India’s future seen through the lens of 21 thought leaders

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BookIf you have ever wondered what India’s future would look like 50 years from now, then the latest tome “India 2061: A look at the future of India” by the team at Draftfcb + Ulka is an eye-opener. Published by Cogito Consulting Publication, the brand and marketing consulting division of the group, the book is a collection of views of eminent thought leaders who have painted a picture of India as it would be in 2061.

The book celebrates the Advertising group Ulka’s 50th birthday and comes with detailed quantitative analysis along with the views of 21 experts. In an interaction with Pitch, Dr M.G.Parameswaran , the Executive Director and CEO of Draftfcb+Ulka Advertising, who is also one of the editors of the book, talks about India’s future and the difference the book hopes to make.

What was the intention behind calling on these experts and making them write about a future that we can only imagine but not be sure of?
We had created a white paper on India 2061 last year and the numbers looked great. We however had a nagging doubt about the reality vs the projection. So we thought we should share these numbers with thought leaders and business leaders to get their second opinion. The idea blossomed into a collection of articles.

How far, do you think the book will go, in influencing policy makers?
Well, what the book contains is probably  in some government publications as well.  As they say there is no dearth of information, just dearth of execution. We will be sending it to all the key departments of the Government during the month of August.

Which aspect of India holds the best promise for the future according to you?
All aspects of India hold great promise, but the most exciting is the human resource story. The number of college graduates is expected to grow dramatically and this will hopefully change the polity of the country as well. Better educated India will pave the way for many interesting opportunities.

Water is a finite resource and the article on Water Resources brings up some alarming facts and figures. Don’t you think that Water is the single most important issue confronting us and if that’s not solved, the other articles have no basis at all?
Water issues have been brought out very well by Dr Malini Vijayshankar’s article. And the story is very scary. Fortunately nature sometimes has an answer to our problems. I am told the excessive monsoon this year will help us stave off a big issue on water, for a few years. But the key challenge is the depleting green cover and that in turn creates depletion of water.

The article on Healthcare Environment holds out a lot of hope as it talks about stem cell technology, preventive medicine etc. Do you think any of these strides in research will reach the common man?
The healthcare sector needs urgent attention and the article by Dr Hasit Joshipura paints a very interesting picture of technological possibilities. The Indian medical profession has innovated in delivering cost effective healthcare, be it the Jaipur  Foot or the low cost cataract surgery. I am sure there will be many such process improvements. Add to this the interesting developments in technologies like stem cells and we can be sure that by the year 2061 Indian medicine will be a trendsetter for the world.
All the articles stress the point that what we do today, is of utmost importance. But do you think the policy makers are aware of this and are working towards it?
I am sure the policy makers are aware and working on what they need to do today to ensure that the 2061 dream comes true. Let us not forget that when India attained independence 67 years ago a large part of the western world, including Winston Churchill were of the opinion that India would collapse. But we have survived and thrived. Yes, we still have many problems to overcome in many different domains. I am sure the powers that be are well aware of the things they need to do.

Compared to 50 years ago, does the future look brighter or dimmer?
The future looks bright, very bright. I understand that the country is going through a period of gloom and doom. Interestingly it is when the country went through a similar phase in 1990 that we woke up to the reality of the world around us and the need to change. We did change a lot, from 1991 till a few years ago. That time is upon us once again. The time for action. The time for implementation, not just for words.

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Neeta Nair

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