Sunday, December 16, 2012

IS INDIA PROGRESSING OR REGRESSING ?

Day in and day out Indian government reels out statistical data on the growth of GDP, per capita income and the consumption of steel, cement, electricity etc., the various parameters of growth of a country. This data brings about the rosy side of government efforts. Some people in the country are satisfied with this pace of growth whereas to a vast majority these are only some numbers and has not made any material difference to their quality of life and the path to poverty alleviation.
The two important parameters, namely the reservations and subsidies are sharp pointers to the failure of India's planning policy.
  • Reservations and Quotas: In 1950, the country started with the  reservation policy wherein schedule castes and schedule tribes were given a reservation of 15 % and 7% respectively on the basis of social and economic status. After sixty years, instead of these quotas coming down, the country has reservations to the tune of 50% and some places even much more by additions from newer classes. In fact more population groups are clamoring for additional quotas for themselves. Either the number of people that falls in the quota criterion has risen or it is the boon of vote bank politics. Whatever may be the fact, the answer to ' Is India progressing or regressing ' is clear to any unbiased citizen of the country.
  • Subsidies: If India were progressing the number of people in need of subsidies for food, fuel as also the amount spent on doling out these subsidies should have come down whereas the reality is just the converse of this.
India certainly is on road to become an industrialized nation but sadly the fruits of this industrialization  do not seem to trickle down to its poor millions. This raises a very serious question. Is India's planning on the right path? Is this growth rate sufficient to alleviate poverty in a reasonable time frame, say two or three decades? Or India will grow into an industrialized giant/behemoth wherein a big percentage has to be content with poverty and live below subsistence level existence as had happened in the developed world during the early stages of industrial revolution. It is time the polity and planners brood over this concern and come out with solutions that will bring the graphs of reservations and subsidies sloping downwards at the earliest.