The New Statesman on India

In: Uncategorized

4 Aug 2007

This week’s New Statesman (2 August), a British political weekly, includes several articles on India. The key piece on the Indian economy is a classic of growth scepticism. Randeep Ramesh, the Guardian’s South Asia correspondent, uses India’s massive inequality and poverty as a way of casting doubt on its rapid growth.

Using a common formula in writing on contemporary China and India the article proceeds as follows:

a)India is growing rapidly at present.

b)But the vast majority of the population is dirt poor.

Therefore the implication is:

c)Economic growth is not beneficial to the mass of the population and is quite possibly harmful.

Or to quote the article: “The puzzle is that India is economically confident, yet sunk in interminable poverty. This is because most Indians live in a vast rural, feudal darkness and only a lucky few are part of the shining new future.”

To be fair to Ramesh he does near the start say that: “There is little doubt that India is experiencing a rapid and sustained rise in living standards for the first time in centuries.” But this point is not explored in the rest of the article and often the thrust of the article seems to contradict it.

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