When Ranbir Singh Butola took over as the managing director of ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) in 2004, the overseas subsidiary of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), his brief was to expand India's oil and gas footprint.

India has 8.1 million children out of school, 41.6 per cent of its population lives below the poverty line, the maternal mortality rate is 450 per 1,00,000 live births and merely 16 per cent of its labour force has received formal education till the secondary level.

In a remote village of district Chamoli, Uttarakhand, farmer Hari Singh no longer needs to travel to the distant bank branch.

It's the favourite mantra of policymakers, politicians and India Inc and they never tire of prescribing it as a driver of growth and employment generation. Tragically though, for all the chants, once a top item on the infrastructure agenda of the Essars, DLFs and Parsvnaths, special economic zones (SEZs) are now off the priority list of corporate investments.

Managing a country's limited resources for development purposes is not exactly taught even in the world's best B-schools. It comes with years of ground experience and foresight.

In its journey as the leading oil and gas exploration company in the world, ONGC (Established 1956), which contributes over 80 per cent of India's oil and gas production, has single-handedly scripted its hydrocarbon saga.

It is the favourite mantra of policy makers, politicians and prescribing economists. And they chant it relentlessly as an antidote to recession and a supplement to boost growth. Tragically though, for all the chanting of the infrastructure mantra the Government has not been able to change the religion of sloth on the ground.

It is an outrageous fact that corporate India faces day after day. In colloquial terms it is called a power shutdown; experts call it an outage or disruption in power supply. Very simply power is not available for use. This disruption or outage, if you please, costs India Inc Rs 43,205 crore every year.

The worst affected is India

It happens only in India. The country is the second largest producer of food in the world, yet over 300 million people go without two square meals a day. Ironically, food worth Rs 58,000 crore

Between India Shining and Jai Ho, through four years of high growth that India became the story of global markets, not much has changed on the ground, it would seem. Between aspirational Indians vying for better and richer lifestyles, there are millions still below the poverty line.

India trails badly on the human development indicators. Illustration: Saurabh Singh