms in a localised area. Bharat will become
swachh by putting the 70 billion dollars wasted each year – just due to poor
roads and infrastructure and traffic jams – to good use.
Infrastructure requires cement and
steel and our nation can produce all of it indigenously and thereby easily improving
the quality of life of its citizens in every respect and also generating
millions of jobs – dramatically.
Any road that erodes within 5 years
of being metalled – its responsible PWD engineer, its contractor, and the
sanctioning officer should be subject to harshest punishment – perhaps capital.
Vietnam recently executed an officer
on charges of corruption
. I smiled when I read this news. With a law like this
India’s population would be reduced to half.
Similarly the bankruptcy laws are
being seen as a parachute to the defaulters who have siphoned and stashed hundreds
of billions of dollars. And now are declaring bankruptcy and will still continue
to live lavish lifestyles beyond what a commoner can fathom. Why are all the
sanctioning officers from all banks under whose signatures the defaulting loans
were sanctioned not being pulled up in retrospect. How are we different in our
approach towards our bankers compared to Fuld of Lehman
who retained his bonuses and was still giving
lectures to the wall street elite
5
years
after the demise of Lehman.
India has dramatic beauty and
locations better than some of the best visited places in the world – but
foreign tourist arrivals hasn’t grown beyond 9 million per annum in a country
as vast as India in last 70 years. Just the city of
Istanbul gets more foreign tourists annually, than all of
India. Its all because of a dirty nation – both to the eyes and in its soul.
Much is left to be desired in the 70th
year of our independence where on one hand we pride in having sent the cheapest
rocket in first attempt to Mars and on the other we are just fighting a losing
battle with the mosquitoes and spending a significant part of our lives in
traffic jams and in ever increasing polluted and corrupt environment. And where
most of the recent actions by the present leadership failed to demonstrate the intended results.

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Manu Rishi Guptha

Manu is an Investor, Blogger, and a Professor of Fearlessness & Minimalism.
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