Tuesday, October 17, 2006

India - Development and Participation

My humble attempt at serious writing, within 400 words.

Note: If some parts seem abrupt, blame it on the 400 word limit.


When India opened its economy to the world in 1991, it heralded a new era of liberalization, a break-away from the “License Raj” regime that had constrained the growth of the Indian Economy. The liberalization programme opened the doors to International Trade, and resulted in a renewed interest among the International Community in the possibilities of the Indian Economy, with Forbes magazine declaring in 1994 that “India may be the best emerging market of all”.

However, despite creditable growth in its development performance in 1990s, India’s economy never attained the anticipated “spectacular” growth. Although several MNCs entered India in the 1990s, contributing to the boom in economy, the growth did not percolate to all sectors and regions of the country. Although India’s economy has posted an excellent average GDP growth of 6.8% since 1994, it is still behind the East Asian economies.

The central issue, however, is not the overall growth of the economy, but rather, the pattern of this growth. The huge emphasis on highly skilled services sector resulted in this sector growing at an average of 7.7%. However, the primary agricultural sector has not been a part of the overall growth. This lack of participatory growth is responsible for India’s continuing problems of poverty and deprivation of the masses.

In order to achieve participatory growth, policy-makers must focus on social reforms and devise effective methods to implement these at the grass roots. Progress in basic education, health care, social security, land reforms, population control, gender and social equity, etc are essential to ensure participatory growth. The continued lack of basic education (illiteracy rate of over 35%) and inadequate health care facilities are reflections of the ineffectiveness of current policies. Gender discrimination and lack of awareness on population control need to be addressed. Better job opportunities need to be created in the agriculture sector to include rural masses in the economic growth of the country.

There needs to be a real commitment to relevant social reforms by policy makers in order to ensure participatory growth. It is important to recognize the complementarity between economic growth and social opportunities. While India has done well in the former respect, it is the continued neglect of the latter that has slowed down India’s overall development. The opportunities that Globalization has ushered into the economy needs to be equally distributed among all sectors to promote holistic human development.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Arbit Ramblings of an "Almost" Half MBA

It’s been a rather quiet term break, thanks to my not visiting Bangalore during these holidays. With Mom and Dad away, there wasn’t much use in going to Bangalore, although I definitely miss not being with my precious little angel. So it’s been mostly a lot of sleeping, and a bit of work regarding my Entrepreneurial Venture (God bless the noble attempt!).

While I am not doing either of the two, I keep myself entertained watching utterly useless stuff on the telly. Of late, I have become addicted to repeat re-runs of Karan Johar movies. I hate admitting this in a not-so-personal forum, but I have always liked K-Jo movies, right from the KKHH days. Despite everyone else around me criticizing everything about them, I am an unabashed K-Jo and SRK fan. For all my pragmatic pretensions, I do have a penchant for the “larger than life”.

Although I liked KKHH the best, I am equally fond of K3G and KHNH. However, sitting through Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna was not half as entertaining as any of his previous movies. The whole concept of the movie defied the “Karan Johar School of Filmmaking”. And that I didn’t like. But after watching Karan and SRK speak about the movie on an NDTV program, I think the concept of the movie wasn’t as flawed as the execution. The one idea from the movie that I found very apt was that it is best to get out an unhappy marriage than to suffer the trauma in the name of commitment.

Although I am a staunch believer in the institution of marriage, I do believe that after a certain point, if a marriage isn’t working, one should just admit that it was a mistake and move on, rather than suffer and make the other person suffer too. Unfortunately, in a society such as ours, the sanctity that the institution of marriage enjoys makes it impossible for most people to recognize the futility of their relationship and walk out of it. In short, the message of Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna is that marriages, unfortunately, are no longer made in heaven, but they sure can make your life hell.

Digressing from the subject of movies and marriages, I almost forgot to announce my “half MBA” status. Well, not quite. Thanks to some last minute screw-job from the powers-that-be in the Student Council, one of our exams got postponed till Oct 18th, causing a huge outrage and uproar among the unsuspecting students. There has been a tremendous amount of confusion that has prevailed despite long emails from the top-guns for their reasons for postponing the exam. Apparently, as they mentioned, it is in our interests that they requested the exams to be postponed. Surprisingly, a huge majority of students seemed to disagree with this statement. Of course, I am not insinuating anything. And after all, they are all “honorable men”, as Mark Antony would say.

With another 4 days to go before Term 5 begins, we are looking forward to the 2-day trip to Vizag tomorrow. A good day at the beach should help us soak in enough sun to recharge our batteries just in time for the second half of our MBA at the ISB.