India in the 1990s was a time of rapid growth of the technical sector. Top technical companies that found its wings included Cisco, Google, Microsoft and Infosys. Additionally, in recent years, space-flight programs have been launched and heavily funded. Funding for technical research and implementation has some people cock-eyed. How can a city such as Bangalore, flooded with beggars and rotting food, be spending money on technical advancement?
The levels of poverty in Bangalore are growing faster than the technical industry. More and more people inhabit the city attracted to its industrial growth. Bangalore is a place where extreme poverty exists directly alongside wealthy high-tech culture.
Fortunately, some non-governmental organizations are recognizing the impoverished people’s need for assistance. Azim Premji, Chairman of Wipro, one of the most successful companies in India, has addressed the local community by establishing the Azim Premji Foundation. The foundation is a separate business endeavor from his company, and is privately funded. The foundation seeks to improve education among the Indian people. One of the foundation’s primary beliefs is to educate India’s youth, and by doing so, create a successful society for coming generations.
The CEO of the Azim Premji Foundation, Dileep Ranjeker believes large companies need to open eyes to the poverty needs, and invest in communities. “Many corporate efforts are fairly myopic, narrow minded, and self centered. These are strong words but they are realities,” explains Ranjeker. “If corporations accept that their employees have a life beyond the workplace, then they should take some responsibility and reach out to that life.”
The city of Bangalore feels like a place that grew too quickly, and did not adequately plan how to be successful among the rapid change. With too many people, the overcrowded city does have one form of strength—the people themselves. It is these people who can restructure the city and make it work.
Some complain Bangalore is spending too much on high-tech industries. $73 million was spent on a space project called Mangalyaan, conducted by ISRO, the Defense Research and Development Organization in Bangalore. While this is a good chunk of money, the government, notably, just signed into law the Food Security Bill, which will provide 800 million Indians with food. The bill will cost about 20 billion dollars each year.
While Bangalore is a place where impoverished people and stray dogs live among technical corporations and skyscrapers, the government, corporations, and the people are working to create a manageable Bangalore.
– Laura Reinacher