Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A cross post

Should we worry about India's economy ? Yes says Sriram, a friend and a most prolific and versatile blogger. He makes two or three posts a day  and has wide and original views on a number of issues.  On India's economy, he says

"Less than a fortnight into the hundred days in India, the more I observed, the more I wondered whether India's economic "success" story was more hype than real.  That line of thinking morphed into to this column in which I wrote that "the economic health of India is not looking good."

Every day, evidence seemed to pile on to further reinforce the impression that India could run into some serious economic troubles really soon.  I was particularly concerned that the country was not paying enough attention to the long-term requirements of
resources, energy, and infrastructure."

You can read his full post here.

Yes there's much to worry and despair about. We have made some progress, but make disproportionate noise about it. The real tragedy is that India is capable of so much more - Oh what a huge unfulfilled potential there is. With this much poverty around, its a crime to let potential go unfulfilled.

15 comments:

TMM said...

Brilliant article. Sometimes (often?) the plight of India worries me, especially what we have left for the next generation. With the bunch of monkeys (sorry an insult to the monkeys) sitting in our exalted houses that is supposed to uphold the constitution and create policy degrading every term (the current LS/RS is worse than the previous one is a statement that holds true at all times), there is not much hope left. Add to this the widening chasm between the haves and the havenots, this is dry gunpowder waiting to be set fire by the tiniest of the sparks. Not much hope.. Sorry if I sound like a pessimist but this is reality. Kudos to your friend, brilliant article.

Exkalibur 666 said...

I think many indians feel that way, which is one reason why the "India shining" slogan run by BJP failed & they lost the elections. The average Indian politician (atleast the variety we see today) is the most callous and indifferent citizen of the country. As some one said, there is nothing more common than wasted talent - may be very true in India's case. Seeing the electricity shortages we see today, we can understand the urgency shown by Manmohan singh in the nuclear power issue. In any case any citizen who truly cares about the nation will be appalled and pained at the state of affairs today.

J said...

I do see that the political system seems broken but why is it that no smart Indian wants to get engaged in politics. I know politicians are entrenched and that it is a dirty world but there can be no way forward unless at least a few people actively do something about changing the status quo and moving the country forward. How is it that the next generation of politicians has not yet emerged. Or are they just waiting for the right time.

TMM said...

Just saw a graffiti at downtown Auckland - seemed so appropriate for India as well. "Soon, the poor will have nothing to eat but the rich"

Deepa said...

Hmm! I hate to admit but it is a very real problem. One maybe sitting on a gold mine, but what's the use if you don't know what to do with it. The rest of the world has all the rights to look away from India and look for more functional options.

Shachi said...

Brilliant article and comments above. I'm staying put where I am :P!

sriram khe said...

So, hey, Sriram here :)
Ramesh was two years senior to me in school, at Neyveli. After nearly 35 years, we have connected in cyber-space!

@Shachi: your comment prompted me to figure out where you want to stay put, and your blog says you are in CA--my home from 1987 to 2002 :)

@Deepa: looks like you are all the way across in CT

As for the substantive discussions, perhaps I can add this one:
I shared with my father the column that I had authored--this was when I was in India during my sabbatical. Dad thought it was very good, but that Indians won't like it, and that it was not ok for me to have written that because it will upset Indians.
So, I asked my father whether I was not factual, and whether there were errors. He said everything was true, but that because I am not an Indian anymore, but an American, well, it was not diplomatic of me ...

Your comments seem to indicate that there is not much to disagree with what Tyler Cowen or I had written--though I am not sure where the other commenters live. Looks like TMM is in NZ, and the other two in India?

Thanks, Ramesh, for the cross-post.

PS: Perhaps this will serve as a follow-up on why India simply fascinates me :)

Ramesh said...

@Sriram - Your dad is absolutely right. We are a bristly lot - any "outsider" criticising, especially when its factual, isn't acceptable !!

@Shachi - Yes, yes, for now; but just you wait - a few more years and we'll tempt you back to Law Garden :)

@J - A few from the non political sector have tried - corporate types, social workers, etc etc and have got miserably beaten at the polls. There is a lot of great leadership talent who will rise to the challenge - the only problem is that nobody has yet figured a way to win elections without being a rogue :(

Ravi Rajagopalan said...

I ask myself every day, why did I come back to do what I do. You know better than anyone how difficult it has been. Plus, I really don't enjoy the traffic, the filth, the lack of civic consciousness, the total absence of discipline....In addition I miss the elements of Western culture that have become ingrained into me. I cannot help it.

And yet - what keeps you going is the hope and the happiness you see amongst people.

All of which are being slowly squandered away by our tawdry class of politicians.

Sandhya Sriram said...

it is true that this so called story about a rising india is very very Fictitious. the demographic bomb has been shown up as an opportunity, which is only half truth (the other half being really dark). the scale of corruption is unprecendent, there is no economic vision, no outstanding political leadership, no progressive goals and in the context of an sensitive global environment, it leaves us very vulnerable.

Having said all this, I would possibly have a very non economist take to this topic. if you are running a machine, where you know there are 1 Million parts that are running and you have absolutely technical capability to predict the outcome of every component, you can majorly try and screw it up. here is a situation, where you dont even know what your growth levers are. no one has predicted in the past fifty years what the growth lever for their next 10 years have been and what turn it has taken hasnt been built with some commendable effort or focus. it has just evolved, evolved because of the strength of the demography, the entreprenerial spirit in the soil and the forces of relevance and irrelevance that balance out the larger economic context and smaller life of common man. so, i dont know if India will be a super power by 2020. but i feel that indian economy will not crumble and go to doom by 2020 either.

this is not optimism, not fatalism, not confidence, but ignorance and lack of knowledge coupled with no will to learn as well - stay foolish, stay happy types, very much like our economy itself - what say on this idiotic take?

Ramesh said...

@Ravi - I'll tell you why. Despite everything, at heart you are an Indian. That's why you are here.

@Sandhya - Completely agree. Neither will we beat the world nor will we go down the drain. We'll muddle along. The real pity is that we have the ability to beat the world (not patriotic hope, but really true based on my experience), but not the capability to do so.

Vishal said...

The question is a baffling one - Why and how India survive? The truth is that the survival is now 65 years old and it had its share of ups and downs. As Ravi says, it is perhaps hope and happiness...

As they say, in times of gloom, hope is the perfect medicine!

Ramesh said...

@Vishal - Oh no; I don;t think there is any doubt on survival. We'll more than survive - we'll do a little well too. But as I keep moaning, the tragedy is how much better we could have done.

Ravi Rajagopalan said...

Ramesh - I am not so sure.

sriram khe said...

Hey, maybe this Financial Times editorial on the falling rupee and other problems in India might be of interest here ....?

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