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India and other thoughts..

Monday, December 12, 2011 Margaret Holmes
I have just returned from India, one of the fastest growing economies in the world.  Since the my last visit two years ago the increase in infrastructure development has been huge.  As we left Agra and hit the first of the road toll booths our Guide explained that they were happy to pay as the new highway had reduced the travel time to Jaipur by three hours. The people of India clearly see development from a much more positive perspective than us and realize that their Government cannot afford to pay for everything.

Development is not hampered by the complex regulation of the west - some of which is a bad thing as there isn't even a minimum health and safety standard. But it also means things happen much quicker.  In the last 20 years the living standards for the lowest classes has moved to where the middle class were, and it is moving faster all the time.

Unemployed are offered work on a day by day basis.  If they register as unemployed and turn up at their local meeting place they are guaranteed a miminum wage of 220 rupees ($5.10) per day. If they are not offered a job as a day labourer at a better rate they are assigned jobs for the council working on roads, gardens and other developments.  

Much of the economy runs on cottage industry but as they become more urbanized the biggest problem will be managing demand for higher wages.

There is a significant emphasis on education and health with new educational facilities being built everywhere to cater for the needs of the lower and middle classes.

Sadly in New Zealand we no longer seem hungry to improve ourselves - now we think it is someone else's job to do it for us.  For all our talk of being entrepreneurial and number 8 fencing wire, we would rather go to the beach an earn the minimum we can for the maximum lifestyle.  It is time we raised our goals before we are taken over by the ambitions of countries like India.
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