India in 2025 will have:
100 per cent literacy
200 million graduates and 400 million trained technicians
25 Indian firms in Fortune 500
10 per cent of the top universities
At least 10 Nobel laureates in science and arts
These are not words from a fortune teller. This is management guru C K Prahalad's vision for India. Indeed, the professor of business administration from the University of Michigan's Business School, has high hopes for India.
Speaking at a session on 'Challenges of development in the global context' at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held in New Delhi, Prahalad enthralled the audience with his thought provoking insights and deep-rooted concern for his motherland.
"My children often tell me India is our mother and USA our spouse. We have to love our mother no matter what," he said. Taking a cue from Jawaharlal Nehru's words, "Service of India means service of millions who suffer", Prahalad said, "India has a tendency to compromise its propensities. It is the task of non-resident Indians to hold up the mirror to their fellow countrymen."
NRIs, he feels, do not represent brain drain. Rather, "As my friend Sam Pitroda would say, they are the brain banks of India. To help NRIs contribute effectively to the growth of the country, India needs to make some critical changes."
Reflecting on the vast economic growth that India has seen in the last five years, Prahalad said, "The changes have been amazing. Take the case of cell phones. With 5,000 million consumers being added each month, the gadget has made the entire economic state of the country stand on its head."
He also delved on the Amul revolution in India. By involving women into this huge cooperative, Amul has proven how a small step forward can build an empire, he added.
The key to India's success, Prahalad thinks, lies in recognizing talents early and fast. Offering a lofty dream of hope and growth for India, he appealed to one and all, "Let's not say India cannot change, with efforts, it can and will."
Other speakers for the session were Minister of Commerce & Industry Kamal Nath and Governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi. The session was moderated by Apurv Bagri, chairman, TiE Global.
Nath picked up from where Prahalad had ended to state, "India is a young country with an able work force. If Prahalad indulges us into believing that India would have 10 Nobel Laureates in 2025, why can't we hope that the 2025 PBD be held in Lahore?"
Addressing the NRIs as the ones who "had unleashed India on the global ladder", he lauded their efforts in helping build a new India.
Gandhi's words were laden with poetic and literary overtones. Punctuating his talk with Hindi and Tamil couplets, the West Bengal governor stole a huge round of applause when he said, "Let none say to you (NRIs) we do welcome you but welcome your bank accounts more." Gandhi paid a special tribute to the NRI women who, according to him, are the heroines of India's success story."