These days we read about how India is on the verge of becoming an economic superpower and how Manmohanics has turned around this country!
Along with numerous reports that India would become one of the top four economies in the world by 2035, these ideas are further strengthened by the booming IT industry in cities such as Bangalore.
Are we really to become a global power? Is this century going to be an India-China dominated one?
This article in the NY Times answers some of the questions. Though there is nothing new in this report, I loved this particular paragraph in it...
INDIA is a roaring capitalist success story." So says the latest issue of Foreign Affairs; and last week many leading business executives and politicians in India celebrated as Lakshmi Mittal, the fifth richest man in the world, finally succeeded in his hostile takeover of the Luxembourgian steel company Arcelor. India's leading business newspaper, The Economic Times, summed up the general euphoria over the event in its regular feature, "The Global Indian Takeover": "For India, it is a harbinger of things to come — economic superstardom."
This sounds persuasive as long as you don't know that Mr. Mittal, who lives in Britain, announced his first investment in India only last year. He is as much an Indian success story as Sergey Brin, the Russian-born co-founder of Google, is proof of Russia's imminent economic superstardom.
I wondered why such huge hue and cry was made about Mittal-Arcelor deal and why the Indian government was persuaded to influence the Luxemburg government on the merits of this deal.
Anyway, there are also some facts mentioned in this article (again, nothing new) that I would mention here.
Recent accounts of the alleged rise of India barely mention the fact that the country's $728 per capita gross domestic product is just slightly higher than that of sub-Saharan Africa and that, as the 2005 United Nations Human Development Report puts it, even if it sustains its current high growth rates, India will not catch up with high-income countries until 2106.
Nor is India rising very fast on the report's Human Development index, where it ranks 127, just two rungs above Myanmar and more than 70 below Cuba and Mexico. Despite a recent reduction in poverty levels, nearly 380 million Indians still live on less than a dollar a day.
Malnutrition affects half of all children in India, and there is little sign that they are being helped by the country's market reforms, which have focused on creating private wealth rather than expanding access to health care and education. Despite the country's growing economy, 2.5 million Indian children die annually, accounting for one out of every five child deaths worldwide; and facilities for primary education have collapsed in large parts of the country (the official literacy rate of 61 percent includes many who can barely write their names). In the countryside, where 70 percent of India's population lives, the government has reported that about 100,000 farmers committed suicide between 1993 and 2003.
Manmohanamics has _not_ helped the nation as a whole. It has just helped the rich to get richer at the expense of the poor.
, , ,