Inaugural Speech delivered by Rajendra Pratap Gupta on March 14th 2011, at ‘Spardha’ – A national level event organized by VAMNICOM , Pune, for students of Management & Agricultural institutes across India

Good Morning friends !

I feel honoured to be here and am thankful to my friend, Dr.Yash Patil and the Director, Dr.Reddy, for giving me an opportunity to be a part of your National event, ‘Spardha’ .

Whenever I address students – the young , energetic and vibrant crowd , I am quite convinced that India will change . You are all full of great energy and ideas, but sadly , at present , India does not offer you a readymade & attractive platform due to our inefficient leaders at the helm of affairs and corrupt bureaucracy who are eating away the money and opportunities meant for the common man . But I see that the winds of change are on the horizon , and I believe that each one of you will push India ahead ; to set a new bench mark for the world in all spheres.

Today , India stands at a very critical juncture , and institutes like VAMNICOM hold the key for either India’s meteoric rise or a gradual fall !!

I was going through your chairman, Dr.Chandra Pal Singh Yadav’s message , and I was impressed with his views that we need to support farmers ,workers and weaker sections of the society for the development of this country. I believe that the education imparted via VAMINICOM aims to deliver that goal . This is exactly what India needs today .

It is an ironical fact that IIM’s and IIT’s have lost direction and failed to deliver the mission with which they had started with. Today, IIT’s & IIM’s are about fat packages from MNC’s . In fact , they have become subservient to MNC’s packages and are doing little for this country’s betterment . In these times , we want you all to pass out of VAMNICON and set goals that will re-define the future of this great nation.

Let me put things in a little perspective so that you do not have illusions in future when you move out of the campus. I believe that you will pass out this year or next year, depending if you are in 1st year or the final year. Some of you will get back to their family business , some will seek jobs and some will become entrepreneurs . No matter which path you take , the formula for success would remain the same . So let’s understand the realities of professional life :

Each one of you needs to have two goals in mind – Urgent ( short term ) & Important (Long term )goals . ‘Urgent’ is about the present i.e. your studies, to clear the exams with good marks . ‘Important’ is about future . What are you going to do after passing out from VAMNICON ? Don’t ever commit the mistake that President Obama did ! When President Obama started his election campaign, he talked about healthcare reforms & the Wall Street reforms. By the time he became the President , things had changed, but he still focused all his energies on the ‘Urgent’ & forgot the ‘Important’; that the market conditions had changed and there was a deep recession . People were losing the jobs every hour . President Obama still kept working on his ‘Urgent’ agenda,not realizing that the conditions had changed . He accomplished Healthcare reforms & Wall Street reforms !! Mid-term elections came in for the congress . President Obama had missed out addressing the Important , and so he lost to the Republicans in 2010, and finally , he is fighting to save the essence of the bills that he had passed on healthcare & Wall Street . The point is, never loose sight of the changed circumstances and keep focusing on both the urgent & the important . Else , you will have to compromise to survive . We are living in a very dynamic and an ultra -volatile world .

We live in a material world :. Don’t try to kill your desires. Reality in life is that people worship knowledge, position, influence & money. So you need to have each of them if you want to be successful. You must aim to be debt free by the age of 40 and, have a house , vehicle and savings good enough to last you without working for a year or two. It is extremely important to draw a line as to how much is much ? If you do not have those boundaries, you are bound to get into the mad rush for making money without realizing where to stop ! This is what our current politicians are doing . They lack moral boundaries, and they go for more and more and do not stop before nature pulls the carpet under their feet !!

Getting settled in life : How many of you want to get settled in life soon? Well let me quote you an interaction with one of my dear friends – Shiv Khera . He is the biggest motivational Guru in India . Sometime in 2009, we were coming out of The Grand Hyatt hotel , and he was discussing with me about the new path he had undertaken that required tough decisions . So I asked him ‘Shiv , can you leave your book writing and speeches and join politics full time ? To which , he immediately replied ‘ I am not yet settled’ . Imagine , if a person who is the highest paid speaker and the best motivational writer, is not settled , how will people like you and me be settled ? So it is wrong to assume that we ever get settled in life . Life is about facing constant challenges. Have you ever seen an ECG ? If ECG comes out as a straight line , the patient is dead !

