Prof. R Vaidyanathan speaking at a seminar on `Social Groups- Engines of Growth for Indian Economy’ stated that Asian economies predominantly operate on Trust as Communities are active. More than half of country’s GDP arises from hundreds of small-scale production units which operate as huge product hubs like Tirupur, Ludhiana and Sivakasi. Sivakasi for instance is dominated by Nadar caste groups and with social cohesion, business interests also grow.
The renowned Prof. Sri R Vaidyanathan, retd. IIMB professor, author, consultant to several advisory bodies like RBI, SEBI etc was speaking on the occasion of the Hyderabad book launch of his recent publication `Caste as Social Capital’ on the morning of 13th July 2019 at Moksh Banquets. The seminar and book launch was jointly organized by Samvit Kendra and Start-Up Bharat. Sri Ayush Nadimpalli of Samvit Kendra introduced Samvit’s work and publications and briefly spoke about Prof. Vaidyanathan’s previous books on Indian economy. Industrialist Sri Rajesh Naredi, of Yash group of companies was the chief guest on the occasion. He said that this is the first time that he is hearing about `caste’ in a non-negative way. He also shared his experience of how he expanded his business from scratch to thousand crore.
Prof. Vaidyanathan in his illuminating and witty key- note address spoke on the phenomenon of caste groups being in the forefront of businesses, thus building social capital and wealth, as well as driving the economy forward. He illustrated the case by giving several successful examples. He stated that it is well-known now that when British did the first Census in 1881 which included caste enumeration, they simply asked the enumerators to fit the hundreds and thousands of castes and sub-castes into what they figured out as India’s 4-tier caste system, and thus created caste hierarchies which didn’t exist before. Prior to that, every caste and sub-castes thought they were the best. He also brought out hitherto several unknown facts about the `caste’ factor in Indian politics and businesses. He stated that during 1947, when Sardar Patel was integrating India by merging the 560+ princely states into the Indian Union, 543 kingdoms were infact ruled by `oppressed and depressed classes’ of SC, ST and OBCs. It is also not well-known that during the 1980s, Mandal Commission infact used the old data from 1931 census, which itself was not systematic, as that was the last caste data available with the Government .
The caste /community based businesses like Tirupur and Sivakasi, infact created a huge base of educational institutes, chowltries and temples which served the specific communities and the society in general. He said, in his decades of research, he found that the least educated people exhibit better risk-taking capacity and thousands of them have turned into entrepreneurs and are running large businesses. He also gave the examples of Udipi hoteliers, the kites-manufacturing units in Ahmedabad, in which muslim community women make kites at home, and with Government of Gujarat’s impetus, this has grown into Rs1700 crores annual business of kite suppliers. Same is the case with Retail trade. Initial capital comes from families, extended families and relatives, `social pressure and self-interest’ works within the communities, and hence NPAs are almost negligible. He stated that as per the NSSO Data, he stated that nearly 75% of all private enterprises are owned by SC, ST, OBC communities !
Prof. Vaidyanathan stated that Society is well organized in India, owing to the strong family system, while western societies are disintegrating. In the west, Government are well-organized while unfortunately Governments in India are most `unorganized’. The well-attended energetic seminar concluded with interactive Q&A session and Sri Ajay Rawul of Start-up Bharat proposed the vote of thanks.