[Marxism] RE: Rural India Goes Digital (WSJ)

Marla Vijaya kumar marlavk at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 5 09:27:04 MDT 2005

    I want to make it clear that I am not decrying the
development in rural India. The fact is that
projecting India as a market eagerly awaiting MNC to
come and dump them with goodies is a wrong and
distorted notion. India already has a well developed
and complex consumer industry and after the so called
'opening up' of the economy, there are many glaring
examples where homegrown industrial enterprises were
able to successfully outperform the multinationals and
in fact increase their market share. And I would like
to highlight here that not all of these enterprises
were capitalist.
AMUL (Anand Milk Union Limited), a co-operative of
farmers (mostly women) from Gujarat state have
successfully outdone Nestle and Lever.
BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltmited), a Indian
Government enterprise had not only increased its
market share in the power equipment buness in India,
easily outdoing ABB and Alstom among others, but
today, BHEL sells turbines and associated equipment in
more that 50 countries worldwide. And the orders
abroad are obtained against stiff competition from
international engineering giants.
There are amny more examples I can quote.
I fully agree that there is uneven development. India
had developed indigenous space technology and uses it
very effectively for developmental needs. But at the
same time, 40% of the population is well below the
sbsistance level. The children are under nourished.
The country lacks basic infrastructural facilities
like roads, health, education and communications.
FDI is not the panacea for india's salvation, but
equitable distribution of the the vast amount of
wealth that is concentrated on the hands of a tiny
It is well known that poorer countries who jump on the
development bandwagon have the advantage of latecomers
choosing the latest technology. There is no surprise
in cell phones becoming popular in rural India where
there is no built-in-infrastructure for landlines. So
is the case with satellite television. India is one of
the first countries in the world to use satellite
communications for transmitting educational programmes
to rural areas way back in the late 70's.
There are many myths circulted by the Western media
about India's extreme poverty and underdevelopment.
Many capitalist journals talk as if India had jumped
into the modern age with the 'opening up' of the
economy to MNCs. I want to make it clear that this is
Vijaya Kumar Marla

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