Around the Web

Watch: PM Modi’s 2013 speech reveals the real reasons behind launching the high-speed Bullet Train

‘Start a high-speed bullet train from Ahmedabad to Mumbai. With that, people will realise the strength of our nation.’


On September 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese President Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone for India’s first high-speed “bullet” train running from Ahmedabad to Mumbai. The train, which will cost Rs 1.1 lakh crore, is expected to be completed by 2022, and will cover a distance of 650-km in about two hours – while charging commuters fares nearly equivalent to that of a flight.

The announcement of this high-cost project has led to several questions on social media regarding its necessity, and whether it really helps in building a “New India” and developing the nation, as Modi promises, or whether it is a costly gimmick with little utility outside of rhetoric.

Turns out, Modi himself made his intentions regarding the bullet train rather clear in a 2013 speech, before he became prime minister, at the Indian Merchants’ Chamber Interactive Meeting. In the video (above), starting from 42:25 minutes, he – then the chief minister of Gujarat – speaks of India’s image to the rest of the world. Here is a brief English translation of a part of his speech:

“If we do small things, nothing will happen. We need to think big, we need to think on a large canvas. What we tend to do is, we’ll go ahead by 0.1 percent, 0.2 percent – this will not change anything. We need to think on a massive scale...

One day, while talking to the Prime Minister, I told him, ‘Look, nobody ever talks about China as a whole. It’s not like they show all of China – even they just show off Shanghai to the world.’ So I said even we, as a country, should do some things to show the entire world our power of strength. Why else, on January 26, do we have a show of strength of our military? Is our country only safe if our missiles go through Vijay Chowk? It’s only to show the world that even we have strength. That’s the only reason. And our own people also feel powerful thinking that yes, we have military power. And that is why on January 26 we put on a massive parade to showcase our military strength.

The same way, this is required in the business world as well. So I told the Prime Minister, ‘Do this one small project. Start a high-speed bullet train from Ahmedabad to Mumbai. With that, people will realise the strength of our nation. No one is going to come to sit in the train; (but) we are no less, we also have to do these things.”

This is Modi’s idea of the project, as a beacon to the rest of the world about India’s progress, even if it is not terribly practical for people in the country.

In the same speech, Modi also spoke of another large project with little utility. The “Statue of Unity”, double the size of the Statue of Liberty in the US, he referred to has become the model for the statue of Vallabhbhai Patel to be erected in Gujarat. Intended as the world’s tallest and biggest statue at 182 metres, it will cost Rs 2,989 crores to build. “I want to see the world bowing at its feet.” Modi said.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Putting the patient first - insights for hospitals to meet customer service expectations

These emerging solutions are a fine balance between technology and the human touch.

As customers become more vocal and assertive of their needs, their expectations are changing across industries. Consequently, customer service has gone from being a hygiene factor to actively influencing the customer’s choice of product or service. This trend is also being seen in the healthcare segment. Today good healthcare service is no longer defined by just qualified doctors and the quality of medical treatment offered. The overall ambience, convenience, hospitality and the warmth and friendliness of staff is becoming a crucial way for hospitals to differentiate themselves.

A study by the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions in fact indicates that good patient experience is also excellent from a profitability point of view. The study, conducted in the US, analyzed the impact of hospital ratings by patients on overall margins and return on assets. It revealed that hospitals with high patient-reported experience scores have higher profitability. For instance, hospitals with ‘excellent’ consumer assessment scores between 2008 and 2014 had a net margin of 4.7 percent, on average, as compared to just 1.8 percent for hospitals with ‘low’ scores.

This clearly indicates that good customer service in hospitals boosts loyalty and goodwill as well as financial performance. Many healthcare service providers are thus putting their efforts behind: understanding constantly evolving customer expectations, solving long-standing problems in hospital management (such as long check-out times) and proactively offering a better experience by leveraging technology and human interface.

The evolving patient

Healthcare service customers, who comprise both the patient and his or her family and friends, are more exposed today to high standards of service across industries. As a result, hospitals are putting patient care right on top of their priorities. An example of this in action can be seen in the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. In July 2015, the hospital launched a ‘Smart OPD’ system — an integrated mobile health system under which the entire medical ecosystem of the hospital was brought together on a digital app. Patients could use the app to book/reschedule doctor’s appointments and doctors could use it to access a patient’s medical history, write prescriptions and schedule appointments. To further aid the process, IT assistants were provided to help those uncomfortable with technology.

The need for such initiatives and the evolving nature of patient care were among the central themes of the recently concluded Abbott Hospital Leadership Summit. The speakers included pundits from marketing and customer relations along with leaders in the healthcare space.

Among them was the illustrious speaker Larry Hochman, a globally recognised name in customer service. According to Mr. Hochman, who has worked with British Airways and Air Miles, patients are rapidly evolving from passive recipients of treatment to active consumers who are evaluating their overall experience with a hospital on social media and creating a ‘word-of-mouth’ economy. He talks about this in the video below.


As the video says, with social media and other public platforms being available today to share experiences, hospitals need to ensure that every customer walks away with a good experience.

The promise gap

In his address, Mr. Hochman also spoke at length about the ‘promise gap’ — the difference between what a company promises to deliver and what it actually delivers. In the video given below, he explains the concept in detail. As the gap grows wider, the potential for customer dissatisfaction increases.


So how do hospitals differentiate themselves with this evolved set of customers? How do they ensure that the promise gap remains small? “You can create a unique value only through relationships, because that is something that is not manufactured. It is about people, it’s a human thing,” says Mr. Hochman in the video below.


As Mr. Hochman and others in the discussion panel point out, the key to delivering a good customer experience is to instil a culture of empathy and hospitality across the organisation. Whether it is small things like smiling at patients, educating them at every step about their illness or listening to them to understand their fears, every action needs to be geared towards making the customer feel that they made the correct decision by getting treated at that hospital. This is also why, Dr. Nandkumar Jairam, Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia, talked about the need for hospitals to train and hire people with soft skills and qualities such as empathy and the ability to listen.

Striking the balance

Bridging the promise gap also involves a balance between technology and the human touch. Dr. Robert Pearl, Executive Director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, who also spoke at the event, wrote about the example of Dr. Devi Shetty’s Narayana Health Hospitals. He writes that their team of surgeons typically performs about 900 procedures a month which is equivalent to what most U.S. university hospitals do in a year. The hospitals employ cutting edge technology and other simple innovations to improve efficiency and patient care.

The insights gained from Narayana’s model show that while technology increases efficiency of processes, what really makes a difference to customers are the human touch-points. As Mr. Hochman says, “Human touch points matter more because there are less and less of them today and are therefore crucial to the whole customer experience.”


By putting customers at the core of their thinking, many hospitals have been able to apply innovative solutions to solve age old problems. For example, Max Healthcare, introduced paramedics on motorcycles to circumvent heavy traffic and respond faster to critical emergencies. While ambulances reach 30 minutes after a call, the motorcycles reach in just 17 minutes. In the first three months, two lives were saved because of this customer-centric innovation.

Hospitals are also looking at data and consumer research to identify consumer pain points. Rajit Mehta, the MD and CEO of Max Healthcare Institute, who was a panelist at the summit, spoke of the importance of data to understand patient needs. His organisation used consumer research to identify three critical areas that needed work - discharge and admission processes for IPD patients and wait-time for OPD patients. To improve wait-time, they incentivised people to book appointments online. They also installed digital kiosks where customers could punch in their details to get an appointment quickly.

These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott is working with hospitals and healthcare professionals to improve the quality of health services.

To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the marketing team and not by the editorial staff.