Thursday February 22, 2018

Instead of looking at West, Indians should recognize Indian art, spirituality and healing power: Kailash Kher

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Photo: www.uthtime.in
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By Natalia Ningthoujam

Singer-composer Kailash Kher, now a producer, says there are some filmmakers who highlight the “helplessness of India” in their movies in the name of creativity. But he, as an artiste, will never follow suit as he believes that India has the power to heal the world.

Kailash is looking forward to the launch of his mythological TV series “Baba Kedarnath”, which is backed by the Uttarakhand government. With a strong spiritual content, the TV show will introduce the “Teri Deewani” hit-maker as a producer.

He says he would like to take up more projects revolving around the country as a producer, but would never be part of a TV show or a movie that focusses on the poverty or other problems of India.

“There are filmmakers like Shyam Benegal who continue to explore the real Indian art. Even Ashutosh Gowariker makes films about India like ‘Swades’ or ‘Lagaan’. They are some of the filmmakers who present India in a good light; otherwise people tend to make money by showing the poverty of India and helplessness of India mostly in the name of creativity.

“This gives the impression that India is a poor country. Irrespective of the strength of the script, I will never show India like that. I will show that India can save the world, which is infected by depression and loneliness,” Kailash told IANS in an interview.

The singer, who hails from Meerut, also added that India is widely known for yoga and so can propagate good health and happiness.

“In India, you don’t need pills, there is so much of affection and warmth. We (he and his Kailasa band) recently went to Shillong by road. Wherever we stopped, they offered us water. And there was so much of warmth… That’s our spiritual strength,” he added.

He believes there is “so much of love and warmth” in India that anyone will be healed.

“People from the west run after India as India has the strength of spiritual healing. Why can’t our own people, the generation of today accept that? Instead of looking at the west, it’s better to recognize our own art, mythology, spirituality and healing power,” said Kailash.

And so, he is doing his own bit.

“Whatever I do, music will reflect me, and my music is nothing but spirituality. If I write about love, my love angle will be about how the universe is made,” said the “Allah ke bande” hitmaker.

As of now, Kailash’s new album “Ishq Anokha” and the TV show, which has seven songs sung by the industry’s celebrated names like Hema Malini, Sonu Nigam, Arijit Singh and Shaan, are taking up most of his time.

“Day and night we are working on 16 tracks at a rocket’s speed,” he said. (IANS)

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How telecom has become driver of economic change in India

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The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front.
The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. Wikimedia Commons
  • India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution
  • The sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991
  • India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world

For the most part of human history, the change was glacial in pace. It was quite safe to assume that the world at the time of your death would look pretty much similar to the one at the time of your birth. That is no longer the case, and the pace of change seems to be growing exponentially. Futurist Ray Kurzweil put it succinctly when he wrote in 2001: “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).” Since the time of his writing, a lot has changed, especially with the advent of the internet.

India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution. The country’s hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. In fact, according to Reserve Bank of India data, the sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991, growing by over 10 percent. On the other hand, no other sector has had a productivity growth of above five percent during the same period. It is no wonder that it has also been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Indian economy, growing at over seven percent in the last decade itself.

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Such an unprecedented pace of growth has been brought about the precise levels of change that Kurzweil was so enthusiastic about. Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Meanwhile, India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world, which has hit rock bottom after the entry of Reliance Jio. This has ensured access to those even at the bottom of the pyramid.

A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country.
A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. Wikimedia Commons

Even though consumers have come to be accustomed to fast-paced changes within the telecom sector, the entry of Jio altered the face of the industry like never before by changing the very basis of competition. Data became the focal point of competition for an industry that derived over 75 percent of its revenue from voice. It was quite obvious that there would be immediate economic effects due to it. Now that we’re nearing a year of Jio’s paid operations, during which time it has even become profitable, we saw it fit to quantify its socio-economic impact on the country. Three broad takeaways need to be highlighted.

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First, the most evident effect has been the rise in affordability of calling and data services. Voice services have become practically costless while data prices have dropped from an average of Rs 152 per GB to lower than Rs 10 per GB. Such a drastic reduction in data prices has not only brought the internet within the reach of a larger proportion of the Indian population but has also allowed newer segments of society to use and experience it for the first time. Since the monthly saving of an average internet user came out to be Rs 142 per month (taking a conservative estimate that the consumer is still using 1 GB of data each month) and there are about 350 million mobile internet users in the country (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India data), the yearly financial savings for the entire country comes out to be Rs 60,000 crore.

To put things in perspective, this amount is more than four times the entire GDP of Bhutan. Therefore, mere savings by the consumer on data has been at astonishing proportions.

Today's smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons
Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons

Now, this data has been used for services that have brought to life a thriving app economy within the country. So, the second level of impact has been in the redressal of a variety of consumer needs — ranging from education, health and entertainment to banking. For instance, students in remote areas can now access online courseware and small businesses can access newer markets. Information asymmetry has been considerably reduced.

Third, a rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. These effects arise not merely from the creation of an internet economy, but also due to the synergy effects it generates. Information becomes more accessible and communication a lot easier. Businesses find it easier to operate and access consumers. Labour working in cities has to make less frequent trips home and becomes more productive as a result. Education and health services become available in inaccessible locations. Multiple avenues open up for knowledge and skill enhancement.

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An econometric analysis for the Indian economy showed that the 15 percent increase in internet penetration due to Jio and the spill-over effects it creates will raise the per capita levels of the country’s GDP by 5.85 percent, provided all else remains constant.

Thus, India’s telecom sector will continue to drive the economy forward, at least in the short run, and hopefully catapult India into 20,000 years of progress within this century, as Kurzweil postulated. The best approach for the state would be to ensure the environment of unfettered competition within the industry. Maybe other sectors of the economy ought to take a leaf out of the telecom growth story. The Indian banking sector comes to mind. However, that is a topic for another day. (IANS)

(Amit Kapoor is Chair, Institute for Competitiveness, India. He can be contacted at Amit. Kapoor@competitiveness.in and tweets @kautiliya. Chirag Yadav, a senior researcher at the institute, has contributed to the article.)