Innovate for India’s Poor
Thursday, July 19, 2007
When the Korean steelmaker Posco decided to invest $11 billion in the bleak hinterland of eastern India, it might have expected to be greeted with flowers. Instead, two Posco executives were recently kidnapped, but later released unharmed, in a protest over government policies to transfer land from struggling farmers to the mega-corporations driving India’s modernization.
It is only the latest evidence of gathering rage among the hundreds of millions who remain mute spectators to the Indian economic miracle. In recent months, peasant revolts have been flaring up across the country, protesting against industrialization and the land grabs that accompany it. Harnessing the anger of rural poor, Maoist-inspired insurgents roam freely across much of central India, causing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to call them the largest threat to India’s security.
We business leaders for the most part tend to believe that growth will cure most sins and that our responsibility stops at creating competitive enterprises and paying taxes. Eradicating poverty is the government’s job, not ours. Right?