This is what Romi Mahajan had to say as a part of his vision for the city.
Romi, Marketing & Technology Expert, is frequently visiting Udaipur, providing consulting and a vision oriented approach to his clients in the region, one of which happens to be Advaiya Solutions Pvt Ltd. In a short discussion with UdaipurTimes, he was extremely upbeat on the ‘destination’ capabilities of Udaipur, like other Tier II and Tier III cities in India.
He is bullish on the proposition that such smaller cities have the potential to become the next technology destination for national and global vendors as well as end technology users. In the words of Romi, “I believe the Tier 2 and 3 cities represent a large portion of India’s future potential. The reasons are very clear – people, people, people. In my experience the people in these cities are teeming with energy and desire and are just as creative as those in any other city. Perhaps their creativity is expressed “locally” but on the other hand, I’ve also seen enough “me too” ideas and companies in the metros so let’s not get too uppity about the quality of folks in the big cities either”.
Udaipur, like any other smaller city, has its own fair share of problems related to infrastructure and manpower, but Romi feels that it need not be a permanent feature of the overall ecology of the city. He is of the view that Udaipur can build a useful and simultaneously equitable infrastructure; the city can tap into the energies of the entire population, not just of a handful of elite people. In terms of human capital, the cities like Udaipur are really seeing a lot of “reverse migration”, of folks who are either priced-out of the big cities or just disgusted by pollution, traffic, crime, and corruption. They will go to Tier 2 and 3 cites and along with the cities’ natives will create amazing outcomes.
A large part of the general opinion revolving around technology and IT Services companies is based on perceptions of the West. Romi challenges that and says, “Life doesn’t revolve around the perceptions of Europeans or Americans. So the question while important is not a be-all end-all question. Second, if this is so, there is no reason why the West does not look towards cities like ours. As long as work is done well and the mix of innovation and fair pricing is found, no one has reason to look askance as these cities. Perhaps we’ll have to overcome some perception issues but that will happen quickly when the quality of work is established”.
As a consultant, Romi has travelled the world, and here in India, his work takes him to the Metros and has also brought him here to Udaipur. Why he chose Udaipur as a base for Technology sourcing? – he points out,
“For me personally Udaipur happened to be home to dynamic people in the tech world who I happened to know. That said, in 3 trips in the past 12 months, it’s clear to me that things are happening in the city. Moreover the hunger is there to make a large impact and to show the capabilities of Udaipur’s people. So will it be a long journey? Perhaps. But nowadays, time is measured in months not decades.
He added, “There are existing capabilities in Udaipur but it will take time for the city to rise up to the challenge. Further, it will only happen if the right people make the right decisions now. We need vision, not short-term thinking. We need to imagine what the city could be not get caught up in the day to day bickering and pandering that seems to be so endemic in India.”
There exists a long list of changes that need to be happening in the existing eco-system of Udaipur, but to make it really big, a few pointers from him:
· Work with each other and collaborate. Buy from each other when you can. Stop pulling each other down by looking to maximize profit in every interaction.
· Think of the overall ecosystem and not just your own company or job. Right outside the IT Park is heaps of trash. Plastic that will stay in the ecosphere for decades. Why can’t we clean it up as citizens? Why do we wait for government and then blame them?
· We need to think about proper education that incites creativity and not rote learning.
· We need to build a foundation of basic Science and Mathematics so that we can create a real intellectual momentum in the city.
· We have to build bridges between business and civil society. Let’s build products and services that help the “Aam Udaipuri” and then worry about other things.