Friday, August 15, 2008

Independence Day

Today is the 61st anniversary of India's independence from Britain. Family friend Shreekant Sambrani mulls India's spectacular economic growth in an I-Day column for the Business Standard. This part is important to point out, especially to all those who equate market reforms only with unmitigated evil:
Second, poverty, once a defining adjective for India, is on the decline. It is now not confined only to official statistics, the latest of which point out that for the first time the number of the poor is actually falling and at a rapid rate at that. The poverty ratio in 2005-06 was 24 per cent, with an actual decline of over 20 million in the head count of 280 million over the preceding year (Planning Commission internal assessment reported in The Indian Express, July 22, 2008). One can see it visually as well in travels in the countryside, including relatively remote areas. Let us accept this remission without entering into a debate as to what caused it.
There is of course a "and yet" in India's story. The column suggests that this can be tackled by greater job growth and lesser dependence on agriculture. And then there's this:
And finally to the rising spirits. The captains of industry may exult in it, but we are still an anarchistic people as public events, intolerance of any divergence, and the lack of discipline and public morality abundantly make clear. The eminent historian, Dr Harbans Mukhia, had observed in a luminous essay some years ago that the world over, development means a greater sense of responsibility and self-control, while in India, the exact reverse seems to be happening.
Another reminder that markets and capitalism are not ends, but means. The culture -- and the values of that culture -- are crucial to integrated and equitable development

1 comment:

izmir evden eve said...
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