Are we shining?

Posted in market, politics, public policy by Gautam on July 8, 2009

Martin Wolf wrote an article for the Financial Times, London in respose to a report published recently by a the Centennial Group for the years Emerging market Forum.  I have been following Wolf’s coloumns for a while and would like to reflect his observations in this one.

Wolf in this article talks about what it would take for India, to continue to ‘shine’ globally; he adds that if India is to actually meet the challenges ahead with consistancy, it will not only have to maintain current growth trends but go far beyond and transform such trends exponentially.  While the article is titled ‘What India needs to do to be an Affluent Country?’, his analysis of the report illustrates very realistically that, even considering our rise in the global scene over the past decades, to live upto expectations of the world in the post-economic-crunch theatre, will have to transform into something quite fundamentally different.

For the question posed by the title to be answered in the affirmative, we would have to achieve and maintain a consistent growth rate at 10% for the next generation. To have such a task seem concievable, he lists out 4 things; the world must remain peaceful; the world economy must remain open; India must avoid the stagnation into which many middle-income countries have fallen; and, finally, the resource and environmental implications of its rise to affluence must be managed.

However, what truly caught my eye in this piece is Wolf’s analysis of how India would have to tackle these issues.  First, tackling disparities, not least among social groupings, but without further entrenching group-based entitlements and group-based politics; second, improving the environment, including the global environment; third, eliminating India’s pervasive infrastructure bottlenecks; fourth, transforming the delivery of public services, particularly in India’s ill-served cities; fifth, renewing education, technological development and innovation; sixth, revolutionising energy production and consumption; and, finally, fostering a prosperous south Asia and becoming a responsible global power.

The parallels drawn with China and the reasons for optimism notwithstanding, I think he has been very straightforward in stating that India owes an obligation to live upto standards that we have promised the world and that such is not going to be easy in the slightest.

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One Response

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  1. Sameer Boray said, on November 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    India has been termed as a sleeping giant,A potential super power, the next force to reckon with.But for how long will it be before we can fulfill the world’s predictions that India will be up there shining on the world stage? If one looks at India through the eyes of an economist, we are certainly on our way there, considering we are the 3rd largest economy(excuse me if im wrong on this fact) in the world.But if India is viewed from the common man, the aam admi, the man(or woman) who is sitting in Ramnagara(about 50 kms from Bangalore city), one can see the paradox of India.Bangalore might represent India’s strength but its rural areas certainly represent its weaknesses and faults.

    A few days back, A CPI(M) leader made a comment on India “India is shining in the cities and suffering in the villages”.Unless we look at the bigger picture and get the basics right, it’ll be a long time before we can even dream of India being the next super power of the world

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