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Can we Sustain 7 Per Cent Growth?

Can India keep it up? For the last three years, it has averaged GDP growth of 7 per cent, not far short of the 8 per cent achieved by East Asian miracle economies. But this year, the economy is decelerating. Jeremiahs say the recent fast growth was a temporary surge that cannot be sustained. I More >

Learn from the whole World

Ten years ago, I asked Dr Inderjit Singh, an economist in the World Bank what he found was the main difference between dealing with China and with India. He replied, “The Chinese are anxious to learn, the Indians think they know everything already.” The late Prof Raj Krishna put it more succintly. “We are knowledge-proof,” More >

US Corporations, our new Foreign Policy Allies

When India started wooing foreign investors in 1991, critics warned that this would lead to the return of the East India Company. Business is never divorced from politics, they said, and letting in American investors will mean letting the US dominate us in foreign policy too. The very opposite has turned out to be true. More >

The misreported Battle of Haldighati

India wins glorious battle over wicked Americans trying to patent haldi (turmeric) and steal our traditional knowledge. David slays Goliath. Third World beats First World. These were the messages implicit in newspaper and TV headlines last week after India contested and got quashed the award of a patent to the Mississippi Medical Centre in 1995 More >

Faulty Colonial Theory, Faulty Remedy

Last week, I called for a new look at the version of colonial exploitation espoused by leaders of our Independence movement. That version was misconceived, and so led to misconceived remedies after Independence. India, a great power before the British came, was poor and relatively backward when they left. Nehru blamed this on the British More >

New Dawn for new Don

50 Years of Lost Morality IN 1947, we believed that India had been impoverished by the British, and that when the British departed, poverty would go too. We believed the export-orientation and capitalism fostered by the Raj were disastrous, and so switched to socialism. We jeered at supposed neo-colonial puppets (Korea, Singapore, Taiwan) that followed More >

Wanted: A new Theory of Colonialism

During the Independence movement, our leaders castigated colonial exploitation fore impoverishing India India. Before the British came, India was one of the greatest industrial and trading powers in the world. When the British left, India was poor and relatively backward. Indians blamed this on the British, and were certain India would become rich with the More >

Books are not for Burning

In the Middle Ages, the Roman church burned books that dared present an opposing viewpoint. Authors who failed to heed this warning risked being burned at the stake. We are not in the Middle Ages today. But anyone interested in liberty must be disturbed by the burning of Arun Shourie’s book, Worshipping False Gods by More >

The World Bank discovers Corruption

For over 50 years, the World Bank has ignored corruption in its analyses and prescriptions. Billions of dollars of aid have been hijacked by corrupt rulers, yet the Bank has ascribed development failures to faulty policies or bad projects rather than plain theft. Third World members of the Bank have never wanted any discussion of More >

Spend more, Save more

I have never ceased to be astonished at the moaning of groaning of Left intellectuals over the boom in consumer durables. India’s consumption of such durables is pathetically small by even Third World standards. Brazil (population 160 million) produces thrice as many cars as India (population 950 million). A single world-size TV plant has a More >

The Right to Listen

Mercifully, we have a new Information and Broadcasting Minister who is intelligent, decent and clean. Mr Jaipal Reddy has done well to clarify that the new Broadcasting Bill before Parliament is only a working draft, and that he will invite widespread debate on its provisions before giving it final shape. The Bill is highly flawed More >

The real Path to Social Justice

The new Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, says that he will give high priority to social justice. Everbody will applaud politely. But he needs to ask why, despite the sworn intentions of party after party over five decades, social justice proves so elusive. The problem is that all parties want to solve the problem More >

Liberalisation must include the Police

Bihar is an economic black hole, into which all Plan and ‘private investment disappears without producing any worthwhile output. In the 1950s, it was an industrial powerhouse, home of the coal and steel industries. Today it is a stagnant backwater. Why? Because governance has collapsed. There is no law and order or provision of public More >

From Al Capone to Gender Justice

Andhra Pradesh has decided to end prohibition. There has been a cry of protest from a spectrum of people ranging from moralists to feminists. Others say attempts at prohibition the world over have only encouraged organised crime, illicit distillation, deaths from spurious liquor, and widespread defiance of the law. Where does the truth lie? In More >

Create Small-Scale Multinationals

Despite rhetoric about small being beautiful, Indians have always regarded small as weak. We see multinational as strong and small-scale industries as weaklings to be protected. A radically different view in Taiwan has helped take its per capita income to $13,000, 40 times higher than India’s. Taiwan’s prosperity is based but not on giant conglomerates More >