Wednesday 16 December 2015

National Mind set

Dr R A Mashelkar says

 What is a national mindset?  We got our political freedom in 1947. I call it our first freedom. We got our second freedom in 1991, the freedom to compete, when Dr. Manmohan Singh liberalized and opened up Indian economy and that made a huge difference. When you see a lot of these things that are happening today, they are happening because of the second freedom in 1991, when the mindset of the country was changed, though the same minds were there at that time.


Look at Tata's Nano that you are very proud of. Nano, the one lakh rupee car, the people's car, is a paradigm shift. If you go anywhere in the world, there is a buzz of excitement about how we could do it. It's a great car.


I remember I sat in before it was launched in January 2008. I am a six footer and there was space for me in the front and space at the back, mileage of 25 kilometer per liter and EuroIV environmental standards . Incredible achievement!


It is going to make a paradigm shift, but Tata's Nano would not have been there, if Tata's Indica was not there. And how did Indica come about? It was only in 1993 and not before that, that Ratan Tata was allowed to make a car.  Before 1991, India did not allow competition.  There was a frustration for those, who wanted to compete, who wanted to fly, who wanted to be ahead of the world.  In March 1978, JRD Tata made a very interesting cryptic comment. He said that if he was allowed to make a car, he would have been as good in it as in trucks (made by Telco) but he was not allowed to do in the pre-libralised India, that was before 1991.


The national mindset then changed in 1991 and it made a difference. Now who made Indica – 700 engineers, who were with Ratan Tata. They were the same engineers, with the same quality of minds by the way, except that they were not given that challenge of making an Indian car – an Indica - till India changed its mind set. I am giving you these two examples just to illustrate the point that how institutional mindset, national mindset actually make a big difference. And 1991 made such a huge difference.


We had turned a full circle when Indica came. 50 years ago, it was the British Morris Oxford which was being sold as Ambassador on Indian roads. Exactly 50 years later, it was an Indian Indica which was being sold as City Rover on London roads. Today, Tata Motors have even done something audacious – they have acquired Land Rover and Jaguar. What a change, what a transformation! And all that has been possible because there was a change in "national mindset" in 1991.


When Jamshedji Tata wanted to put up the steel plant, one British gentleman  had said, "if you are able to produce steel, I will eat every pound of it" I am sure this British gentleman would have got indigestion because of the way then TISCO and now Tata Steel has moved. And it's not only that. Today Tatas have acquired Corus, a British steel company.  So we are producing steel right in the backyard of Britain now!  All possible due to the change in the "national mind set".

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