Union finance minister, Mr P Chidambaram, has come up with a radical idea to make Mumbai a truly global city. It needs greater autonomy and better governance, if it has to deliver on good housing, roads, schools, water, and all the rest of the items that give a place a global city status. An experts committee on Mumbai as international financial capital has said Mumbai needs to be seen across the world as a welcoming cosmopolitan and cultured metropolis capable of accommodating a large number of expatriates.
Isn’t this the kind of vision many have for Bangalore? Mere location of a number of IT companies and BPOs do not make a Silicon Valley, as our consul general in San Francisco, Mr B S Prakash would tell us – ‘Silicon Valley is not a point in the map but a state of mind’. A defining feature of Silicon Valley, according to him, is ‘affluence in the air but with no signs of stress or striving’. We can’t say this about Bangalore, can we?
If we set up an experts committee on Bangalore as a global IT capital, it wouldn’t come up with anything very different from the findings of the Mumbai committee. Mr Chidambaram’s observation on greater autonomy and better governance was made at a conference organized by the Finance ministry and the Confederation of Indian Industry to discuss the experts committee report.