Attention – Due To Allegations of Plagiarism, This Article Is Highly Suspect

For several months now, rural areas in Maharashtra are going without power for 15-17 hours a day. Small towns go without power for seven to nine hours while major cities are suffering scheduled load shedding of between four and six hours which is unprecedented for Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, In the offices of rural Maharashtra , the type writes are out again. After years of emphasis on computerization which spurred even the babus to retool themselves and become computer savvy , the once ubiquitous type writers are back. Fortunately there are still enough government employees left who began their career as steno typists who still remember typing skills and so the offices keep functioning.

No, this is not a conscious decision by the government or any one else to take a conscious step back into the stone age. It is just a necessity born out of the severe energy crunch that has led the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra to experience unprecedented power cuts. With electricity not available for close to 18 hours in rural areas , all the modern gadgetry and technology has come to naught. Ultimately , to make things even barely functional , one had to resort to older technology which had stood the test of time in lesser times!

While India began to undergo a technological revolution in the 90s, the emphasis on adequate back office infrastructure did not unfortunately receive equal emphasis leading to a lop sided model of development which we will take years to recover from. Thus we have a robust automobile industry without adequate roads , a growing aviation industry without enough airports and runaways , a booming telecom industry without adequate spectrum and of course large scale growth of industry without commensurate increase in the ability to absorb this growth.

Since India launched economic reforms in 1991, growth has been disproportionately urban and this has created myriad stumbling blocks. on the roads , especially in rural India where potholes are ubiquitous, crashes are common and traffic is routinely brought to a standstill as dozens of trucks sit idle waiting for permission to move. Throughout the country, crowds, delays and ramshackle infrastructure are the norm. In many places outside of a handful of cities, reliable power is little more than an elusive dream. This poor infrastructure is a bottleneck that could slow down growth and has created demand-led inflationary pressures as there is no consistency of service.

India’s recent expansion has been impressive. Since 2002, GDP has risen 7.5% per year or more. In 2005 and 2006, it hit 9% and 9.2% respectively. But while that is good statistics , the fact that matters of basic infrastructure like Bijli,Pani and Sarak that matter to the common man are still not dealt with is a matter of considerable concern, especially as infra structure projects have a long gestation period and problems identified today may require a decade or more to resolve and the matter may actually get more aggravated along the way.

Although the government has tried to do its bit in encouraging core investment and facilitation in the infrastructure area , the major difficulty has been that there has been little synergy in the planning processes so that infrastructure development and businesses which ride on this backbone are planned in tandem. It would be a good idea to be futuristic inso far as infrastructure needs and budgeting for them is concerned as they typically can not be fast tracked to keep pace with suddenly generated demand. Till that is done and we have holistic and synergistic planning , we will continue to be using type writers even as computers and other gadgets sit idle in the absence of electricity to power them.

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