India has a population of 120 crores. The number of households will be about 25 crore. As of now, India produces about 25 lakh cars annually. Assuming that cars have a life of about 10 years, there will be about 2.5 crore cars in working condition in the country shortly.

The annual production of two-wheelers in the country is about 1.4 crores. Here also it can be assumed that the life of a two- wheeler is about 10 years. This means that there will be about 14 crore two-wheelers in the country shortly.

Besides cars and two-wheelers there are three wheelers, commercial vehicles etc. There are also bicycles, battery cycles etc.

As in Japan, India should also recondition vehicles on a large scale so that the vehicle life can be extended.

Taking all vehicles into account there will be one vehicle per family shortly. Considering the acute fuel shortage, traffic jams, shortage of parking space etc in the country, government and the banks should discourage people from owning more vehicles.

Considering all the above, the existing capacity for automobiles appear to be sufficient. Vehicle manufacturers should devote attention on improving the quality and performance of the vehicles rather than on expanding the capacity.

Indian Roadways


Extract from 1998 manuscript”WHAT AILS INDIAN ECONOMY”

“Roadways: According to government statistics, in 1995, India had 1.2 million km of unsurfaced highways(road) and 1.4 million km of surfaced road, which was mostly one lane and partly two lanes.

France, for an area of about 5 50 000 sq. km has road length of about 8 50 000 km. India for an area of about 33 00 000 sq km should have about 5.1 million km of road length. If we take population, France, for a population of about 60 million has 850000 km and India for a population of nearly 1000 million should have a road length of about 14 million km. Germany,for an area of about 3 57 000 has a road length of 656000 km and India at this rate should have over 5.7 million km of road length. If Germany with a population of about 83 million has road length of 656000 km,India with a population of 1000 million ,should have road length of over 8 million km. Japan for an area of about 378000 has a road length of 1160 000 km and India for its area should have about 10 million km of road length.Poplation wise also,India with a population of about 8 times that of Japan should have highways of over 9 million km.

From the above, it is clear that India needs to expand its roadways, at least by about two million kilometres of new roads taking the total to about 4.6 million km, widen at least a million kilometres of surfaced road to two/four/six lanes from the existing one/two lanes and convert the 1.4 million kilometres of unsurfaced roads into surfaced roads. There is also an immediate need to construct fly overs at thousands of unmanned and manned railway crossings and road crossings to avoid accidents and to facilitate smooth running of automobile and other traffic on the roads.”

Though the governments at the centre and states have undertaken a number of road projects, these have not changed the situation to any significant extent.

Nuclear Power Plant- issue to be left to referendum


In the context of the agitations for stopping the work of Koodankulam Nuclear power plant in Tamilnadu and phasing out of other
nuclear power plants and the views of experts on the safety of these plants, one has to carefully consider the pros and cons.

1. India’s demand for power is increasing and the present supply is grossly inadequate.

2.Inida does not have sufficient coal reserves to meet requirements of existing and new thermal plants

3. The scope for new hydro-electric plants is limited

4. Nuclear power production does not pollute the atmosphere as thermal plants.

5. There are adequate safedguard to prevent any leakage of radio activity. The Japan power plants are about 40 years old and those did not have safeguards as the new ones.

6. Nuclear technology development cannot take place if we give up building nuclear power plants.

The points against the nuclear energy are:

1.If a developed safety conscious country like Japan coud not ensure safety to the people from nuclear power plant, how will India do it

2.The alternatives to nuclear energy viz wind power, solar power, biogas/biomass power have not been fully utilised and exhausted. Solar and biomass energy alone can meet the exising and emerging need for energy

3. Sea waves have not been exploited for generating elecricity and the potential is said to be immense

4. Solar and biomass energy also do not contribute to pollution

5. Unlike nuclear energy, solar, wind and biomass energy plants can be dispersed across the country which would mean less transmission losses.

Both points of view are convincing.But a decision can be taken not only on the merits of the case, but also based on the aspirations and fears of the people, particularly in a democratic country like India. Though the government has been elected democratically, it may not be correct to say that it has the authority in such cases to take a decision without reference to the people. Thus it seems that the government should hold a referendum among the people within a radious of certain distance who could be the immediate victims if anything happens. It referendum should be confined to such people. This is because, people living near nuclear plants shold not be made to take wha they call “risk” to their life as well as the life of the future generation, for the betterment of themselves and the other people of India

Money, Printing of Currency Notes, Inflation (contd)


Excerpt from the manuscript “What Ails Indian Economy?”

Coinage is said to have been invented by the Chinese only around 700 BC. Paper currency is believed to have been invented, again, by the Chinese only around the 11thcentury AD. For trade between countries, even as late as 16th century AD, barter system was used.

At present Indian currency notes are issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)/Ministry of Finance (central government). If more money is required more currency notes could be issued by the RBI and the government could borrow from them. Under the heading INTERNAL DEBT, it was seen that the per capita debt of the government is only Rs.8000 in India, while it is Rs.860, 000 in USA and Rs.1500 000 in Japan. To start with, Government could borrow an additional amount of Rs.100, 000 per head. The total per capita debt would go up to only Rs.108,000 which is just about 12% of per capita debt in USA and about 7% of per capita debt in Japan. By the additional borrowing, the government can mobilize capital of Rs. 1,00,00,000 crores. At an average wage rate of Rs.70 per head in rural areas,( the wage rate per day for a male worker is Rs.50- 70 and for female worker, it isRs.25-30 and for a supervisor around Rs.100 in states like Tamilnadu), this amount will be sufficient to pay wages for about 140000 crores man days. But under the heading EXCESS POPULATION/ LABOUR, for the massive works, the estimated man-days of labour required is only 5165 crores (51650 million). After meeting expenses on wages, there will be large amount of money which can be used for purchase of all the required materials, tools, etc, as also for undertaking other works.

