Posts Tagged ‘ India Shining ’

India Shining – Construction projects abroad

Gulf news featured an article recently about how Reliance has won a project in the USA for working out GAS processing of a huge Gas deposit along with Atlas Energy. India’s Reliance Industries will join hands with Atlas Energy and pick up a 40 per cent stake in Atlas’s operations in the Marcellus Shale. This natural gas project could hold enough natural gas to satisfy US demand for a decade. The project spans parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York.

Reliance, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has been working hard to expand its presence outside India, break into new markets and broaden its various businesses including refining, oil and gas exploration and petrochemicals. I started discussing the same with my friends here, and together we realized that it seems to be like a small trend that is growing.

India has been known for a long time for its software exports as well as agricultural produce, the technology sector including hardware design with the Notion Ink and the Pi also seem to be racing ahead. But a lesser known sector of construction, EPC Contractors (i.e. Engineering, Procurement and Construction) is slowly but surely making its presence felt around the world. Snooping around the internet I found wuite some good examples of companies from India making a mark abroad in EPC.

Starting with Dubai, Dubai’s construction market is mostly comprised of South African companies, but the Electrical engineering world is dominated completely by ETA, a company based in Dubai but owned and operated by a huge Indian work force. Larsen & Tubro are making their presence felt, so is Voltas. Punj Lloyd, Tata Projects and Reliance are now taking major strides in taking over the Dubai Construction scene. The middle east is checkered with projects from the above companies. Moving along, the Indian companies are getting into markets like Europe and Africa at large. Reliance’s entry into US is a good sign.

Having such world class Indian Companies working the ambitions of Indian Architect and developers is making the developments in India world class as well. What still eludes me is why Indian Infrastructure is still so bad ?????

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Where is Innovation required in India – i.e Where is the money ?

This is a question that has been asked before and a lot of people and companies are striving to get the answer to this. India is a big country with varying socio economic sectors, each with a different requirement than the other. However the numbers is each sector would dictate what sector is the best sector for the maximum market reach or most profit.  Here are my views on where is the real market for an aspiring service or company in India.

First things first, to categorize India into sectors is very difficult. There are many factors and many conditions that dictate what the consumers need and where is the best place to work. But, largely based on the socio economic front there can be 5 distinct sectors in India.

  1. The Very Rich
  2. The Consuming Class
  3. The Climbers
  4. The Aspirants
  5. The Survivors

The first and second sectors are the ones that expect the products and services the same as that of the developed countries. For the most part, the rest of the sectors are only aspiring to achieve any sort of service that can be there. This is the real market for an aspiring new company. The majority of enterprises in the Climbers or aspirant sectors have ten or fewer employees, and are the main contributors of employment for the poor. Hence micro-entrepreneurs form the backbone of economies in these regions, and their development is crucial for socioeconomic improvement in a country like India.

The climbers / Aspirants and Survivors form the largest sector of the country. In India these sectors represent the sleeping tiger, which is the part of the country which has the most potential but still have to deal with infrastructural requirements that plague the country. There are great markets that can be worked on considering the sharp downfall of the government to provide these services to people:

POWER : For instance, for many it still is a daily struggle to get enough electricity to go about their daily lives. Those living in rural areas or in urban slums simply don’t have electricity. This could be addressed by integrating new battery technology, solar recharging, low-power technologies, or via devices that automatically utilize other ways of charging or saving power that are still being explored.

LITERACY : The UN estimates that nearly 20% of the world population is illiterate – with the vastmajority residing in developing nations. Before even basic information services like SMS can be used, more effort needs to be made into creating new user interfaces for those who can’t read, and more effort into finding the best ways of teaching literacy with mobile devices.

COMMUNITY : Rapid technological change in the world is going to inevitably create friction, as well as great opportunities. Finding ways to integrate technologies into traditional social structures in a positive way could play a huge role in community enhancement. Micro payments, encouragement for Entrepreneurship, Venture Capitalism are all venues where we could approach the community issues.
There have been certain products that have come around in the past few months to cater to these sectors. Good examples to these have been Mitti Cool, the Refrigerator aimed at the villages without electricity and made entirely of clay, and other innovations. You can check more of these inventions at http://www.jugaadu.com/.

Though it is tempting to simply assume that eventually growing economies will need many of the same things that developed nations already have, innovation and new services to help the poor and uneducated can’t stop because some parts of these sectors have crossed into what can be called “lower middle class.” For the vast majority, there are still many problems with accessing just the most basic requirements of human beings. The opportunities to improve the lives of millions of people with new services aimed at growing economies are incredible. As time goes by and new technologies become cheaper and accessible by more people, the possibilities for even greater services that truly improve the quality of life are enormous.

India Shining: A Technology Update – Part 3 The Government

This is a continuation of my previous two posts about India Shining on Republic Day 2010.

Part 1 : The Military / Part 2 : Space Technologies

In part 3, the spotlight is on the government. I can already see some of us rolling eyes at the screen when we talk about the Indian Government and Technology. To be honest I would have done the same if I had not gone looking for information regarding the use of technology in the Indian Government. Although at a crawling pace, our government has managed to take up certain firm and good initiatives in introducing technology into the government services. However, with increased technology comes increased transparency which I am sure the red tape and bureaucracy within the government can be highlighted. And that is something our government does not want to pitch for.

If you visit the India portal of the government of India we can confirm that, we clearly missed the train with regards to e-Governance and to make up for the failed attempt, the Government IT department which is essentially the National Information Center launched a series of websites over the years. There are specialized websites for all government sectors or at least links that can be found, starting from the personal website of the Honorable President of India, to Centralized Banks. All these links can be found here, In fact you can dig through the services to find out more departments and regional offices as well. As listed here, there are more than 3000 websites dedicated to the Indian Government Departments and organizations. Check them out here as well.

Having said that there are some noteworthy web sites and services that are definitely to be mentioned,

  • ISRO vs. Google Earth : As discussed in the last post, ‘Bhuvan’ the mapping service from ISRO stands out as a jewel in the crown.
  • The work of NIC to spread the improve the Indian web presence worldwide took a huge appreciation last year.
  • The Indian tourism website and the slogan Incredible India are now present worldwide thanks to the effort of the Tourism Department of India, However as a country we are not yet ready to accept mass influx of tourists.

I have visited many state run websites lately and have rarely found one that is well designed and well maintained. It’s worrying when you consider the claim (usually from NASSCOM), that India is a Software Giant. It is said that India is called a Sleeping tiger because India’s progress is not because of government but despite of it. Still, after so many years of impressive growth in software business, if better technology has not reached the Indian governments and the public, something is surely missing.

Having said this I am going to bring about the amazing Indian software sector that undeniably is vastly ahead of its government counterpart, and posts like this might give the required encouragement to software firms to approach government  to upgrade their services, websites etc. to be in a position that we can get in par with the name ‘Software Giant’.