Making ‘Little India’ big
In his new book on effective leadership, innovation and economy, R. Gopalakrishnan offers ways to turn the fortunes of the residents of small towns, cities and villages
Corporate India has been a catalyst in the remarkable growth of our GDP in the past 30 years since liberalization, which has lifted over 300 million people from abject poverty, writes R. Gopalakrishnan in his new book, Doodles On Leadership: Experiences Within And Beyond Tata. “But sadly this ‘breathless’ growth has not turned the fortunes of the residents of the over 600,000 small towns and villages in India with populations less than 50,000. This ‘Little India’, as I call it, has not experienced the highs implied in campaigns such as ‘India Shining’ or ‘Incredible India@60’." Gopalakrishnan, a corporate advisor who studied engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur, and served as chairperson at Unilever Arabia and as director at Tata Sons and other Tata companies, believes the centralized form of governance adopted after 1947 has shackled the natural enterprise of the people in “Little India". Using instances from his decades-long career, Gopalakrishnan says whether in a company or a country, enterprise and innovation are promoted by decentralizing authority and empowering people. “That is the only way to spread prosperity to larger sections of our population, because it will unleash the natural enterprise of the people out there," he writes.