Saturday, August 16, 2014

Modi's Speech - Valufacturing & Couch Potatoes

In every company across the world that has been around for a long time there are invariably a few pessimists and shirkers. In comes a new boss or a new department head and he is full of energy and spirit. He wants to change things for the better. He wants dramatic change in performance. The battle-scarred losers will tell him “don’t try all this, people have tried before and they have failed”. Some will tell him “there have been many before you and we have seen it all”. If the new boss persists they will gossip among themselves and tell others, including the good ones “Theek hai, karke dekh lene do, ek saal baad akal thikane aa jayega”. In short, they try to bring down everyone with positive energy who seeks dramatic changes for the better. They will work to ensure they are proved right and do everything possible to ensure the new boss fails. Our govts are no different.

The govts at the Centre and States are full of people who don’t want their “comfortable” life to be upset. They want the “Congress-life” of lethargy, poor customer service and corruption to continue. It is a way of life for them. When Narendra Modi talks about the attitude of “Mera kya” or “What’s in it for me” he is actually translating a popular Gujarati business phenomenon of “Maru shu”? In other words, I don’t care unless there is something in it for me. That may be good for a business transaction at an individual level but not when people in general can contribute something to the nation. In his I-Day speech these are the problems in govt that Modi talked about. That there are govts within the govt that are operating at cross purposes. Predictably, the pessimistic ones from the media and, of course, the Congress couldn’t see anything positive about Modi’s speech, his vision or his attention to key issues that touch the lives of people. They are used to grandiose BS like “Garibi Hatao” or “Aam Aadmi” bluster.

After a decade of a puppet on a string, hiding behind a glass box and reading in reverse from Urdu texts we have a Prime Minister who talks from the heart and talks extempore. Sure, Modi had cue-cards for the topics to talk about but he didn’t read from a pre-printed speech. That is another problem the media folks faced. They weren’t given any copy of the speech in advance because there was no advance copy. Nobody had a clue what Modi was going to talk about. It is only natural that even in a speech of nearly an hour, no one can touch upon all the issues that concern India. Therefore, the right thing to do would be to talk about what he did say. And Modi did touch upon many issues from toilets to sons being more responsible to avoid crimes. He talked about cleanliness and hygiene. These are things that affect every citizen. He talked mostly about things that are clearly within the control of each citizen which does not take rocket science to do. He talked to the “people” directly and not to the usual “Durbaris” and useless “Pundits” to seek any applause from them. Some of the problems he talked about can be eradicated just as the nation eradicated Polio and Small Pox. A new generation may not even have heard of small pox of which many people have died in the past or have suffered permanent blindness. One of the most important slogans from the speech is “Make in India”.

On the face of it “make in India” seems a pretty ordinary slogan but it is a powerful invitation to the world to come and produce goods here but sell anywhere they want. Let me narrate a small story; let’s become “couch-potatoes” for a few minutes. When the fast food operators came to India they found that we were mostly producing the regular potatoes that had a lot of moisture in it. French fries that are available in Mac’s or other similar outlets need potatoes with negligible moisture to be crisp and crunchy. On the highway between Ahmedabad and Mehsana if one is observant they will find this factory which is an international brand but the factory is not prominent by itself:

That’s the plant of McCain. What’s the story? To produce the variety of potatoes that are most suitable for French fries they selected the Mehsana region for a variety of reasons. The French fries use a potato-variety called “Shepody” which is long potato which negligible moisture. The farmers in and around Mehsana were taught about it and started growing the variety some years ago. They feed their stocks to McCain who then process those and feed the material to almost all the French fries outlets across India. Apart from India McCain now also exports this product to many other countries. It is a huge industry by itself. Growing the new breed of the same old potato brings a lot of employment to many farmers and others in the entire manufacturing and supply system. You could call it “Valufacturing” instead of mere manufacturing. It’s a product we already knew from childhood but it’s a different variety and it brings opportunities for a whole lot of people. The innocuous “make in India” must be taken seriously for other reasons too. Here’s some data I found on Twitter a few days back:

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data but let’s take it as a broad indicator. It doesn’t need Einstein to see that we are pathetic where manufacturing sector is concerned. That this needs a dramatic change will not take a flash light to see. Most of the experts who discussed Modi’s speech somehow comfortably did not relate the “make in India” to this serious problem. The low manufacturing activity can be directly related to unemployment. Unemployment leads to vices. Unemployment leads to social unrest and sometimes temptation to crimes. Unemployment leads to mass migration.

