I am 26 running 27. My first 25 years I lived in India. A country known for many things, famous and notorious. The past one year I have been living in Dubai, UAE. I always considered the Middle East, particularly Dubai, as a source of making a quick buck and getting the hell back to your home town.
But then, I noticed that the only thing I was missing in this foreign place, was my family and friends. I wasn’t missing my country. I wasn’t missing my place of origin. If my family and friends were here I would be better off living here.
I sat and thought about it and the realization was pretty simple. Dubai is superior in all terms. Why?
Having spent one year in Dubai I realized this place is far well equipped from all angles when compared to India. There is social security. There are no political fallouts. The economy is booming. No tax! the infrastructure is fantastic. And above all the people are great. There is a strong civic sense.
How is it that such a small Emirate has scaled such Herculean heights? Is it because the population is small and manageable? Is it because there is no poverty? Is it because they are rich in oil? NO.
The population being small or large does not matter when running a country. Anyone who has lived in Dubai for a few years know that Dubai has developed only in the past 30 years. It was a nomadic culture before that. And for those under an illusion that Dubai is oil rich, it sure is not. Their oil reserves which has been responsible for the country’s superb transformation and prosperity is scheduled to run out in the next 20 years!
As I see it, their phenomenal progress is a culmination of many factors the most important 3 being:
The leaders of this nation have taken it upon themselves to put Dubai on the world map and make it the place to be. Their vision is to be the destination of choice. And they have pulled out all stops in ensuring that.
Liberal economic policies coupled with world class infrastructure has created a congenial atmosphere for trade to flourish. The cropping up of state of the art business hubs like Media City, Internet City, Knowledge Village and the numerous free zones has ensured that.
The real estate and the retail sector is booming as the focus shifts to transforming Dubai as a tourist destination. The contribution of the non-oil sector has risen for one third of GDP in 1993 to over two thirds today. They had the vision to realize that oil is not going to last forever. Their dependence on it should reduce.
And why are they doing this? Because, there is a sense of ownership towards the nation. Every citizen of this country feels the country is their home. Unlike in India, as our Honorable President Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam put it, in India everyone is out to rape the nation. In Dubai, they ensure through rigorous rules, that it does not allow anyone to rape it. Any initiative taken is given the full respect it deserves.
This sense of ownership, leads us to the next factor, commitment. Since people feel they are a part of this place, there is a sub-conscious commitment to the set vision. Rules are also set which ensures that people are committed to their duties and responsibilities to the nation. The commitment to good governance is supreme.
I noticed that of the above three factors, at least 2 are missing. Ownership and commitment. A country is only as good as its people. You may have the vision set for the next 20 years, but if the ownership and commitment is absent among the administrators and the citizens, there is absolutely no use.
This commitment and ownership should flow right from the politicians to the peon in a government office and every citizen of the nation. The day we understand this, is the day we will start overtaking other nations in the quest to be known as a developed nation.
Till then, you will have people like me writing blogs like this. I know what you are going to ask me. What am I going to do for my nation? Frankly, I don’t have an answer. I believe no one can single handedly bring about a transformation. It has got to be a collective effort. The sooner this enlightenment happens the better it is for India.