You cannot have a long ride without a puncture : While all of you will do well in life , but you can never drive a vehicle always in the fifth gear . Long rides cannot be without a puncture . Some time , you will feel that you weren’t wrong but still you were punished . Never mind , even Gods were punished without fault ! Lord Ram & Lord Christ were punished for no fault of theirs . But do fight back for what is right !!

Keep reading books and newspapers to update yourself on the global and national scene & across sectors . If five friends came together , you could buy one book each and read five books . Form a habit to read at least two news papers a day . But learn to appreciate the difference between education , knowledge and wisdom . A highly educated person might not necessarily be a wise person .

Stay Fit : As you move up the corporate ladder , you will need to be mentally fit and physically active . Devote 5 % of your daily time for yoga , mediation and gym Working is important but so is networking . How many of you are on facebook , Orkut or twitter ? How many of you are on  a professional networking group ? Professional networking groups are a powerful professional tool for career progression . Please do not ignore them .

Always look for new ideas & not become copy cats : I was heading a large retail chain as a COO, and every time in the review meetings , I would solve the operational problems with a new approach . Once , my team member asked me , ‘Sir, every time you come out with something new , but one day you will run out of ideas , then what will you do ? I asked him “Since how many years river Ganges is coming out from Gangotri ? . He replied ‘ Since ages’. I asked him again ‘has it stopped ?’ . He replied ‘never’. He got the answer . That there is no limit to new ideas . While you are working in an organization , ensure that your work & experience profile changes every 2-3 years . Else , you would be like a truck driver with 20 years of experience. Remember that a truck driver faces the same road conditions every year . So his actual experience is just one year !!

You are amongst the five % Indians that are graduates . So you are also responsible for the remaining 95 %……… Let me ask you a question ? I know of a family where 56 % of the income goes in paying loans , 30 % of the income goes in running the household and another 10 % is miscellaneous expenditure , and only 4 % is invested to increase the income or to create assets . How would you rate such a family? Well to do, not good not bad or in a serious financial crisis ? So here are the facts about Indian economy : 55.9 % of the GDP goes into servicing the debt, approximately 30 % is the cost of running the government and bureaucracy, 2.5 % goes to subsidies , 2.6 % goes to defense . One fact is clear that only about 4 % of the GDP is going towards asset creation or wealth creation in this country . This is a very serious issue facing the nation.

How will the country be prosperous which spends about 96 % of its income with no wealth creation strategies & adds 17 million people to its population every year !!

If our country borrows Rs.80 lac a minute how will its citizens be prosperous ? Similarly, If the 99 % of the system is corrupt , you & your family members and even your next generation will certainly be harassed unless the system gets changed ?

Let me ask you another question. If you were earning handsomely after working hard, how many of you would share your monthly income with you neighbours or servants after paying your taxes ? We keep hearing that the fruits of growth has not reached the masses.

Common man will not reap the fruits of India’s prosperity unless he is the one driving it !! Why should someone share the earnings of his hard work with someone who hasn’t ? This is where each one of you can make a real difference . Agriculture continues to employ 65 % of its population and contributes just 17.2 % of the GDP. There is so much to be done but none at the policy maker level knows what to do ?

A few weeks back I was with the policy advisor of Rahul Gandhi , and we were discussing about how we could transform rural India . He informed me that he was advising Rahul to create 600 new districts at a cost of USD 1 billion each to transform India, but he could not convince me as to how 600 new districts transform the population’s standard of living ? After an hour of discussion , he admitted that the future of the villages was doomed ? Should we let this to happen ? We know the problem , lets take the challenge to change the fate of these ‘doomed’ villages . Each one of you can contribute effectively . We know that the government might not have the right answers but we must not just find solutions but also go ahead and implement them.

