India 2012 will be a story of enterprising indians

Vivek (CA ) (2368 Points)

01 January 2012  

India 2012 will be a story of enterprising Indians, mediocre leaders

2012 could be another atrophied year for India due to mediocre leaders without a cogent vision for the country. A country of 1.2 billion people, with boundless resources and energy, may again fail to meet the basic needs of its common citizens.

The government will be haunted by unaccounted monies in foreign banks. 2012 could see the names of some account holders tumble out of the closets. The revelations could spark unprecedented anger and violence.

The year will belong to Anna Hazare, who has become the voice of the frustrated. Urban India will organise to demand enhanced governance, infrastructure and inflation management.

With the elections looming in 2014, most political, economic and even civic decisions will be impacted by electoral consideration. Expect populist measures to entice minority groups to garner captive votes.

Over the years, the Congress party has little agenda left in it. It has become a family business of a dynasty. In a country riddled with massive illiteracy and ignorance, old brands matter. The Nehru-Indira Gandhi brand name is one of the oldest ubiquitous brands, even in rural markets. There is a major change though. Now, people expect brands to deliver.

The BJP will continue to be languid. It is has too many over-anxious prime ministerial candidates. It is devoid of dedicated senior workers, a vision and programme.

The state elections in 2012 in Uttarakhand, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur will bring out the worst in local politicians with baseless accusations flying at will. Sit back and enjoy the circus.

India's over-marketed growth story will be dented. Growth rates of 8 to 9 per cent could decline to five per cent due to delayed reforms and the impact of global recession. Global GDP growth rates will decline to 3.5 per cent, the US will dither towards another recession, and Euro will be turbulent due to imbalances and quarrels in Europe. In a global economy, India cannot be immune from these trends.

Harvests of wheat and onions could improve, but prices of food will yet rise by 6 to 10 per cent due to machinations of politicians who are hand in glove with middlemen. Mis-management of stocks and wastages will also aggravate prices. Despite RBI efforts, inflation could hover around 9 to 12 per cent.

Basic items such as rice, onions and tomatoes may cost more. India's highly publicised middle classes will feel the heat. Their living standards will decline. Many will eliminate restaurants and fruits alike from their lives. FDI in retail could have ensured higher supplies and stable prices. However, a feeble government could not douse rabble-rousers.

Industrialists and businessmen will fume at the incompetence of political leaders and policy vacuums. Industrial growth rates and exports could stagnate. China will continue to outshine India in manufacturing quality products.

Hopes for better healthcare will be belied. Most Indians pay one-third of their incomes as taxes throughout their lives. Yet, they receive no health benefits, food coupons, unemployment insurance or old age pensions as they get older.

The dastardly 26/11 bombings in Mumbai should have goaded us into providing a steel framework security system along our coasts and in our cities. But terrorists' attacks have continued.

Infrastructure like roads, bridges, fly-overs, airports, railway stations will continue to crumble due to overloading, and inferior quality materials. Slums like Dharawi will continue to proliferate and shame the country. Budgets for infrastructure reconstruction will continue to be siphoned off into private pockets. We are one of the filthiest countries in the world, without adequate public toilets.


Mobile phones will penetrate deeper into the villages. Indians are hungry to learn and grow. They will embrace the iPad, Facebook and miscellaneous electronic toys avidly. Rural markets will grow, albeit slowly.

Many bright young Indians will seek to migrate to the US and Europe despite the recession. They will see beyond the recession in the West.

Bollywood will continue to dish out escapist fare. Flying villains, salacious dance item numbers, digitally overblown muscles and bodies of heroes will provide escapist tales to millions, whose daily lives are sheer drudgery.

Sachin Tendulkar's centuries will delight us. Younger stars like Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina will also electrify. Players of tennis, hockey, football, and chess will wait for iconic glory when their games become national passions.

We will continue to be a coarse society. We will barge into lifts without waiting for those inside to exit, we will spit on walls, always be late for appointments, blare car-horns at will and neglect the old and ailing. We will also be fiercely competitive and jealous of our neighbours and friends.

Thus, 2012 may not see any giant leaps. Millions of Indians toil daily, struggling to improve their lives in the villages and urban ghettos. Their enterprise and entrepreneurship will keep India sailing. So, Indians will sweat through another tough year.

(Rajendra K. Aneja, who lives in Dubai, has worked as MD in Unilever businesses in Asia, Latin America and Africa. He can be contacted at rajuaneja @