Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nano or No-no: Inspiration or Botheration

I had actually started out to write a post about how I worried about the Nano causing a quantum jump in traffic. Shashank and I had a very long (and turbulent) conversation where in the end we both agreed (I think!) that getting the Nano out is a great achievement, but couldn't decide on the impact.

He said: That's the government's headache. Don't blame Ratan Tata. Applaud him for now.
She said: But even if the government wanted to do anything now, it will always be behind time.

He's right, of course. I'm only looking for Utopia. I still worry about the state of traffic, but I think what Shashank wanted to say is actually succinctly expressed by CK Prahlad in his article in the Sunday Times on January 13:

"I think this is the wrong starting point for debate. We should ask ourself: What if we devoted the same energy and ingenuity to solving the problems of discipline in traffic management? In energy efficiency? These problems may lead us to breakthrough innovations. But I am glad that the debate has started. That is a good sign. This innovation is serious.

But now, let us celebrate."

More representations of Shashank's views also expressed in this article in the same paper.

So yeah, Nano: Inspiration!


Payal said...

Yes, well, hardened cynic that I am, the first thing I thought of was the traffic! And while I know that the other side of the argument is valid, I haven't much hope that we as a people can "devote the same energy and ingenuity to solving the problems of discipline in traffic management". We just don't seem to care.

(And I'm hogging your Comments section! *set up camp*)

Allons-y! said...

Well that's where the question arises - Should Ratan Tata have thought of that and desisted the Nano launch? Should HE be the one being blamed for any after effects?

Payal said...

I'd rather worry my pretty head with other important things -- like exactly when will Rose make her appearance in s4? And other such important things...

Yes, I know I'm shallow... *ashamed*

Allons-y! said...

Escapist! :)

But the main point is... yeah, when is Rose coming back?!!!


(And will the person who really believes in the topic speak up?)

Temujin said...

Ahem! so willy nilly one manages to take the discussion away from the mystical doctor. But only for a bit! sigh.. :)

Well here goes some of my thoughts. Again taking a short cut by just plugging in bullet points.

1. Ratan Tata's or indeed any car manufacturer's main job is to deliver cheaper and better transport solutions within the framework of the law and regulations. There is no question that he has far exceeded his mandate! There have been various comparisons drawn wherein it has clearly been demonstrated that this is THE cheapest car that was ever built. So firstly Kudos to that. Secondly to penalise the Tatas for developing and launching nano for anything (Except of course the quality of mfg issues, if any - which is a separate discussion) will clearly be an error of colossal magnitude. Assuming that nano delivers on quality and consistency issues, my heart swells with pride to know that India has delivered nano to the world! How about considering someone like RNT for Bharat Ratna rather than these useless politicians (okay gadadhari bheem cool down cool down!)

2. Agree with Sweepy on the impact bit. Surely this will have a significant impact in terms of traffic congestion and pollution. Firstly as on the cnogestion bit, as an 'enlightened manufacturer' and a group with a 'social conscience' perspective perhaps (but only very marginally so) the Tatas may have some responsibility of working towards the mitigation of the impact. But CLEARLY this is the responsibility of government and NOT the industry.

3. Of course energy/effort spent in targeting the nano could be better utilised to find a solution to the problem - but now I am repeating what has already been said. And here the optimist that I am, I can only hope that this actually pushes people/govt to come up with a solution to the traffic system (Eg; natural weeding out 3 wheeler autos - inherently unsafe and structurally designed to creat traffic jams due to better maneouverability; forcing people to carpool by choice or regulation, etc.)

4. Now re the enviroment impact. Dont even get me started. unit per unit which car will pollute more? a Nano or bigger car! There is a greater chance of carpooling in nano than in a mercedes S class. I rest my case! In fact on item 3 how about regulating all cars with a capacity greater than say 2000 cc in all metros by increased taxes!

5. On a side note, western press has again made some sarcy comments like this car does not power steering, ac and airbags! Let us be honest here.. most of the basic versions of most entry level small cars in India dont have that (say maruti 800) and these are still easily double the price of what nano will sell at! Also what these jokers dont realise is that in a place like India owning a car is more about economic affordability than about necessity and comforts.

And now for the apparently devious turnaround! I do realllllly hope that the quality issues are sorted out well enough. I am am unfortunate owner of Tata Indigo - but that is again a separate discussion. Let me not cloud Tata's and indeed India's moment of glory!

6. Only if you have diligently read up the above and thought aboutit will rose be able to return! ;)


PS: I think google prefers to know me as temujin and being technologically challenged I am unable to change from temujin to shashank