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A great effort
Consulting major, McKinsey & Company, is renowned for its incisive and invaluable reports on economic issues. Endowed with enormous human resources of high calibre, the company has been providing global and regional perspectives.

McKinsey’s reports are  a treasure house for strategy and big guidance for development.  The consulting house is known for its no-nonsense, low-key profile that does not allow it to tom-tom its achievements. Yes, it rarely, if ever,  talks about its work. In India and in other developing countries, Mc-Kinsey has been working with  governments on a range of social and economic issues. It also looks at several of these issues more as a service than as a for-profit activity.

Recently, the company released the book Reimagining India, a collection of original essays on India’s promise and potential, by 63 global thinkers. They explore topics like the growth prospects for India’s economy, the competitiveness of Indian firms, India’s rising international profile and the rapid globalisation of Indian culture. The chapters are headed: reimagining, politics & policy, business & technology, challenges, culture & soft power and Indian and the world. The great charm of the essays is their brevity: each article is not more than five pages.

Adil Zainulbhai, moderated a discussion on the book in Chennai led by N Vagul.

Zainulbhai headed McKinsey with distinction and retired recently. He has lent the expertise of McKinsey focusing on myriad development issues. IE records its appreciation for the silent great work and welcomes Noshir Kaka who has succeeded Adil as head of McKinsey in India.

The meeting was attended by a good cross section of Chennai’s intelligentsia.

Almost all the essays appear upbeat on ‘the potential’ of India. Some detail a precious new initiative and others glorify the past. The editors have gone in detail with several success stories like Bill Gates’ appreciation of the polio campaign. But a road map and some bold short term measures for immediate corrections of the serious malaise would have added great value to this remarkable effort. The dilemma of the policy makers in Delhi is all too evident in their inability to correct the major weaknesses of high inflation, humongous fiscal deficit, falling growth rates, drop in investments and a depreciating rupee.  Pieces of advice on these would have been great.

I voiced my concern over such a comprehensive treatise not focusing much on the potential of India to emerge as a food bowl to the world. I believe that India has the potential to double food output to 500 million tonnes in less than a decade. At that volume, India can emerge a major exporter of food- of around $ 100 billion. Somehow, the focus continues to be on services and industry.

Still a great effort! What a vast range of subjects covered! And presented with so much data in lucid terms!    

– SV with inputs from V Durga

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