If Japan and USA can manage with large internal debt, there is no reason why India cannot mange with much lower internal debt of Rs.108000 per head. All consequences of inflation etc. have to be tackled as and when they rise, but in anticipation and fear of inflation, internal borrowings need not be limited to the abysmally low figure, thereby depriving the people of work and means of livelihood. Fear of inflation should also not lead to the country’s GDP remaining at a very low level- among the lowest in the world.

From the above it is clear that there is no real shortage of capital and money in the country for undertaking huge projects and for providing buying power to the people

(written about 10 years ago)

(to be continued.)

Developing countries should undertake more research


While the entire people of the world benefits from research, major research is undertaken mostly by the US and other developed countries. According to the Government of India, at present India spends less than 1% of its GDP on research and development in the field of science and technology. According to UNESCO, China spends around 1.5%., Japan 3.4%, South Korea 3.5%, Singapore 2.6% and Finland 3.7%. The US spends around 3% of its GDP.

Developing countries, particularly large ones such as China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria should feel that it is in their interest also to engage in research and try to spend at least 2% of their GDP on research. India and China being large countries with large economies, should take initiative in this case.

Similarly a larger number of scientists should engage in both scientific and industrial research. In the year 2006, it was announced in the Parliament of India that there were only 120 (0.012% of  population) active scientists per million of population in India, as compared to 2,691 per million of population in United Kingdom i.e. 0.26% of the population. According to UNESCO, there were about 7.1 million researchers in the world which works out to a little over 0.1% of global population. Developing countries have only 2.7 million or 0.05% of population in research while developed countries have 4.4 million or 0.5% of the population.

Paucity of funds should not be a reason for such low number of scientists in developing countries. Scientific and industrial research should be given top priority.

The world will be a much better place to live, if all developing countries particularly the large one, encourage at least 0.2% of the population and 2% of their GDPs  for research and development.

This is one way of changing the world order.

Inadequate Government Staff


The majority of government employees in India is not fully devoted to duty. There are avoidable and long delays in rendering services. However, even if all the staff put in 8 hours of devoted duty, there would still be delays and work to attend to. Contrary to widespread belief, there is need for more public service staff.

According to government statistics, the staff strength in various governments in India is as below;

Source: Government of India Statistics

Source: Government of India Statistics

Consider the central government, the Indian Railways and Ministry of Communications together employ about 2.4 million employees. This leaves only 1.0 million employeesto deal with the remaining innumerable issues!

Unfortunately the 5th Pay Commission, instead of recommending an increase in staff strength, has recommended reduction in staff. Malaysia with a population of less than 25 million has government staff strength of 0.85 million. At this rate, India for its population of over1,150 million should have an employees strength of about 40 million, i.e. about twice the present strength.

Canada with a population of about 30 million employs 28.5 million staff in government services at federal, provincial and municipal levels. For central government service, Canada employs 500,000 staff. At a comparable rate in India, the central government should have 16 million employees, but it has less than 4 million. Similarly, the total government and quasigovernment employees should be 80 million against the present strength of 20 million.

During 1995 in Japan, the ratio of civil servants (employees of national and local governments and public enterprises) to the total population was 3.8%.  The ratio was 7.5% in the United States and 9.7% in France, but in India, it was only 2%.

In order to avoid delays and render quick and quality service, it is necessary for India to increase the number of government employees.

Study of Languages in India


Children in India are made to spend a lot of time learning languages. A child in the state of Andhra Pradesh learns three or four languages – the mother tongue Telugu, English, Hindi and sometimes Sanskrit. A child in the US, UK, Japan, Germany, France, Russia and China learns only one or at most two languages. To that extent, the child in these countries has more time to learn other subjects like science, mathematics, history, geography and geology. This child also has time to think and analyze.

The argument in Andhra Pradesh is that children should learn their mother tongue, Telugu. There is no dispute about this.  There is also a case for learning English because it is an international language and higher scientific and technical knowledge could be obtained only through English language. Not only advanced countries like Germany and Japan, but also the less developed countries in Europe and countries like Malaysia have only mother tongues as medium of instruction, not only at school level but also at the university level.

As regards Hindi, the argument is that people seek employment in Hindi speaking areas in India and hence they should learn the language. This argument is not tenable. Out of 100 students hardly 1 or 2 go outside the state to Hindi speaking states. For their sake, the remaining 98% of children need not be made to learn Hindi. Their time for learning more of science and mathematics need not be robbed. Again 1 or 2% of the people may go for jobs to neighboring states like Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Orissa and Maharashtra. Does this mean that every student should in addition to the other subjects, learn Tamil, Kannada, Oriya and Marathi? Thousands of Hindi speaking people come and work in Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, and Karnataka. Do they learn Telugu, Tamil and Kannada at school?  No. If a Hindi speaking person can work in non-Hindi speaking state without learning the language of that state in school, why not a Telugu or Tamil speaking person work in non-Telugu or non-Tamil  speaking state without learning the language of that state in school?

Regarding Sanskrit, some may argue that it has rich literature. But most of the Sanskrit literature has already been translated into Telugu and children can read the translated works. If any one has special interest he or she can learn, but for that, others need not be taxed. Tamil also has equally rich literature. It does not mean that every child in India should learn Tamil language at primary stage.

It is clear that burdening school children with several languages has deprived the nation of outstanding scientists and technocrats. Learning several languages, not only takes away the time from other subjects but also makes the students lose focus and concentration. It is important to correct this trend.