There is a history to all of this if we look carefully. The US has always been a master at “branding” and marketing. If I ask you to name 10 famous brands from the US, I am sure anyone would be able to recall them. But try naming 10 Chinese brands that are internationally known. Can we? It is hard to do. Try naming 10 Indian brands internationally known. Can we? Of course, we have a combination of a Chinese-Indian brand that is internationally known; the “Chinese Gandhis”. But jokes apart, this is worth pondering about. People can reel out names: Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Nike, McDonalds and so on. Garments in the US are invariably made in Taiwan or even Cambodia. Given our resources and population we could have been a manufacturing giant without sacrificing our advantages in other sectors. A dramatic upward change in our industrial manufacturing output is inevitable and a must for our economic growth. The Chinese are no good at branding or marketing but they have become the manufacturing hub for the world and at rock bottom prices. No one understands this better than Narendra Modi who comes from the highly industrialised state of Gujarat.

If we have failed to realise our potential as a manufacturing giant it is solely due to the Commie policies of the Congress.  There is no difference between Congress and the Commies who have kept people poor, uneducated, unskilled and unemployable. Modi stresses on skills and that is absolutely a must for us to become a manufacturing giant and also self-employment at the individual level. The new govt has already initiated steps for labour-law reforms which are essential for the manufacturing investment and growth. A dramatic growth in manufacturing also brings along with it a huge R&D set-up and the continuous process of innovation and value addition. So it’s not mere manufacturing but “Valufacturing” by a whole nation. This particular issue in Modi’s address has been undervalued by the debaters in the media in preference of many other issues.

Modi also made a call to a 10-year moratorium on riots and violence. Most of the usual pundits have interpreted this badly as postponing justice or avoiding tackling the issue. It is neither of this. A 10 year moratorium by various groups automatically implies that if they shun violence for that period it automatically becomes a HABIT. A bad habit needs to be replaced by a good one. If that habit of violence goes it has the potential to become a permanent habit. If most of the rioters were gainfully employed elsewhere they wouldn’t want their life to be shattered by riots and violence. Religion can then take a back seat in the privacy of their homes. Modi’s speech is a good departure from the past and well-meaning citizens would see energy and spirit rather than the “comfort-seeking” veterans who want to keep India where it is. The couch-potatoes have had their day and belong in the past.  

Note: “Valufacture” is a term coined by Edward De Bono. Though Valufacture refers more to marketing, I have used for the manufacturing process through innovation as well.    


  1. Kudos MC. Modi is a doer.And he wants India to be on the march. But are the political class ,beaucrats and people ready ?

    1. This is how Fekunomics works.

      Guj govt. gives 420 crore loan to Tata at 0.1% interest. Guj govt. itself borrows funds at an average rate of 7.6%

      Tata decides to repay this generosity by building a brand new JLR factory in China!

      Bhakts left chanting: NaMoNaMoNaMo

  2. Valufacturing needs to be cultivated as a habit. Innovation should change to valufacturing. Even if one sees big Indian companies they hardly innovate instead they operate on very large scales and corner big resources at low cost and manipulate prices to succeed through fleecing instead of valufacturing. killing other industries in the process or increasing NPAs of banks is their doing. Ambani verses Ambani is a classic example of this. We need manufacturing to be cost conscious imports will needlessly make things costly for us. This is also a reason our defense sector is importing a lot where as local industry is unable to support defense hardware. Of course corruption has its share too in junkets and foreign accounts patronized by babus and Politicians alike. So Modi is not wrong and has done his home work before speaking out his mind from the Red Fort.

  3. bureaucracy needs a whip on ass

  4. unless bank laws liberalised,bureaucracy energised,antiquated laws abolished modi will fail in all his attempts

  5. Bang on sir...please help our tv news anchors....dont debate on these topics...they are the most communal piller of our democracy

  6. "Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much."
    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

  7. Excellent, precise and positive interpretation of a no nonsense customery address to the nation.

  8. Spot on. This is the type of analysis we expect from journalists. But most of them are news traders now. You are doing a great service. Hope journalism students will read your articles and understand what their right duty is.

  9. To understand Modi ji, Reading Swami Vivekananda will be useful

  10. Excellent perspective...NaMo's address yesterday comes as a welcome change from the Nehruvian Socialist BS doled out for years.

  11. There was a comment by Vinod Drunk Mehta where he observed Modi is still in Electioneering mode, same sentiments expressed by Potato head bhupendre chaube Most of media Presstitues use Narendra Modi , Modi , they dont use PM Modi when still they use Former PM Manmohan Singh. The way Sonia Gandhi made comments against Bjp for communalism in Kerala , they are still stuck on May 17 2014 not being able to digest Modi as Pradhan Sevak or Pradhan Mantri

  12. Great analysis of a great speech .
    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts Sir .

  13. Spot on, as ever. Selective interpretation has always been a human frailty. Not surprised therefore to see the myriad of cynical responses to the PM's statesmanlike speech.

