Since Manmohanomics became the flavour of the India’s neo-economy, we have seen the rapid opening up of our markets. I remember hearing of how Coca~cola used to cost 50 paise a bottle at the time my parents were enjoying their college lives. Then Krumpled Kurta (who I believe has now patented this style of clothing) got rid of the beverage giant. We could only hope to taste it if we went abroad(or if we had smugglers giving us a regular supply of the bubbly).
Unaware then, that Dr. MS had just changed the way I looked at brands; I had my first taste of the aforementioned beverage for the first time in the early 90s. Others brands were quick to step in. The urban masses just loved the variety they offered as compared to the desi groceries/clothes/appliance to name a few. Now was the time to have real Macs and sport the Red Tab series. What if it cost a few bucks more? (Now that’s a lie, a lot of bucks more actually). Now even I could do some hip shopping and flaunt my style like Chintu’s aunty’s cousin’s sister’s uncle’s daughter who came to visit from you know where and always wore Abercrombie. (Whatev..)
Liberalization had been forced down our throat and it seemed a boon in disguise.
It got the sloppy desi companies to shape up or ship out.
Competition forced some to become quality conscious.
The consumer suddenly had a lot of choice.
Some girls next door managed to win beauty pageants further to the cause of cosmetic giants.
Jobs came in and there was a general buoyancy on the markets.
The huge untapped talent and market that was the middle class got recognized, at last.
Management was suddenly the in thing.
There was a lot of more networking for the netas and babus to do.
China’s existence as a competitor was actually recognized. Not that they did anything about it then or even now. But it is good to know who your enemies are!
They found newer ways to dupe the consumer.
Indians was traveling abroad more often and in huge numbers than ever before.
Suddenly India was this huge untapped market. And all were eager for a piece of the pie.
Indian economy continues to grow at an average 8% rate, a figure unthinkable before liberalization.
Now here is, in no particular order, a very base, 10 feet view of the whole transformation. Some changes took a decade and more to takeoff and some are still in the process. And there was a huge flip side to it as well, but more on that later. Most of what we had to agree to after we defaulted with the World Bank had USA written all over it. And most of the benefits of liberalization did go towards filling the coffers of businesses there.
Then there is the WTO. Its failure orchestrated by USA and Co. time and again because it is not in their financial interest. There have been the Qatar and the Doha rounds and even some collective ASEAN involvement. It’s been the bane of our geographic region, (as history shows) that time and again we will refuse to come together for common interest.
India’s current stand, after the treaty talks in Geneva reflects a thought maturity and willingness to fight it out without compromise. I am all for continued efforts towards looking at bilateral deals with the European Union and Japan.
If anything, liberalization and international flip-flops on trade laterals Vs trade embargos, has taught us to look within. It’s been acknowledged that we have much to offer business wise, the huge market apart. And here I am not even touching the intellectual capital we hire out for IT, ITES or outsourcing services that we have become so famous for. This business in products related to pharma, textiles, agro, real estate (as my good friend will vouch for:)). Imagine the joy in finding a ‘Made in India’ GAP tee in the American heartland. So what if such coveted brands have started stepping in of late. If we can’t wear’em we will sell’em! We can and need to take on the rest of the ASEAN nations who compete with us in these areas.
For starts! 🙂