During a visit to the US, I watched a televized presidential debate and was quite taken in by Barack Obama’s call to strengthen the focus on education because , in a globalized world, kids there will compete with those from Beijing and Bangalore. A statement that acknowledges Bangalore’s intellectual power.
A couple of years ago, the ‘Getting Bangalored’ phenomenon shook the corporate world. As the world’s software powerhouse, the city came to be regarded as a force that could revolutionize the way organizations worked. This wasn’t just about jobs moving from the developed world to Bangalore, but about the city becoming the face of resurgent India.
This once-sleepy town usurped the ‘dream destination for job seekers ‘ tag from other cities. But Bangalore could lose this tag, simply because it has to try harder to keep pace with its own phenomenal growth. We are in a city which could redefine India, and, with a little correction , be a picture of innovation.
Bangalore has touched lives, whether as a guiding star in providing solutions to companies and, in turn, to people, or by taking away jobs. But the power of getting Bangalored may not be sustained if we allow it to slip in basic performance parameters.
Many cities look for a reason to create infrastructure, be it through the Olympics or an international summit. But we don’t need such reasons ; the globe talks to us on a daily basis anyway.
While there are cities starting from scratch and vying for investment simply on the basis of worldclass infrastructure, the world comes to Bangalore and asks for better facilities . Name any other city with such an advantage. Infrastructure reform has a multiplier effect on employment growth, which means revenue for the state to plough back for development of villages.
However, large-scale reform needs adrenaline. While each citizen can exercise his right to question developments , he should also assume responsibility to make a difference to the city. Seven million people participating in change can be a powerful experience. The government must fuel participative growth by having representatives on citizen panels empowered to convert recommendations into time-bound plans and achievements.
We also need an eco-system that sustains development. Universal education will provide a strong foundation by creating job opportunities. A labourer at our new hospital on Bannerghatta Road took pride in the fact that his job opened his eyes to send his children to school. His eyes gleamed as he said: “One day, my son might be a doctor here and I can tell him I helped build the hospital.” Let’s create an environment that helps such aspirations become attainable.
A city’s health defines its productivity . Hospitals are not only treating more lifestyle-related diseases, but also problems arising from pollution . Bangalore should go the CNG way for its public transport system. We must extend Bangalore’s geography to decongest the city. Better roads and expressways are not a choice but a necessity. Projects must be timebound , and timelines respected.
We should strengthen Bangalore’ status as a visionary city, maximize entry points and minimize exit levels for investment. We must revitalize the power of getting Bangalored.
(The writer is CEO, Wockhardt Hospitals Group)
[ Source: The Times of India. ]