Sadhguru’s Innovative Post-Pandemic Ideas for India to Thrive
Indian Economy After Lockdown
Sadhguru: In these challenging times, there is no question that individuals, institutions and small and large businesses will all take a certain amount of economic beating. But this is not going to be the end of the world! Businesses which are built over years are not going to just collapse and vanish in a few weeks' time.
We have to endure the substantial economic cost that will come, but this is not the time for anxiety or fear. There is substantial scientific and medical evidence to show that your body and mind function at their best only when you are in a state of pleasantness within yourself. When you are in fear or anxiety, you will not be at your best, you will be paralyzed. So it is important, especially in a crisis, that you must be blissful. We are offering various tools to help you towards this, which you can find online. Please make use of these because in many ways, how well you harness your body and brains decides your success in the world.
Innovative Ideas to Revive India’s Economy
#1 Attracting Businesses to India
Sadhguru: If we have to put India’s markets and industry back in place, we will need strong investment from outside the country. There is an opportunity now because businesses are looking to move out of some of our neighboring countries, because the trust that people had in these economies has been seriously eroded. Japan has already offered billions of dollars to companies to move out, and I am sure the United States will do something much stronger.
Over 300 top companies in the world are looking for a new home, if not fully, at least partially. This is a great opportunity and India is eminently positioned to take advantage of this. This will need a very determined effort from the industry lobby, the businesses, and of course the government. I am sure the government is also very conscious of this, but how efficiently we do it and how hungrily we grab this will determine its success. If these 300 companies come into India, even for partial production, and if we spread it across the twenty-eight states to some extent, we can get the economy buzzing.
#2 Tapping into our DNA of Innovation
Sadhguru: Indians have always been patting our own backs, saying we are a very innovative society. This is the time to show how innovative we really are. This pandemic is the biggest challenge our generation has faced, but we are capable of overcoming this. As a nation, we have certain advantages and we are positioned in a certain way geopolitically.
Unfortunately, over the last few decades, we have been left out of the economic development in the world, including Asia. Many of the Asian countries are at least twenty-five to thirty years ahead of us. I think this time is the best possible opportunity we have to level that in the next three to five years.
There is no magic wand for the challenge that we are facing. All of us have to rethink the fundamentals of what we are doing. We must be ready to make enormous innovation. We must be willing to come down to the ground from whatever comfortable towers we are sitting on, and reinvent a lot of things.
#3 Reviving Rural India
Sadhguru: Statistics say that around 72% of the world's investment is just in some thirty-odd cities in the world. It is quite natural for people from other areas to migrate there. In India, it was estimated that 220 million people will move from rural to urban India. You can imagine the plight of the cities if this happens.
If we have to prevent this, investments must spread. This Manchester-style of building industry has to go. That is where the mass production system started where everything has to be done in one place and everyone must come to one place and work. But all the industry need not be concentrated in a few cities. It needs to spread. If we do not focus on spreading industry across the seven-hundred and odd districts in the country, migration will become too difficult to manage.
Right now, India's economy is sitting on a very narrow stool, which is not a safe way to build the economy. It has to spread and the only way you can spread it is by taking it to rural India in some way. I understand that it is much more difficult because to get talent in rural India and to train people takes much more. But if you do this now, it will be far more resilient. If ten years later another virus or something else comes our way, we will be able to sail through those things much better.
Agriculture and allied industry is a major possibility. Agroforestry, where trees are grown alongside conventional crops can be a game-changer for the rural economy. We have supported 69,760 farmers to shift to agroforestry and their incomes have gone up 300-800% in 5-7 years. Economic possibilities must spread across geography and agroforestry is a significant step in this direction.
4. Business Opportunities in Agriculture
Sadhguru: Right now, India is the only nation in the world where 60% of the population still knows how to perform this magic of transforming mud into food. We are capable of growing food twelve months of the year, and we have the soil types, climatic conditions and latitudinal spread to grow almost any crop in the world. In the next five to ten years, if we do the right things, we can establish India as the breadbasket of the world. We need to focus on this. That is where the people are, that is where the land is and that is where India's wealth is.
5. Rethinking Education
Sadhguru: A sea change in education has been long overdue. Thanks to the virus and to artificial intelligence, schools, the way we know them, may come to an end.
Right now, the schooling system is just delivering information to students, which is redundant because this is the information age – information is available everywhere. You don’t need a textbook to find it. Teachers don’t need to provide information. They should provide inspiration, focus, experimentation and various other things.
The biggest danger right now is that we have too many youth with the attitude of the educated but they cannot add two plus two. For example, in Tamil Nadu, there is a rule that every child gets promoted up to the tenth standard, irrespective of whether they pass the examinations. This is misplaced compassion. Because of this, we have many children who cannot go back and work in the farm or whatever trade their father might have been doing because they are not physically fit enough, nor do they have the attitude to go back. But they think they are educated. There are millions of youth like this in the country right now. This is a hotbed for crime, terror, extremism and all kinds of things because youth are just hanging around on the street without any skills.
We must set up a structure that by the time you are eighteen, either you must be going to a university or you must have some livelihood skills. If you do not have both, you must be conscripted into either the military or paramilitary or a one year residential skill development institution . They must go through the discipline of becoming physically fit, mentally fit and disciplined enough to learn a skill and execute it.
You will develop enormous amount of skill in the country with this. Everyone does not have an academic mindset. They do not have to go to the university. They have to learn other skills, innovations and a variety of things.
Industry needs skills. They can make a slightly long-term investment and train tenth standard children for their industry’s requirements. A certain amount of disruption will be there, but we must be willing to go through that. Only then will we unleash the potential of this youthful population.
6. Turning Waste into Wealth
Sadhguru: In India, except for a handful, most cities have not been planned properly. They have grown haphazardly over hundreds of years. Because of this, sanitation is a huge challenge. If we have to handle this, one significant thing is that there must be clear separation between industrial and domestic waste.
Right now for many polluting industries, there is a law in the country that they must set up their own treatment plants. That has been our biggest mistake because such treatment plants will only work on the inspection day! It is most important that a treatment industry grows in such a way that your effluent is my business and my raw material. Then I will make sure my raw material is always flowing and my business is to treat it. You can make treatment industry very lucrative.
For domestic waste, as there is a charge for how much water or electricity you use, there must also be a charge for how much sewage you discharge. This has to happen otherwise there will be no money for treatment. Today, there are many technologies to transform filth into wealth. If there is an economic value to it, people will not let it go waste. This can be a journey from filth to wealth.