What India must do if it is to be an affluent country

There’s the usual media brouhaha after the annual budget presentation, and Pranab’s budget has provided enough fodder for naysayers and pundits.

Separately, there seems to have been a public debate in Delhi and Mumbai recently on the occasion of the release of a report sponsored by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Martin Wolf writes more about in the FT. He makes a statement at the end of the excerpt below which, to me, sums up in one line the change I see between the India of the 80s and India today.

Since 1980 the average living standards of Chinese and Indians have, for the first time in the histories of these two ancient civilisations, experienced a sustained and rapid rise. In one generation, India’s gross domestic product per head rose by 230 per cent – a trend rate of 4 per cent a year. This would seem a fine accomplishment if China’s had not increased by 1,090 per cent – a trend rate of 8.7 per cent. Yet even if India has lagged behind, the change has been large enough for aspiration to replace resignation as the ethos of a large and rising proportion of Indians.

The report mentions what I feel should be a top priority issue to fix in India today – ineffective justice in the lower courts.

The problems in the Indian judiciary, police and internal security apparatus are well known. The judicial system is plagued with vast under capacity resulting in huge backlogs of cases and very long delays in resolving cases as well as elements of corruption, especially at lower levels (but also in higher courts).

At the same time, the judiciary is increasingly getting involved in certain aspects that are clearly in the domain of the executive branch of the government.

Until India can make it citizens feel assured that grievances at every level can be resolved in court, the country will never reach a state where more of its citizens work towards the national interest rather than petty individual interest.

The full article here:
What India must do if it is to be an affluent country

The report here:
2009-EMF-India-Report_Overview.pdf

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