If you really think about it, India is in a pretty mixed up place – economy wise …
We’re nowhere near a capitalist economy – nor are we entirely communist either …
We are somewhere in between …
I am talking about this because of late, there have been incidents in my life – caused by this aspect and I was wondering – whether a right balance could ever exist …
When I was returning from Proto a couple of weeks ago, I was to come to Mumbai by flight and then catch a bus from there to Pune. My flight was supposed to land at 10:40 PM – but it being Indian Airlines, it only landed sometime around 12:20 AM.
Luckily I had no checked in baggage and I was able to get out of the airport by 12:30.
I rushed to Dadar, and in my heart knew — that the last State transport bus would have long left and I would have to spend the night at the bus stop. I reached the bus stop at 1:00 AM.
Unbelievably – there was still a bus going to Pune (which I think would have probably been the last one).
It left with around 10 passengers (out of a capacity of 35 – 40) at 1:15 AM and albeit an extremely bumpy ride, I was home by 5:00 AM.
I secretly thanked the government for running such buses – even when there were hardly any passengers at such odd timings.
This is the other incident.
I live on the outskirts of Pune. As such, we have all the benefits which come with such a setting.
Clean, calm and pollution-free surroundings, lots of open spaces, etc. etc.
At around 10 kms – the main city isn’t too far either …
However, we also face the problems which come along with such a setting.
Namely, that of infrastructure — in this case, the internet.
The place where I live, there are no private players providing high speed internet services (or broadband).
This is primarily because not many people would go for it – so it does not make sense for these companies to lay fibre cabling all the way for a handful of subscribers.
The only one which does – is the government owned BSNL.
Until sometime ago – they had the monopoly in the telecommunication sector – and if you had a phone, it had to be from BSNL.
As a result, they have cables already setup – through which they provide the internet services.
The service though, leaves a lot to be desired – and the sorry fact is – being a government enterprise, no one gives a damn.
I’ve been having connection issues since eons (it works sporadically and mostly, only at nights) – but no one seems to be bothered. After about a hundred complaints, nothing comes of it.
I seriously have started believing that if anything needs to come of a government run agency, some palms eventually have to be greased. Haven’t tried that yet – but sadly, we’ll probably have to do it eventually.
So coming back to the issue.
Living in an entirely capitalist economy definitely has its merit. I honestly believe that the entire country progresses at a much, much faster rate as compared to living in a communist one.
People who are smart, talented or hard working get their just rewards – encouraging more people down that road, thus leading to faster growth of the entire nation.
(Monopolies are a negative – but then, thats just the way you look at them)
However, if we were actually in a completely capitalist economy, I would have spent the entire night at the bus stand and would still be on dial-up connection at home.
And if the government does step up and provide services like the state transport bus running at night or me getting my broadband at home (even though its on only half the time), am I right to demand good service — or should I just be grateful that I am getting such services in the first place and be happy with it?
The Indian consumer at large, I think, follows the latter ideology …
What do you people think?
(My connection went off and on 7 times while I wrote this post)
[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 79.]