From little choice to myriad choice Fruits of opening up

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The fruits of opening up. And so it is that the people of India have moved from the days when the choice was between an Ambassador or a Fiat (Premier Padmini) to multiple choices now. Brands which were then foreign have arrived here today opening up the choice of the people. So from between an Ambassador or a Fiat, the choice is today limitless. Hyundai, Datsun, Ford, Nissan, Volkswagen, Audi, Chevrolet, Toyota, Hindustan Motors, Tata and the choice is today vast. The same thing goes too in the two wheeler sector and today it is much more than the Bajaj, Vespa and Rajdoot. It was not always like this. Those who grew up in the 70s and 80s will remember how long one would have to wait to buy a new car or a two wheeler. Long wait plus little choice. This was the situation then but now a look at the roads in any city will tell how cars from different companies have become the people’s choice and this is a welcome change. The credit for opening up the economy should obviously go to the late Naramsimha Rao and his then Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in 1991 for opening up the economy to improve the financial health of the country. There are proponents and opponents of this policy but what is obvious is the point that people today have more choice, something which would not have been thought possible earlier.
Manipur too has not been left untouched by the winds of economic liberalisation. So from the days when students used to go to school on bicycles today it is more about moving on two wheelers. Not suprisingly there are merits and demerits of letting young students go to school and college on two wheelers but this is besides the point. Central to all this is the point of how much has changed post 1991-1996. The important question here is whether the mindset of the people here have been able to keep pace with the materialistic changes that one sees all around. Have the people moved along with the need of the time or are their mentality still stuck at that time when the choice was between an Ambassador or a Fiat ? Fast cars and fancy motor bikes can be picked up from the market but is the mindset of the people in tune with the latest technology and marketing techniques that have come about ? For Manipur to reap the dividends that the new age offers, the mentality of the people too should move along with the time. Absolutely makes no sense in moving around with the latest technology if the mindset continues to be caught in a time warp.

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