Monday, September 04, 2006

Jairam Ramesh

A very endearing portrait of Jairam Ramesh as the Minister of State for Commerce in today’s Business Standard – reproduced in Rediff here

We knew Jairam Ramesh for his sharp wit and analysis on TV, but here is a lot of common sense and what one would call ‘vision’. This is exceptional, as politicians are rarely concerned with things that don’t make big news, and do not usually concern themselves with fundamental ideas.

Contrast this approach with the State Industrial Promotion bureaus and the Chief Ministers who travel around the world scouting for foreign investment. In my opinion, they sell their states short and attempt to get investment with concessions they will never make to the ‘little guys’. They also rarely concern themselves with infrastructure – why this idea of an international airport in the Northern Bengal never came up on the State’s agenda?

I would strongly believe that foreign investment, unless it concerns a transfer of technology and know-how [which it rarely does], has usually no positive longer term impact on an economy. What they indeed have is short term impact and glamour, but they rarely solve local job creation problems, and are notoriously fickle.

What matters in long term development is grassroots entrepreneurship, which Dr. Ramesh is concerning him with.

A fresh, different approach, just what India needs at this time!

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