Are Indians Less Quality Conscious?“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”
Milton Hershey, the inventor and industrialist behind the world famous Hershey’s chocolates once said “Give them quality. That is the best kind of advertising.” Quality is not just what is put into a product or service, it is also what consumers get out of it, according to management guru Peter Drucker. There’s no two ways about it….at the end, quality matters most.
When it comes to quality, the million dollar question is do Indians settle for less? Are we less quality conscious as a community? After all, our air is more polluted, our milk is contaminated and our production houses ranging from pharma to manufacturing are notorious for not meeting global quality standards!
Does this mean Indians as a group don’t consider the importance of quality consciousness? Let’s see the truth of the matter in this group discussion topic and how far Indians are really quality conscious.Yes1. Way Behind International Standards
When it concerns quality, Indians as a community and a society are way behind the global standards of excellence in nearly all spheres from education to health, industry, services, sports or any other sphere. Consider the high rejection rate of Indian goods for export for failure to meet quality standards. Taking shortcuts and adulteration are a way of life in India. As long as the mindset does not change, low quality standards will remain. 2. Cost Matters More
In a country ridden by poverty and unequal development, where slum dwellers live in the same city as millionaires, cost considerations become more important than quality. This explains the success of Chinese goods in India. India has a larger proportion of Chinese imported goods well known for their cheap prices and poor quality. The growing popularity of these goods point to a mindset which values cost over quality.3. Quality of Retail Products Poor
A chief indicator of a nation’s success is the quality of its retail products. In India, food is adulterated, oil is mixed and milk is contaminated. Lack of quality consciousness is a way of life in India. This is why even foreign companies selling in India don’t offer goods conforming to international standards of excellence. Try purchasing foreign wine in India for example. You will find the blends and taste are far inferior to a bottle purchased in the French Rivera or even the United States.
Even fruits and vegetables are grown using chemicals and are hazardous to health in India. Lack of standards of quality regulation take a toll on the health of Indian consumers too.4. Less Conscious About Quality
Various street food chains, weekly markets or vendors on the roadside doing brisk businesses points to the fact that Indians as a nation do not value quality. This tendency is apparent in not just food or retail, but health and infrastructure as well. 5. Low on Quality From Sports to Leaders
Global comparisons show Indian athletes seldom make it to the top, barring few sports like cricket and badminton. In India, awareness about quality performance is missing. Leaders are also not aware about the needs of the people. Rather than selecting quality leaders, vote bank politics prevails. Even in the entertainment sector, movies are banal and copies of their more successful foreign counterparts.6. Quality Matters Less and Less
Even when it comes to skilled manpower offering quality services, there is an acute shortage further accentuating that quality consciousness is something India still needs to cultivate. No1. No Longer Compromising on Quality
The rise of awareness programmes such as Jaago Grahak Jaago and the recent ASCI bar on misleading ads points to a changing trend among consumers. Indians are no longer willing to compromise on quality and have become more aware of the tricks of traders. 2. Quality Standards
Quality standards such as ISI mark, AGMARK, BIS or even the move by FSSAI to ban Maggi and Nestle products on account of contaminants points to the changing view regarding quality. GoI has taken on various marks of standardization or hallmarks to ensure quality of products in daily use such as ghee, agricultural produce or even precious commodities like gold and silver. 3. Plenty of Subsidies
Many subsidies are being provided to sectors such as agriculture and the wider industry to improve productivity and yield and further enhance the quality of products. For example, regulatory pharma bodies are emphasising the need for Indian medical companies to produce quality drugs that are US FDA compliant. 4. From Call Centres to Super Marts
The local handyman or kirana store is no longer good enough for quality conscious Indians. Numerous BPOs and call centres are being set up by domestic and international companies to provide 24/7 support and quality services. National enterprises in retail such as Reliance Fresh and Big Bazaar are improvising on quality of products and services to a massive extent. 5. Wide Ranging Reforms
Since 1992, in the post liberalisation era, various economic and political reforms and constitutional amendments have been introduced to enhance the quality of governance and civil administration for public or national good. Introduction of BPL schemes, support for farmers and marginalised or poorer sections of society and steps to improve the condition of government schools, colleges and hospitals have been taken.Concluding Thoughts
India is changing as technology brings new levels of comfort to our existence. In such a scenario, quality becomes a matter of choice. You can opt for a superior brand or a cheap variant, based on your budget and preferences. As Indians increase their earning power, and the economy takes a turn for the better, the rise in quality consciousness marks the advent of the new Indian, who will not settle for second best!