Rural India can transform if we understand that the basic requirement for such a transformation is having ‘transactions’ in rural India . The good thing about money is that whenever it changes hands , the hand becomes heavier ! I request you to think of creating business models that can utilize the local inputs and create products and services that leads to more transactions for rural India . Co-operatives & SHG’s ( Self Help Groups) are central to rural India’s transformation. Think about the 1.55 lac post offices , 2.38 lac gram panchayats and millions of kirana stores . Can we not create rural millionaires out of 700 million rural Indians ? We need micro-preneurs & agri-preneurs, if we want to change the rural landscape . Due to uncertainty of variable factors and no clear political vision for the prosperity for rural India , people do not want to remain in agriculture any more . If they get a job they keep moving and are selling their land. Because of the haphazard developmental policies , land and employment under agriculture is decreasing . In the western world, people are migrating to rural areas for better quality of life and in India , it is just the opposite, as Indians are migrating to urban areas. God forbid, if India ever faced a famine or severe draught , what will happen to a billion people ? Have we planned for it ? Can we guarantee it will never happen ?? We have not been able to tackle inflation even ??

A day before yesterday , I read that government wants to open the FDI in retail for metros and we have heard in the past that ‘Mumbai is being made Shanghai’ . So if we are creating hype and investing in metros , why should people not migrate ? We must create more ‘Mumbai’s in India rather than trying to create ‘Shanghai’ in Mumbai . Government has always said that opening up the FDI in retail will improve the supply chain. But we know that FDI in supply chain is already permitted . So we know that this is a wrong reason to justify FDI in retail.

Most of our growth is inspired due to the growth in China. India woke up for growth when China started growing at 10 + % per year with a much larger population . The current growth in India is about GDP and sensex . India’s growth is only applicable & benefits people who read The Economic Times . Such a growth has no strong fundamentals .

The government has allocated Rs,500 crore for skills development programme, and Rs. 40000.00 crore in NAREGA . This is, when we are facing acute shortage of trained man power in every sector at every level ! If a few thousand crore was invested in skills development for rural India , it would create a lasting value for the rural people and the economy

 Wastage of agriculture produce due to lack of proper infrastructure is to the tune of Rs.30000.00 per year . Can we address this issue ? Some of you go and start a daily transportation service that carries the farm produce to the nearest town for sale . Imagine the value addition it would bring to the farmers ? You charge them a fixed percentage of sale ?? All will make money in the process and Agriculture will be lucrative for farmers – something that is missing today .

Can some of you go and set up low cost rural cold chain facilities for rural India Can some of you set up international technical collaborations for enhancing the quality and quantity of farm produce India has the largest number of cattle but not milk products . Can some of you create more Amul’s & Warna’s in India ?

India is the largest producer of milk in the world but not the top most exporter !! India is endowed with livestock resources of vast genetic diversity and accounts for about 11 percent of the world livestock population. The country boasts of 55 per cent of the world buffalo population, 20 per cent of the goat population and 16 per cent of the cattle population in the world. India has the largest cattle and buffalo population in the world and holds the second rank with respect to goat and sheep world population. Some of you could take food processing techniques to rural India

Kiwi fruit is sold at Rs. 25 a piece and it is given to pigs in Manipur as the road infrastructure is so bad that the fruits are unfit for consumption by the time they reach the markets . Some of you develop technologies to save such a wastage

Healthcare reaches only 24 % of rural India . Some of you could create a viable rural healthcare delivery model .Some of you should go and set up telemedicine centres across rural India

Some of you could maybe set up veterinary care centres ?

Kirana stores in rural India are still lagging behind . Some of you can start a rural Kirana store chain

Can some of you go and set up SHG’s in different states in India and empower them to form a national level marketing channel for rural India Opportunities are countless , just go and execute .

Let me tell you that Indian system is very good but manned by wrong people , and so public has lost trust .

Despite all the odds , everywhere in India, I see so much opportunities to work on , and it is a great boon to be born in India . It is how you take it . I believe that each one of you will have a lot to accomplish in life , and am sure that this institution will equip you with the right tools to handle the opportunities that will come your way

I wish you all the best and hope to see you again