The Indian Republic at 60 – Focus for the Future

I am a great fan of Sudhir  Tailang – the cartoonist for Deccan Chronicle . His cartoon today in that newspaper depicting the state of Indian Economy  on the 60 th Republic day shows a tableau of a common man lying prostrate on a platform  with a national flag in hand and crushed under the weight of bags of sugar , wheat ,  pulses  and other essential food stuff [indicating price rise] . What a subtle way of drawing a balance sheet for the country which claims to have achieved economic liberalization  during the last two decades with near double digit growth every year?

Today , we can boast of  a telecom revolution , a booming service industry globally connected , great strides in space research and foreign exchange reserves along with food surpluses stored at high costs . But then , why do prices of essential food stuff go up and why do more than 60 percent of our rural population live below poverty line ? .

While I welcome  the steps taken in the nineties to open the country to market liberalization and foreign investments , I feel we neglected the agricultural section and rural India at the cost of massive urbanization and privatization of Industry. The non-inclusive nature of our growth brought in great urban – rural divide and fissures creating in suicide by farmers or spread of Naxalites and Maoists in some parts of India .  The technological advances have also did not address the rural sector adequately and there is marked drop in food production in the country.

It looks like even the Bretton Woods  Institutions [World Bank and IMF ] have  influenced our decision making process in favor of urbanization at the cost of Indian agriculture growth.

What do we need to do now?. It is basically a question of Inclusive Growth facilitating  ACCESS to the masses for Food , Shelter  , Security , Health Care and Justice  at affordable costs . Next comes  fund access , cheap power , good roads , meaningful education and market access for farm produce . The advances made through economic liberalization should now be channeled  to achieve these social objectives in a phased manner to bring about all round prosperity. The young profile of our masses who are passionate about  our country and its growth needs a good government to harness such youth power to drive our nation to greater heights in a very inclusive manner .

Thank you Sudhir Tailang for the cartoon.

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