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Re: The fresh morning brings dew and coolness

>It is with mounting concern that many of us have watched India's descent
>into an abyss of poverty, illiteracy, pollution, over-population,
>corruption, demoralization, tendency for Balkanization, unhappiness
>amongst most sections of the people, and disharmony being promoted by
>groups which seek to exploit the magnificent diversity of India for their
>little, petty short-term interests.
>In the absence of leadership of any quality being provided by those who
>are in the business of governance, we as citizens need to do something,
>for ourselves, together.

I am afraid the opening para is going to put off lots of Indians. It is not
only totally negative but also factually incorrect. One familiar with Indian
economic history prior to independence (during the British period ) will
know that that was a time of periodical famines and hardly any growth. Since
the advent of freedom, India has made progress - I would  dare say
tremendous progress vis-a-vis the preceding 50  years  - though as compared
to many other emerging markets, India has fallen behind. Certainly  per
capita income of Indians is  higher   today than it was 50 years ago,
notwithstanding a 150 percent  or so growth in population. And the literacy
rate for a much larger population has almost doubled since independence.

Again tendency toward balkanization  -  I have lived in India in the 50's,
60's and 70's and I can firmly affirm that, notwithstanding our problems in
Kashmir and the North-East,  there is a much greater feeling of  unity among
Indians today than at any other time in its history.

Yes - our incomes per head are still pretty low and large numbers of Indians
still live below the poverty line. Illiteracy is still unconscionably high
and that perhaps  explains why we have not been able to control population
growth (Kerala is the model to follow in the last respect).

Corruption and pollution levels -  yes, both have increased tremendously.

The economic developmental model followed from 1956 through 1991 was based
on the Soviet experience of socialist planning, which most Indian
intellectuals at that time felt was the right choice for a poor country to
adopt.  The fact that  that model didn't succeed in producing the desired
results as expected, but contributed to many pernicious  side effects such
as corruption which has now got institutionalised, is the crux of the issue.

The discussions I think have clearly focused on what has got to be done
now - to bring about systemic changes that will minimise the roll of the
government, infuse transparency in whatever decisions the goverment has
still got to perform thereby  minimising the opportunities for corruption,
open up  the springs of enterprise and the economy to freer trade etc.

Let's avoid an introduction that will offend many. Let's have a more
constructive opening.

Ram Narayanan
janaky@indiaintl.com or loraln@worldnet.att.net

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