SGU-Book Review, "Transforming India" by Atanu Dey

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Sakal Gharelu Ustad, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. Sakal Gharelu Ustad

    Sakal Gharelu Ustad Detests Jholawalas Moderator

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    The book tries to find historical reasons for the prevalence of widespread poverty in India even after 60 years of independence. Although, the reasons for this failure have been known and accepted by most liberal thinkers of India, but the book scores a point in showing what needs to be done in order to change this situation. Given the rapid increase in welfare programs started by UPA, it gives another reason to read and spread the message provided by Atanu.

    The books starts in the year 2040 in a developed India where the author addresses a group of fresh graduates explaining them the story of Indian miracle. It highlights the achievements of current India and how it was made possible in less than three decades. Although, this is not the best book among the ones that highlight how the vicious cycle of corruption and poverty is a fallout of big governments but it does a good job in tracing the political follies committed in the post-independence India. The single phrase in the book "Raja vyapari to praja bhikari" i.e. "If merchant king then poor citizens", aptly summarizes the excessive government controls and license Raj era.

    But the nice thing about Transforming India is that having talked about the Indian dream, it then goes on to provide a broad framework to achieve this dream. Reading through the book one never feels that the dream is not achievable since India already has most of the necessary ingredients. All it needs to do is to focus on the long term objectives and find a good leadership.

    According to Atanu, education is the key to survive in the fast changing global economy and this is not achievable unless government removes its control in the education sector. By making use of the available international capital, setting up good educational institutions in India are very much possible. Otherwise, the country would be stuck in a supply side problem where thousands of hard working and capable individuals would be denied access to quality education just because there are not enough places in elite institutions.

    He then goes on to build the case for energy independence in future by investment in solar energy. Here, I think he could have built a case for all forms of alternate energy. Another important suggestion is on the transportation front, where he calls for a huge investment in improving the railway network. Since swift and comfortable transportation is essential for any healthy economy, India needs to leapfrog in building transportation infrastructure. He argues that modern railway is the best alternative for India as railways is energy source neutral(runs on electricity) and the big Indian population means we cannot use the US model of dependence on roads and air transport. But here I see no point in restricting attention to only railways as India has a long way to go in developing its full potential in road and air infrastructure. Since, we are going to be a big economy we cannot afford to not develop any of these sectors, which have huge business potential internationally.

    The most important aspect of the book are its arguments in favor of rapid urbanization. I think this would be the key in delivering growth to those stuck in an unproductive agricultural sector. A large section of our population cannot sustain itself if it continues to stick in a low productivity sector and would depend heavily on government doles for survival. It has been a world wide phenomenon that urbanization has both been a reason and follow-up of economic growth. Since cities are an engine of economic growth, the focus of our policies need to change from rural areas to rural people so that more and more people can migrate to the productive sectors in cities.

    The last section of the book is a political action plan from the author where he develops the idea of "United Voters of India(UVI)". This would be a group of urban voters who would vote en-mass for the candidate they find least corrupt and efficient. If this group of voters is large enough they would be taken seriously by any party and can bring about a positive change in governance. To understand more about this idea, it is better to read the last section of the book.

    Verdict--Although, most of these ideas have been echoed throughout the last decade in India, but still this book seems fresh in its treatment. On top of that, it provides a good roadmap to think about development in India and how to make it feasible.

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    You can buy or download a pdf copy of the book here: Transforming India

    You can also read Atanu's blog here: Atanu Dey on India's Development
     
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  3. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    @Sakal Gharelu Ustad I am pretty sure your post would not be comprehensible to our Jhollawallahs(Socialists), to whom it is most required :tsk:

    God save India- If he really is there:pray:
     
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  4. Sakal Gharelu Ustad

    Sakal Gharelu Ustad Detests Jholawalas Moderator

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    Incomprehensibility is better as it reflects lack of mental faculty. But there are many to whom natural experiments around the world are comprehensible, but they turn a blind eye to all these developments. And this is called intellectual thuggery.

    As for god I am not really sure he is there, else we would not have got this bunch of nuts to start with!
     
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  5. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    1. Either that, or that they actually understand that, but the also know and understand that Socialism leads to elitism and hence it would be in their favour , and so pretend that Socialism is better.

    2. May be Satan exists then? To allow these clowns to exist and flourish in the first place.

    This is also one of the reasons, I am Agnostic-leaning on Atheism now:truestory:
     
  6. K Factor

    K Factor A Concerned Indian Senior Member

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    1. Government has to have control over education.
    Without government control, education would decay even further. Everyone will teach students what suits their own agenda. The problem here is that politicians who have no background in education are appointed to ministers' posts and the only thing they care about are populist measures, not real betterment of education. Education needs to be separated from politics. Political student unions should also be banned in institutes of higher education.

    2. Energy requirements fulfilment
    Solar energy alone cannot be the one size fits all solution. We need to explore and develop other alternatives as well. Nuclear energy is one of them. While considered unsafe, look at the number of reactors worldwide and the number of accidents. Safety and safeguards are the key here.

