Arindam Chaudhuri
Invincible India
In our earlier column we pleaded with the Prime Minister to drop the charge-sheeted cabinet ministers. Surrendering to compulsion of coalition politics, Prime Minister has taken back Sibu Soren even before he has been absolved of the charge. The trial has been delayed for a quarter of a century. The Supreme Court has now issued a notification on November 29, to the government of India on a public interest litigation that seeks the expeditious trial of criminal cases against influential persons. Let us hope that the Supreme Court may take the necessary steps to try expeditiously the cases against charge sheeted union ministers. Union ministers may in turn help the Prime Minister by resigning from the cabinet. People of India will be too happy to see Lalooji back in the cabinet absolved from the charge of being ‘chara chor’, the name Paswanji has coined for Lalooji. Paswanji should then be glad to tender public apology for offending a cabinet colleague. Indian political scenario will lose a charming and colorful personality if lathi wielding Lalooji is held guilty.

Lalooji is angry how a mafia leader like Paswanji of ‘criminals only’ party is in the cabinet, that too with the blessings of Soniaji (Ananda Bazar patrika – 2/12/04). Paswanji is fighting a valiant battle against Indian drug industry’s tendency to jack up prices of even life saving drugs and its corrupting influence on our otherwise incorruptible medical professionals. We wish Paswanji all success, only he should also welcome expeditious trials of charge sheeted MPs in his party, so that the ‘criminals only’ epithet attached to his party becomes untrue and Lalooji’s advice to open branches of his party ‘in every jail in Bihar’ (Times of India-30.11.2004) becomes redundant.

Our Prime Minister, is the architect of India’s liberalized economy and shares the glory of accelerated growth of GDP of the last decade. It is interesting to note that Clement Attlee, founder of the welfare state, has been rated the most successful UK Prime Minister by a group of 139 historians and political scientists (Hindustan Times-2.12.04). People of India (170 million of them will die before they attain the age of 40) is yearning for welfare state characterized by social safety net, to be protected from jobless growth of the last decade. The promise of work for 100 days at prescribed minimum wage for only one member in the family (271 days’ work is considered as full employment) is too inadequate. Yet, this meager help for the unemployed is being delayed by one excuse or the other, even though Manmohan Singh’s tenure as Prime Minister has exceeded 180 days.

Manmohan Singh should realize that liberalized free market capitalism is not able to solve the problems of the unemployed in the west. Therefore a simple pursuit of free market economy in a country of India’s dimension and complexities will not solve the problem of unemployment. Massive production of mass consumption goods produced by the masses has to be engineered by increasing the purchasing power of the people of the bottom 80%. Concentration on top 20% may make India apparently shining but it cannot be the answer to India’s problems of poverty bordering on destitution for 35% of the population.

We have food grains in FCI store-houses quite adequate to initiate food for work programmes in all the villages of India and also to initiate the mid-day meal programmes for all the children attending the primary schools. Banks are flush with funds which could be utilized to initiate micro-credit programs for rural women, and to generate employment in agriculture, food processing industry, forestry, fishery, poultry and other related fields. Small scale and cottage industries could be provided with adequate capital. Marketing support could be provided by opening additional shops in rural markets with centralized promotional efforts. One has to think bold and give purchasing power to the people around poverty line (if necessary, by distributing entitlement coupons to village households). Foreign exchange reserve to the tune of 125 billion USD gives us an opportunity to modernize our infrastructure and to initiate bold investment projects.

A recent visit to Kenya has instilled my faith in our people. In Kenya I had a chance to see how Masai people live even today. It struck me that in miles of land all around there was no water tank. Water was fetched from rivers miles away. Agriculture and habitation beyond the river bank was possible only with the help of digging water tanks, wells and tube wells. Absence of water tanks explains to a great extent the abject poverty still existing in parts of Africa. It was heartening to learn that our farmers are going to Africa to cultivate lands on a contractual basis.

I did not come across bicycles in numbers, as we are used to seeing in India and I also noticed the absence of various modes of transport. I realized all of a sudden the dynamism of the people of India and their innovative methods to solve various problems they face in day to day life. India seems to me as a land of immense possibilities and I felt proud as an “Indian”. We are growing very rapidly not because of the services rendered by the babudom and the leadership qualities of our netas but despite of them. Brutal bribery imposed by the babudom and the costs imposed by the nexus between netas and the criminals are external costs borne by our entrepreneurs, yet, our entrepreneurial spirit is winning accolades across the world.

Our entrepreneurial and intellectual capabilities have been highly appreciated and in fact, we are amongst the richest ethnic groups in the Silicon Valley .Our command over English backed by high computer literacy has set new benchmarks in the Business Process Outsourcing industry and we are on the verge of creating paradigm shifts across sectors . Just as China has become the manufacturing base of the global village, India is sure to become the knowledge based services hub of the integrated world. I am convinced that no force can stop our honored march.

Our previous column on “Mass Illiteracy and the Mafia Raj” received tremendous feedback from the readers. It reached around 100 lac urban house holds, with approximately 600 lac readership in India, perhaps the highest ever! You can log on to www.iipm.edu/itt.html to read our previous articles. Watch out for the same space in the next issue for yet another article which will change the way you think. We expect that our columns reach will soon cover almost all urban households in India. This column is therefore, destined to become the mightiest column of the democratic world in the times to come and prove once more that pen is mightier that the sword (or the barrels of the gun). The readers can soon expect many more prominent like minded people to contribute for this column. Your feedback is important. Send your feedback at : feedback@iipm.edu or to Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri, IIPM Tower, B-27, Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi - 110 016. The views expressed above are solely of the author. IIPM does not necessarily share the same opinion.
 
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