The Indian Economy Blog

September 25, 2005

A Part Of The Solution?

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Amit Varma @ 2:34 am

Sudheendra Kulkarni writes in the Indian Express:

We have grown used to the Two-India imagery being presented, traditionally, in rich vs. poor, city vs. village, capitalist class vs. working class and India vs. Bharat terms. In my view, the real contrast, and the only one that is useful in any transformative agenda, is between the new problem-solving India versus the old India groaning under problems due to vested interests of various stripes.

Most of these corruption-breeding vested interests reside in our governments and political parties. Exceptions apart, they are neither able, nor even are they trying, to enthuse the people and tap their limitless energy in problem-solving. Which is why, from businessmen to school establishments to charitable organisations, just about everybody who is driven by the zeal to aim higher feels that they would do better — and India would do better — if governments and political parties stopped being a part of the problem and started being a part of the solution.

Well put. Kulkarni will now be a regular columnist for the Indian Express, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing him get into specifics.

7 Comments »

  1. .Which is why, from businessmen to school establishments to charitable organisations, just about everybody who is driven by the zeal to aim higher feels that they would do better — and India would do better — if governments and political parties stopped being a part of the problem and started being a part of the solution. For wherever they have been a part of the solution, they have helped old India’s mutation into new India.

    Unfortunately, for many (most) Indians this disillionment with government and political parties seems to leave them with only one option –apathy, cynicism and indifference. There’s a sense of fatalism in their thinking.

    However, there’s scope for more activism and engagement, without getting caught in the muck. As Nitin Pai points out in an earlier post, re the IT companies in Bangalore

    http://indianeconomy.org/2005/09/24/finding-its-political-feet/

    “..a more sophisticated approach is to also fund institutes, policy think-tanks and industry organisations that can advocate and articulate industry interests. They must get their op-eds in the regional language press and their talking heads on local TV channels.”

    Comment by Prashant Kothari — September 25, 2005 @ 3:51 am

  2. Interesting link, Amit.

    It strikes me that Kulkarni talks about a gathering agrarian crisis in our impoverished villages. You are in agreement with this when Kulkarni says so? A month ago, you called Utsa Patnaik deceitful, when she said the same thing!

    Comment by Anand — September 25, 2005 @ 3:52 am

  3. Interesting site, I heard about this from your post on the Ad-Marketing listserv. Here in NZ, I’ve been hearing vague echoes in the news about the rising economies of India and China, so will be interested to follow this blog. I appreciated your new dichotomy between the new problem-solving India and the old attitude. A much more helpful dichotomy than the city vs. country one!

    Comment by Simon Young — September 25, 2005 @ 7:03 am

  4. India is fortunate to have many business establishments inovantive enough to help transform india if only goverment would get out of running business and focus on improving basic infrastructure and education.

    Comment by Raj — September 25, 2005 @ 9:56 am

  5. thanks for the link.

    visiting here for the first time. very good site

    Comment by SJ — September 25, 2005 @ 10:22 am

  6. Anand

    a] I agree with what Kulkarni says in the excerpt I quoted.

    b] No one is disputing the massive poverty that needs to be resolved, and that can only be done so through more economic freedom for the people. I called Utsa Patnaik deceitful because she was deliberately drawing conclusions from selective data to implicitly support her (wrong and preconceived) conclusions: that the liberalisation of 1991 was misplaced, and economic freedom should be rolled back and the role of the state expanded. The deceit was in her argument, and thus in the solution she stated, not in the problem itself.

    Comment by Amit Varma — September 26, 2005 @ 1:29 am

  7. This is an excellent point of view.

    I was at a meeting a few months back where the keynote address was delivered by Vivek Paul, and this India Vs China issue was raised. He listed all the areas where India was structurally weak – Roads, Power, etc., has to contend with misguided policy framework – inflexible Labour laws to restrictions on FII, Lack of basic facilities – health care, schools that provide primary education. For emphasis, he threw an astonishing figure – 75% of the government primary schools do not have a working toilet.

    One of the audience was a retired bureaucrat, who argued that India has done quite well in the recent years and is moving ahead with new dynamism. He said that India is poised to become a great power, inspite of small issues like toilets in primary schools.

    The problem with such people is that they think India is moving ahead because of what the Government is doing. When will they realize that we are moving inspite of what the government is doing or nor doing. Or may be they realize – it looks like a no brainer – but personal motives take precedence.

    Of course the gentleman who tried to put forth this this argument was busted by Mr Paul in the most convincing way. He informed how Wipro, the company he was then heading, was contributing to Primary Education in rural India, which was none of their business. He explained how other corporations are trying to take things up where GOI has badly fallen short.

    The contrast between New India and Old India couldn’t have been sharper.

    Comment by Vamsi Galigutta — September 26, 2005 @ 3:26 am

  8. India would do better — if governments and political parties stopped being a part of the problem

    More like, if government stopped being at all …

    Comment by Abhi — September 26, 2005 @ 9:23 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WP Hashcash

Powered by WordPress