Sunday, December 19, 2010

Editorial, 'INDIA PROSPERING, NOT INDIANS!' in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 30 November 2010 issue


A recent UN working paper states that China and India are generally regarded as the two large countries in the developing world that are the “suc­cess stories” of globalization, the success defined by the high and sustained rates of growth of aggregate and per capita national income and the substantial reduction in income poverty; further China is described as becoming the “work­shop” or “factory” of the world through the expansion of manufacturing production, and India as becoming the “office” of the world, in particular because of its ability to take advantage of IT-enabled services off-shoring; however, in both countries, the growth has been associ­ated with sharp increases in spatial and vertical inequalities, greater fragility of incomes among marginalized groups and adverse shifts in certain human development indicators. It quotes the most recent World Bank estimates which number the absolutely poor people in India in 2005 to be 456 million, significantly more than the Indian government’s own estimate of 301 million in 2004-05, and also the Asian Development Bank (2008) estimate of the number of poor in India in 2005 at 622-740 million. As for our own estimates, the latest Tendulkar Committee Report put the poverty in our country at 37% whereas the earlier Arjun Sengupta report gave the very high figure of 77% living on less than Rs. 20/- a day and the N.C. Saxena Committee put it at 50%. And with the Tendulkar Committee report accepted by the Planning Commission, we can “proudly say 37% of our population still lives struggling with extreme poverty and fighting with pangs of hunger.” As such no wonder India may seem prospering if GDP growth rates alone considered, but our agricultural production has been stagnant and certainly bulk of Indians are marginalized. All this needs a radical shift in priorities of funds allotment and good governance with stress on poverty alleviation, agriculture by medium and poor peasants, education, housing and health needs of the bulk of the people and elimination of corruption; but not gloating about the so-called development at the cost of people and environment §§§

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