Tata Nano has been a topic of much debate since it has been put before the world. It is going to be the cheapest car in the world. No mean feat that is. And kudos to Ratan Tata for pulling that. It is exemplary. But as good as it sounds as an achievement, it has created quite a furore in economic and political circles. There are plenty of issues which are in focus which I am jotting here:
- Congestion of already congested, narrow roads.
- Safety, Accidents
- Fuel Price and Consumption
- Market Reception and success
- How will it help the economy
We already know what condition our roads are in. They are narrow, congested even with the few four wheelers that are there and pot holes abound. In this situation if there is a car with every household what will the condition be we can hardly imagine. To this the arguments are that the deteriorated condition will force the government to take action and better the roads. That’s being fairly optimistic but I think that is possible.
It will enable the lower middle class to be owning a vehicle ( a four wheeler) who might have had a two wheeler till now and in that sense, it reduces the number and chances of accidents ( two wheelers being more risky ). But, there are also questions being raised about the safety in Nano as in if an accident occurs then the riders are prone to getting hurt. About these aspects I think that as the demand increases, the technology will better itself and safety measures and fuel efficiency will improve.
The question of pollution stays and there will be a definite increase in pollution.For this I think we should not blame nano solely but urge the engineers to find a really good way to curb pollution. Fuel prices and consumption will be affected. I am not so sure about the numbers but someone told me that two wheelers saved fuel while a 4 wheeler drank more of it. But we are here reducing the number of two wheelers so that saves some fuel. I am lost on the fuel aspect here. Enlighten me someone, if you will.
As far as I see, there will be a welcome given to Nano since now most of the lower middle class would be able to afford a car and that would mean an improved standard of living, a better status and to some extent increase in confidence.
How it helps the economy? Well, for one more production would mean more jobs, more utilization of materials hence growth. As Tata proposes to issue the parts to be assembled at various assembly centres run as franchises, it would employ many people. So, it increases employment, however slightly. Slight is better than naught after all.
There is the SEZ issue of Nandigram also attached to it. Tata Nano has come forth with many polemical strings attached to it. Only time will tell whether it is for the good or for the worse but this much is clear that it has come at a time and in a way where it will do nothing to curb or prevent environmental degradation but is surely an emblem of hope and signal of the rise of new, innovative corporate India.
I am optimistic about it.