  14. Very objective analysis of PM Modi's speech yesterday. It's strange why no PM since Indira Gandhi ever spoke extempore on Independence Day from the Red Fort. While Narendra Modi is not a great orator in the class of A.B. Vajpayee, he sure is a good speaker of the masses. He appeals to a wide section of people, and is also known as someone who delivers on his promises. So, hope he does deliver on his pre-LS polls promises during his tenure as PM.

  15. Fantastic analysis. Surely India can do much better than Bangladesh or Cambodia. India can provide safety to its workers than those countries much better. Case in point, a recent huge loss of human lives in an avoidable accident in a factory in Bangladesh.

  16. I picked this up from Niticentral

    It is not the critic who counts;

    not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
    whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;

    who strives valiantly;

    who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;

    but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
    who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
    who spends himself in a worthy cause;
    who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,

    who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

  17. some observation over media..
    1. feminists who make issue out of utterance of any small time leader..did not praise modi for his I Day speech. First time any PM has tackled issue upfront & chided parens to watch boys. this is such a game changing idea
    2. So much noise over Pune Techie murder but silence over hindu munnani leaders murder in TN or just like Pune murder of a hindu youth over fb comments in khandwa
    3. Rahul creates ruck-us for discussion over communal violence bill but later does not participate in debate no questions asked
    4. Owaisi's speech warning third wave of radicalisation praised, omar's speech of I am muslim first and indian second praised but Yogi's fact laden speech turned communal
    5. UPA bungled with indian youth stranded in UAE, Sushma Swaraj got many indian youth back from middle east again and again praise
    6. tomato price rise covered but not fall in prices as perishable goods taken out of APMC act.
    7. Noise over Yeddy's inclusion in executive..Modi cabinet is clean .no controversial element..Ministers not allowed to indulge in culture improved..instead of being praised this is being called communal
    8. Manmohan's surrender in sharm al sheikh was celebrated, modi's successful historic visits to nepal & bhutan quickly forgotten
    9. No question over unholy alliance of nitish lalu
    11. no coverage for terrific win of Jayalalitha
    12. No "setback" or postmortem on election loss of communists or congress
    13. saharanpur riots brushed under carpet
    14. merrut rape covered only when inconsistency in version of girl appeared

  18. to add most productive parliament session in 10yrs simpl ignored, while in past bjp was always accused of disruptions. Disruption by congress on imaginary rise in communal violence was actually celebrated

  19. I think, this speech was not at all political. Thats why critics are finding it difficult, as it came from heart.

    So Arnab and some guest from news hour says why 10-year moratorium, why not 9, or 11 :)

  20. An RSS man is returning from his Shakha in our best city of Bangalore on independence day.He is murderously attacked by three Muslims for no reason at all.As usual all news channels ignore this grave incident.In Kollam in Kerala,Muslim children asked not to sing Vandemataram and even not to join their hands in Namaste.Many Urdu schools in Kolar district do not even hoist the national flag.Christian Nagas kill 11 ,poor Hindu labourers on Assam border.All these random incidents with a Hindu Modi at the helm of affairs.Any killing of Hindus,"should not be communalised" but one Muslim techie getting killed in Pune is repeatedly discussed on all news channels.Two most shameless sentences used by the secularists are 'traditioal communal harmony should be maintained" and "we should not communalise the issue" when innocent Hindus get killed by Muslims or Chrstians.Muslims of Tamil Nadu wearing Black Shirts of IS(Islamic State) is well ignored,infact action should be taken against Dr Subramaniam Swami for bringing that out

  21. Now since BJP under Modi is in power, Prasar Bharti, BSNL-MTNL and Indian Airlines should be revived and make it profitable. Since most of the TV news channel are anti-hindu and anti-indian unity, Modi can use Prasar Bharti to disperse the truth apart from internet's social media.

    Another point worth highlighting is the fact that Bollywood too can be used as propaganda tool. Filmmakers like Nandita Das of the movie firaaq represented a biased ans false view 2002 riots. Bollywood producer in the zeal of making money often try to appease non-hindus just because for the movie to make profit in gulf countries.

    Plights of expelled Kashmiri Pandits can be realistically shown to the world by the medium of cinema. Just like the Jews turns out numerous movies regarding Nazi atrocities on the Jews. Similarly atrocities on Hindus in Kerala, Bengal-Bangladesh and Pakistan can be shown to the world with the help of good directed cinema.

