Generational Change

India finds itself in the midst of a large generational change. The old guard is making way for the new. In many places where the change has not taken place, it is imminent.

In politics, the two main national parties are the Congress and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who recently underwent surgery in New York, is all set to hand over reins to her son Rahul Gandhi. Most of the ministers in the Congress administration are well into their seventies and eighties and have under them junior ministers who are in their forties and fifties ( The potential retirees are Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Foreign Minister SM Krishna and Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

In the BJP, the last of the old guard is LK Advani. He has already handed over the position of the leader of the opposition to his younger colleague Sushma Swaraj. At the state level, the communist party in West Bengal with its aging leadership made way for the young Mamta Banerjee. In Tamil Nadu, the geriatric M. Karunanidhi was defeated by the young and energetic J. Jayalalitha.
In business, the largest group, the House of Tata is going to see its chairman Ratan Tata step down soon. Most Tata group companies have seen a change of guard to younger leadership in the last two years. Infosys, the poster child of the IT outsourcing industry, saw its celebrated founder Narayanamurthy step down from its board. Business groups like Godrej are getting ready for the next generation to take over the reins of their various businesses.

Baichung Bhutia, the most celebrated player in Indian soccer announced his retirement. Sachin Tendulkar, the greatest batsmen the sport of cricket has ever seen is not very far from retiring from the game.

What does all of this mean and why am I bringing it up?

India’s workforce is becoming younger and larger at a rate that is unprecedented in history. India will add 200 million people to its workforce between now and 2020. The change in leadership to a new generation of young achievers is going to transform the country. Younger leaders carry less baggage from the past and are more willing to change.

As India undergoes a generation change, I am becoming more optimistic about its future.