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India an economic giant: Peter Drucker
January 21, 2004 12:07 IST
An eminent American economist, who had predicted in the early fifties how computer technology would one day thoroughly transform business, has said India is becoming a powerhouse very fast.
"The medical school in New Delhi is now perhaps the best in the world. And the technical graduates of the Indian Institute of Information Technology in Bangalore are as good as any in the world. Also India has 150 million people for whom English is their main language. So India is indeed becoming a knowledge centre," said the 94-year-old guru Peter Drucker in an interview to the latest issue of Fortune magazine.
Drucker, who coined the concepts of "privatisation", "knowledge workers" and "management by objective", said the dominance of the United States is already over. "What is emerging is a world economy of blocs represented by NAFTA, the European Union, Asean. There is no one centre in this world economy. India is becoming a powerhouse very fast."
In contrast, he said, the greatest weakness of China is its incredibly small proportion of educated people. China has only 1.5 million college students, out of a total population of over 1.3 billion.
If they had the American proportion, they would have had 12 million or more in college. Those who are educated are well trained, but there are so few of them, he said.
Drucker said in China there was the enormous undeveloped hinterland with excess rural population which meant enormous manufacturing potential. However, the likelihood of the absorption of rural workers into the cities without upheaval seemed very dubious.
"You don't have that problem in India because they have already done an amazing job of absorbing excess rural population into the cities -- its rural population has gone from 90 per cent to 54 per cent without any upheaval," he said.
The eminent economist, who continues to lecture at the management school that bears his name at Claremont Graduate University, said, "Everybody says China has 8 per cent growth and India only 3 per cent, but that is a total misconception. We don't really know. I think India's progress is far more impressive than China's."
On the most important impact of information technology on business, he said: "Information technology forces the processes more logically. The computer can handle only things to which the answer is yes or no. It cannot handle may be. It is not the computersiation that is important; it is the discipline you have to bring to your processes. You have to do your thinking before you computerise it or else the computer simply goes on strike."