    3. Urbanization and infrastructure
    Once you have infrastructure in place, the need for urbanization decreases. If you have good road, rail and telecom connectivity, rural areas will grow faster than urban areas. Urbanization is not the solution and if left uncontrolled, will lead to more cons than pros.

    The solution to India's problems are not that simple. We have to look at what went wrong over the last 60 years and work on those areas. We have to tackle the Maoist threat and ensure that the growth is holistic and not just the urban areas. Even with the Indian economy doing well in recent years, the divide between rich and poor has grown dramatically. While people are roaming in BMWs and Audis, a vast number can barely eat.
    List of countries by percentage of population living in poverty - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  7. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    This "crab mentality" of being envious of the rich is exactly what went wrong in the past 40 years- 1947-1991

    @Sakal Gharelu Ustad See what I meant :D :crusin7:

    As I said, May god help India. Indians wont learn even if the truth shoots them in the face(Even Chimps learn from their mistakes). Proud to be an Indian :aww:
     
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  8. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Isn't this book rehash of his blogposts ?
     
  9. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    ^^^
    It is true that there are large number of poor in India but the thing is they are in states where there has been less development such as Bihar, Orissa etc. In Gujarat for example Narendra Modi govt has used NREGA funds to get village ponds renovated - so while a scheme like NREGA has been swindled in UP, Bihar, Orissa or lead to shortage of necessary farm labour in Andhra, the same has been used constructively in Gujarat.

    I think proper development and education is the engine that will pull our poor out of poverty. Corruption and bad administration is the biggest malaise in India.
     
  10. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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  11. Sakal Gharelu Ustad

    Sakal Gharelu Ustad Detests Jholawalas Moderator

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    Not entirely. But since he is a liberal economist, I think he must have conveyed most of his views on blog as well.
     
  12. Sakal Gharelu Ustad

    Sakal Gharelu Ustad Detests Jholawalas Moderator

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    All I can say is read the book to learn how economics concepts and the world works. I can counter your arguments here, but it would not change the myopic thinking that you share with most other good intentioned intellectuals in India. If you still have issues or questions after reading it, then may be I can help.

    Even the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
     
  13. K Factor

    K Factor A Concerned Indian Senior Member

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    It is easy to scream envy sitting sitting in an A/C room in front of the computer and being woefully out of touch with reality. I consider myself to be upper middle class as well. It seems that people like you have no touch with reality. There are villages in Jharkhand and Orissa where people eat opium, you know why? Because they cannot afford 2 meals a day and it alleviates hunger. They probably haven't even seen a R 100 note in their lives.

    I have lived in US and Canada for 4 years and also visited villages you probably don't even know exist. Make no mistake, there is no crab mentality. I have only talked about holistic growth. If the divide continues to grow, eventually the dam will burst.

    Let me tell you something else - with the advent of television and cable in villages, the lifestyle of the cities is now visible to the poor and there is growing resentment against the rich. Unless the economic development percolates down to the grassroots level, the economic growth cannot be sustained as there will be more law and order and Maoist problems.
     
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  14. K Factor

    K Factor A Concerned Indian Senior Member

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    Downloaded the book and will go through it slowly, but would appreciate if you could counter my points with your understanding as well.
     
  15. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    Oh shut up. I am a Medico and I see more poor people every day than you do in your life time and I know what their problem is and what their life style is much better than you do. . And you are the classic example of a Jhollahwallah. Let me see how much Touch with the Real India you have as against the fairy tale India of yours shall we?

    What is the average wage of the Koolie in a state like TN in Chennai and in Villages? What are the workign hours. What are the subsidies given to them by the govt? What is the money govt spends for them for those subsidies. Lets see if you can answer these questions without running away, like the other Jhollah-chaps did now , shall we?

    And your non-sense regarding 100Rs. note is exactly the problem. It shows how much out of touch with the ground reality you are. As I said, the poor has more interest in preserving his life than any of you "intellectuals" ever have


    Another one of the ass pulls Commies do without any actual evidence. Basically an assertion without proof!

    And socialism help will help only elites BTW, not the middle class or the poor. But then again, you KNOW NOTHING about economics do you?

    :bs:This shows you are not only out of touch with ground, but out of touch with even the lefty liberal shitty news they spew out!

    The Prosperity of the villages and the poor has raised several times since the liberalisation of the Indian economy. And Maoists are on the decline, just like I said it would. Go do some research.

    Also the resentment against rich is exactly what I called as "Crab mentality", Shooting yourself in the head now?

    Also, answer why the poverty was much worse in the socialist India and not now?

    As I said, some Indians wont realise the truth if it shoots them in their face.
     
