Did you ever think, what does the private sector bring to the table? What is private sector’s contribution in the development of a nation? A vibrant private sector represents great technical expertise and domain knowledge in multiple fields. It is thin, lean and mean machine that delivers with ruthless precision, uncompromising standards and time bound progress. It is also synonymous with alacrity and swiftness with which it translates theories into action, boardroom blueprints into engineering marvels and ultimately into revenue. It has been instrumental in turning the wheels of progress of our country especially after the country won hard fought freedom in 1947. At that time the government sector was small and fledgling, that could not have provided all that was required for national security and to satisfy the needs and aspirations of millions of Indians. Initially when India won freedom, there were no industries either to feed, to cloth or provide jobs to the entire population of the country. The government could not have swiftly set up capacities in the form of factories and industries and even provide capital on a large scale. This was where the private sector came in and filled the vacuum by kick starting the economy and providing jobs to fellow countrymen.
The government sector is thought to be devoid of initiative and speed, both of these are essential key drivers required to give much needed thrust and wings to the engines of progress. We may say, private sector is government sector minus lethargy and inertia. The vibrant initiative and intent to create something magnificent is what propels the private sector. The contribution of the private sector has been lauded frequently and credited with numerous achievements. The private sector has filled the void and delivered huge unprecedented success, what we never thought was possible given the enormity of the problems we faced. Another thing that private sector can really boast of is the surfeit of intellectual talent and opportunities for the worthy individuals. What keeps the private sector motivated to perform better? The single most important motivator is limitless financial reward that it bestows upon the worthy individuals in the form of fat salaries, bonuses and equity.
Today, the private sector has shared government’s load by providing a robust backbone in the fields of education, healthcare, banking, insurance, financial services, telecom, airlines, manufacturing, solar power generation, automobile and transportation, defence equipment, household, construction, entertainment etc. among many more.
The only downside of the ‘financial reward’ as a super motivator is that the chase and pursuit of profits may eventually lead to single minded approach and perpetration of corruption and aggrandisement of wealth.
In spite of all the positive contribution of private sector in diverse fields, one cannot be blind or oblivious to all the wrong practices that have crept in the sector which might spell doom. The fact that the private sector derives its motivation primarily from the financial rewards rather than altruistic practices and common good is a cause of worry. What the private sector wants is a strong hold on its money even if it has to disguise its inner feeling of ill will and least respect for individuals or institutions. They have no feeling of benevolence at heart but insensitive attitude while pursuing profits.
What is most worrisome is that even the private healthcare is not outside the reach of corrupt practices. For this very reason you find cases of cheating by doctors and hospitals on the rise in recent times. The very institutions that are supposed to save lives have transformed into money making machines handing out absurdly unreasonable medical bills even for trivial ailments. In recent times there have been at least two such incidents where the patients, both children, had lost their lives and the parents were asked to cough up bills worth millions. What is beyond all comprehension is the fact that after the patient was long dead and still the hospital continued treating so that it could elevate the bill amount. I shudder to think of a situation where a dead person is worth more than a healthy one. If the culpability is sufficiently and conclusively proved in the court of law, any violation should be punishable with 100 years in jail and a fine of Rs 100 crore. I am just angry, plain and simple.
A private school sells you various items like books, stationery, uniform and sports items. Not only this, they sell it at the marked price instead of offering a good discount which is the common market practice. Why should they sell in the first place? Schools making profits on these items is like booking profits from operations outside their scope of society or trust bye-laws. Is it not illegal? Is greed and sleaze clearly not at play? Had they sold at a better discount than the market, we would have been forced to change our view.
A manufacturer claims that his product is organically produced, but on going into the details, we find that there was nothing organic about it. He had been duping general public and evading their trust. What good is a private entity that misleads and falsifies information? There are a number of roadside food stalls that use unhealthy oils, sub-standard ingredients and serving you under unhygienic conditions that promise to make you very sick. A small shopkeeper may sell you a fake item and that too without slightest of compunction. There is no dearth of small time cheats who are ever ready to cheat you of your heard earned money at the drop of a hat.
A small manufacturer will hardly pay any regard to the environment protection techniques. It is rare that he will install any equipment that aims to mitigate pernicious effects of pollution since it will cost him money, as his main motive to earn money by whatever means, even if it means playing with lives of general public. All he cares about is his profits, even if the methods he uses are hazardous to the environment. Only a strict compliance by authorities can force him to mend his ways and fall in line.
The eateries in the country should have passed on the benefit of reduced GST rate from 18% to 5% to its customers after the rate was reduced. How many actually did it in sincere spirit? Instead, they chose to increase their card rates, to keep the overall bill amount the same as before which effectively nullified and negated the reduction of rates by the government.
There are numerous such examples apart from the ones mentioned above. Who is to blame? Sincerely speaking, I have no answers this time. Those who think strongly on the subject, may post their feedback and comments in reply to this blog.