  22. But what about black money recovery ?
    It seems Modi government has given amnesty to all past transgressors and black marketeers who have stashed money abroad. Nothing else explains his stunning silence on this thru 80 days in office.
    He can do a 100 other refinements , but so long as he is unable to punish those who have broken the law and cheated our nation of billions - he remains a disappointment to me ( and the likes of me ).
    and yes, it hurts very badly because it seems that we ( the likes of me ) were fools in being honest and putting nation first all these years . after all many like ndtv, hasan ali, CAG indicted corporates and many thousands more seem to have got amnesty ( nothing seems to be happenning to them ) . and he will stop corruption only in the future but not do anything forceful and urgent to remedy the past.
    The SIT on black money - god only knows what progress it has made !!!
    By the time arun jaitley ( finance ), rajnath singh ( cbi ) and ravishankar prasad ( law ) get their act together - it will be next election time .
    Modi would have given 4 more speeches full of rhethoric ( after all it would have been better - if he could have disbanded the planning commission and announced its closure in the speech rather than announcing the intent of closing the planning commission ). so only announcements. Little substance .
    and yes, 80 days are enough for anyone to showcase atleast their intent and commitment.
    in the past, pathbreaking budgets have been presented in 40 days of swearing in ; and pokhran 2 decision was taken within 60 days coming to form govt.
    so Narendra Modi for me ( so far ) is a disappointment . He is good, incorruptible, sound administrator , good intentions - and will be one of the better faring PM of this country ( that too primarily because 'andhon main kaanha raaja' !! ) but not the revolutionary stalwart that many expected him to be. And he perhaps knows that we as a nation do not have an alternative so he too is playing it safe. He definitely wants to do good , but seems to be getting bogged down by the system.

    And if the corrupt are not penalised and not brought to book and money recovered ; and instead amnesty is given or their transgressions soft pedalled - he would loose my respect forever and even the initiative would have slipped away for him to change the game .

    The business community are not nationalists ( otherwise they would not be making supernormal profits ) . they put their interests first and so would do all within their means to apply pressure to get more and more concessions . and with every passing day , the pressure will only increase .. the government will loose its upper hand and would be forced to be reactive and patronising ( to kickstart manufacturing and generate employment )

    He had committed in his speech ( at baba ramdev organized meet ) that if he is unable to get back black money then it is not worth being a PM ( who is unable to make a difference ). He has to be in command and in the drivers seat and lead from front on the black money recovery issue ( that will also aid the economy ) What happenned to that Narendra Modi ?

    1. AAPtard spotted .............. Modi has set the tone for confident future ........nothing is going to be swept under the carpet ........UPA chors, black money, anti-nationals.........U will see action in coming day ............. modi delivers on his promise .......... 13 yrs of track-record speaks volumes

  23. Never was there a PM who talked about common wo/man's problems and social evils so openly on an independence day speech, which is a usually a time for lofty promises.

    As long as 'modern Narendra' (Swami Vivekananda') is PM of India, we don't need to worry. But we will need more Modis for future generations.

  24. While Modi's was the most truthful and best ever speech heard from the red-fort in decades, it is no wonder that even a positive acknowledgement wouldn't come-forth from our boot-licking political tribes or the ass-licking media pigs.....the born-crooks, forever-cynics and sold-out souls!

  25. Ravi. Congratulations on reaching 8M page views milestone!!! Seems like you will be kept busy in the forthcoming days with increasing filth coming out of MSM against any and every decision or act by Modi Government.

  26. Beautiful , very expressive as usual. Your article about PM's speech is a simple yet Great test to check if one has common sense to understand his vision.
    Ppl are lazy by nature they like Magic show without their involvement . Progress Magic requires entire unit to run & contribute to the cause , so when PM wanted ppl to exhibit basic civic sense , commitment , pride , self respect & above all become Self reliant it irritated the Ignorant Lazy class . Ppl who trust him understand his Simple yet Smart/great strategy ! Great article thanks

  27. The I-day speech was definitely a speech that many ordinary citizens could relate to. It felt that Modi was part of the society he was governing.
    Manufacturing will definitely add more jobs and infrasturcture and support systems for new industries. However, I also believe that there has to be a
    conscious effort to move to the direction of manufacturing creative,genuine products and not products that will be dumped in some market.The cost to the
    environment and society is not factored in while we praise manufacturing in China. While overcoming the logistical challenges of growing and supplying
    Shepody potatoes is commendable, the fact that all this genius is used to make French fries (unhealthy food, for a foreign company here to earn several times
    more money without much risk or effort) is not very comforting. McCain has changed the way potato is grown and consumed in the US without the ordinary
    American realising that he/she no longer makes the choice. I hope we learn from the experience of the world and are able to make a balanced judgement for
    our needs.

  28. Hi all very great blog written and comments given everyone know that media which show that people believe the picture what is real they don't want to know and now trp rating is main so that's why all kind of mixture ingredients they are showing and people also want some new. And i will say that you have chosen right media for sharing this where it easy to communicate and understand with others.

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