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  16. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    @Kommunist Anther thing I forgot, SO lets say the govt has tax rates at the rate of Sweden-60% so as to provide a welfare state, now who will be most affected? RIch, poor or the middle class. Lets See if you can figure this one out:accepted:
     
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  17. Sakal Gharelu Ustad

    Sakal Gharelu Ustad Detests Jholawalas Moderator

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    You do not understand the bottleneck problems in education caused due to insufficient supply of institutions. Primary education is different so I would not talk about it here.
    1) Look at the ratio of applicants to available seats
    2) Government already has a huge budget deficit. Do you know what % of budget is allocated to education? Do you think there is scope for govt. to spend anything more?
    3) What is needed to reduce this supply-demand gap? More investment in education, which can come only from private parties(both domestic and foreign), who will work for profit
    4) Who will ensure quality of these institutes? If students do not get good placements, they would not pay heavy fees to study in shit institutions.
    5) How can students get good placements? If they can get good, industry oriented training in these institutes.
    6) Industry participation will increase because now they can contribute by explaining their needs to educational institutes. Right now what to teach lies with govt. which takes 1000 of commissions before updating any syllabus.

    The only assumption I made here was: People know what is good for them. They would not pay huge sums of money to remain unemployed.

    Now comes the question, how would poor students pay the fees? We have good banking and financial system to support student loans. Since, the payoff on higher education has a small maturity time, students and banks should not have big problems in cutting the deal.

    Also, this will solve hard work problem on the student's side. Since, they would have to themselves pay off the loan, they would work harder and contribute more to the development of society. Otherwise, right now a lot of students have no incentive to study because it does not cost anything to enroll in public institutions(how would you explain people enrolling in JNU to sit for UPSC exams?? If it were not cheap JNU would not waste resources on these people who get there just to prepare for some exam). Although, I did not mention regulation above but that is only a second step after we have the institutions. And regulation is not the same thing as govt control.



    I agree on your points about energy but it was a fairly general comment. I can similarly provide a detailed explanation about the need for urbanization, but it is too much effort right now. The book will give you a good idea about it.


    I myself was more of a socialist long time back but it takes a lot of hard effort to understand the intricacies of the economy. But sadly, most people with good intentions do not understand how economy works. So, do not get carried away by seeing a poor person and demand for welfare state because it might harm the same people more in the long run.
     
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  18. K Factor

    K Factor A Concerned Indian Senior Member

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    Call me whatever you want, because I don't care. I am a photographer as well, been to places in many states where there is no electricity or drinking water, and I am speaking from real experience.

    Not sure what it is in TN, but I know men and women working for 40 rupees a day for 8-6 hard labour. There are villages where there are no "ration shops" etc. So pray do tell what govt subsidies they benefit from. As for subsidies, they are a sham - people like you and me are buying diesel vehicles, only because the govt subsidizes it. The govt also puts money in black holes like Air India - who benefits from that? If you see my posts on other threads, I have spoken against govt controlled market economy and blame it for our current state.

    You might want to check the below link - the official figures from the Labour Bureau. The numbers there are mostly averages, do the math.
    http://labourbureau.nic.in/Wage_Rates_Rural_India_2008_09.pdf

    Not talking about Socialism or capitalism here BTW, perhaps your blind prejudice is talking, not your logical brain. Or maybe my handle "Kommunist" made you believe I was a leftist? If I take your handle to be your true identity, you are probably not even worth answering? ;)
    Anyways, coming back to the topic - Everyone has interest in preserving their lives, not just the poor. The people below BPL have more to gain and less to lose than the rest. Regarding the R100 note - its not an assertion, its from my personal experience from the way a man had looked at the note when he had seen it.
    The rest is just personal ranting and not worth my time.

    You say that the prosperity of villages has been raised since liberalization and the Maoist menace is on the decline? Look at these figures and dates
    Timeline of the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Now when did the liberalization happen and who is living in la-la land?

    BTH, I think you are trying to hijack the thread to spew more of your BS. I wanted to make one thing clear before you start another of your delusional rants. I am not advocating a socialist economy here. Definitely agree with you that the situation is much better than it was 25 years ago, but the current progress can be made even more holistic.
    Anyways, I am not sure how to answer most of your posts because they are mostly rants without any logical arguments.

    Ah, haven't heard of income slab based taxation, have we?
     
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  19. K Factor

    K Factor A Concerned Indian Senior Member

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    Problem is that in India, its more of a question of enforcement and evasion than rates.
     
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  20. K Factor

    K Factor A Concerned Indian Senior Member

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    We seem to be talking at cross purposes here. Fully agree with what you wrote above. I am all in for private investment in the education sector. I was thinking more on the lines of basic education i.e. schools and not colleges. I was thinking on the topic from a social and non-economic angle, where the govt needs to review what is being taught to the kids to form their non technical knowledge and perspective.
    However, we do need a LOT more investment from the govt. in R & D grants to higher education institutions and ensure quality research without which, the educational system will just become a factory.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  21. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    Thats part and parcel of Socialism. We are living in real world were we play by real world rules and not some fairy tale world. Otherwise, Communism would have produced wonderful results:rolleyes:

    Anyway, lets say India is having a Swedish type of economy where, Govt robs 60% of the income! Now tell me, which is the group most affected by it and most benefited by it? Lets see how much you have understood the problem which plagued india from 1947-1991
     

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