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Ring in the innovations

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In the previous foreword, I had written that the solution to the land acquisition issue is directly linked with compensation and rehabilitation of project affected people. Recently, when Mr Sunil Mantri told me that he was developing a 2000 acre project in Madhya Pradesh, the discussion immediately veered towards land acquisition. Surprisingly, Mr Mantri was quite cool about it. He has proposed a new model in this regard to the Government of Madhya Pradesh. Accordingly, each farmer who gives land becomes a kind of a stakeholder in the project. So instead of a one-time compensation, the farmer is assured of a long-term reward making it a win-win situation. The proposal has been accepted and the project will soon move ahead.

A similar model has been implemented successfully for the Magarpatta City near Pune where 120 families of farmers came together for a 400 acre project. In fact, inspired by this success, the Ministry of Urban Development has recommended this model for all integrated townships and SEZs. Thus, by implementing an innovative model, people have proved that a key issue like land acquisition can be successfully resolved.

As we enter the New Year and the New Decade, let us power our hopes, dreams and ambitions with innovations. The Indian economy is once again on the verge of a major transformation. Our nation’s economic transformation is invariably interlinked with the progress of key sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, textiles, services, IT & ITeS, retail, engineering, telecom, power, mining and of course, housing. And the progress of all these key sectors ultimately depends on good infrastructure. Thus, it will be imperative to comprehensively resolve all issues and challenges creating obstacles in infrastructure development. We sincerely believe that it is possible to tackle these issues – Lack of skilled workforce, Availability of funds, Contract management, Government policies, Land acquisition, etc. – with innovative ideas.

It is time to break free from the archaic approach and think out of box. Many times, a simple and effective solution is available at the hand but we are too engulfed (and influenced) by the usual complexities. When William Levitt returned to New York after the Second World War, he saw a dire need for affordable housing. He also saw a business opportunity in the problem and was soon running a successful construction business. Where was the innovation? – You would ask since Levitt did have experience and resources for the business. Well, he did not have time as other developers too had seen the opportunity. So he thought out of the box. He replicated the assembly-line production techniques to housing construction and literally converted the business into a manufacturing process. He created a planned community – rightly called as Levittown. Little wonder that Levitt often compared his business to the then General Motors. As someone has very rightly said, ‘Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a problem’. What do you think?

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Sept 2020
01 Sep 2020