Sunday, December 18, 2005
  India and socialism - 2
Most of the leftists (socialists as well as communists) I have talked to keep on harping on how globalization is bad for India. They cite statistics that seemingly suggest that we have done worse in the period between 1991 to 2005 to uplift our fellow human beings. I will explore various aspects of their complaints in these series of posts regarding India and socialism. Maybe they are correct, may be not. But I believe that eventually we will find that most of the leftists miss out on the big picture while concentrating on minor details. Letists or the "jholawalas" carry their concern for poor on their sleeves. Beware of the power of people who deem themselves to be morally superior than others! They are the ones that unknowingly cause the maximum damage to the society without remorse. They never apologize because according to them they never had bad intentions in their heart. Their policies might fail but they always think of poor. If people who are not leftists make policy mistakes, they are the worst scum on the earth. This is because they always worked for the imperialists, the capitalists, or anybody else whom the leftists hate more.

Here is a link to the World Bank profile of India updated in July 2005. This document on the web indicates the improvement in the social indicators of Indian society.

• Average life expectancy at birth
Up to 63 years from 49 years

• Birth rate
Down to 3 children per woman from 6 in the '60s

• Under 5 mortality rate
Down to 87 per 1000 in 2003 from 123 in 1990

• Primary school enrollment
Up to 82% from 68% in 1992
Gap between boys’ and girls’ enrollment reduced

• Secondary school enrollment
Up to 50% in 2002 from 44% in 1990

• Male Adult literacy
Up to 68% in 2002 from 62% in 1990

• Female Adult literacy
Up to 45% in 2002 from 36% in 1990

I have purposefully not included the statistics related to poverty as I am not very confident how various organizations in the world define poverty. If we look at all the indicators above, it is clear that India has made significant progress in making the life of its citizen's better. The debatable point is whether we could have made more dramatic progress than what is shown by the statistics. If yes, would following a path of socialism as defined by Nehru and encouraging a closed, protected economy helped us in providing Indians with more dramatic improvement in their quality of life?

In an article in the Indian portal site - India, the 1% society, T.N. Ninan has an interesting take on the importance of the social indicators and how they have changed over a period. He says that no matter what sort of economic theory we follow, the rate of change of social indicators have stayed the same in the last 30 years. This means that the claim of the leftists that we have regressed in our efforts to raise the standard of living of the people in India is bogus. The most that I am going to acknowledge is that the free-market reforms and the liberalization of the economy has not helped India as much as they should have.

The questions to ask in these circumstances is do we revert back to pre-90s style closed and protected economy? Do we need more reforms or less reforms in our economic system? I am positive that if we carry the economic reforms to their logical conclusions, we will see a definite rise in the rate of change of the social indicators in India. Creating conditions that helps us increase the annual growth rate to 9% from the current level of 7% will help the government generate more resources to invest in the social sector. It is impractical to not align ourselves with the rest of the world economy and help our people lead a better quality of life.

(To be continued ...)
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"Saptarishi" in Sanskrit means the Seven Sages or rishis who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and other Hindu literature. They are regarded in the Vedas as the patriarchs of the Vedic religion. The constellation of Ursa Major is also named as Saptarshi. (Source:

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