rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Business » Why our rulers want people to remain poor

Why our rulers want people to remain poor

Last updated on: December 29, 2011 13:50 IST

Why our rulers want people to remain poor

     Next

Next
Barun Roy

In this largest of all democracies – India that is Bharat – politics has a million different views but only one common cause: welfare of the aam admi, the general public.

Not just any kind of general public, certainly not those who shop in malls, wear designer dresses, watch movies in multiplexes or frequent pubs and night clubs, but precisely those who work on farms, slog in factories, live in slums and are generally classified as poor.

Click NEXT to read more...



Image: A handcart puller walks past the house of India's Railways Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata.
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters.
Tags:

     Next

Why our rulers want people to remain poor

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

There's no government or political party that doesn't swear by these wretched millions, no serving politician who wouldn't do anything to improve their lot and even die in the service of these people.

Yet, in this hallowed land of democracy, the poor remain po#8744 farmers commit suicide because they can't pay off their debts; villages go without electricity, safe water or passable roads; the sick are treated like dirt in public hospitals #8743 slums are the only shelters for millions.

Click NEXT to read more...



Image: Ashfaq, 10, carries his two-year-old brother Farhaan through a flooded pathway in a Mumbai slum.
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters.
Tags:

Prev     Next

Why our rulers want people to remain poor

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

How's that possible? Why is it that, in spite of so much of tear-shedding and breast-beating for the aam admi, India continues to be burdened with so much poverty?

Politicians will have their theories and explanations ready – they always do – and it's next to impossible to win an argument against an Indian politician. For us, however, it's just a game they play.

Click NEXT to read more...



Image: Homeless people prepare food on a roadside.
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters.
Tags: , India

Prev     Next

Why our rulers want people to remain poor

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Deep down, nobody wants the aam admi to get out of his rut. Oppositionists don't, because they'll lose a convenient stick to beat the government with.

The government doesn't, because poverty offers a spending opportunity too lucrative to give up.

So, when, after a long period of policy inertia, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a much-needed reform allowing majority foreign direct investment in retail trade, with likely far-reaching benefits for rural India, we were encouraged by his reassertion of courage.

Click NEXT to read more...



Image: Homeless people prepare their food on a roadside near Ahemedabad.
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters.
Tags: , India

Prev     Next

Why our rulers want people to remain poor

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

But when politicians of all shades, including some members of Singh's own party, rallied to nip the initiative in the bud, we weren't surprised either.

The game was all too familiar. Courage yielded to politics, and things returned to normal.

The agitators and the administrators were both relieved that poverty wasn't going to be disturbed after all.

Click NEXT to read more...



Image: A family carries their belongings in a cycle rickshaw after they salvaged them from the debris of demolished shanties in Gurgaon.
Photographs: Parivartan Sharma/Reuters.
Tags: Singh

Prev     Next

Why our rulers want people to remain poor

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

One feels bemused. What constitutes public interest? Letting a marginal farmer be a marginal farmer all his life?

Leaving the poor at the eternal mercy of governments and politicians, to languish and live their lives only on guarantee of employment and subsidised food?

Or creating opportunities that will help them improve their lot, acquire economic power, develop new hopes and aspirations and become positive contributors to economic growth?

Click NEXT to read more...



Image: A farmer ploughs his paddy field.
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters.
Tags:

Prev     Next

Why our rulers want people to remain poor

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Of course, foreign direct investment isn't the only way to do it.

But it's surely an important one for a country like India where needs are vast, growth is acutely unbalanced, the underpinnings are pitiably weak and expectations are so aggressively rising.

There are many examples of nations seizing foreign investments to make a rapid conquest of their backwardness. It's pure practical economics, serving both sides in the bargain.

Click NEXT to read more...



Image: Farmers use bullock carts to deliver harvested sugarcane to a factory in Satara district.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , India

Prev     Next

Why our rulers want people to remain poor

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Japan's dramatic rise from the ashes of World War II wouldn't have been possible without money and technology coming from beyond its borders.

The Japanese set aside all false notions of nationalism and used that money and technology wholeheartedly to make the country the economic giant it is today.

They absorbed foreign technologies and systems to develop their own and sharpen their future economic dominance.

Click NEXT to read more...



Image: Honda Accords sit parked outside SanTan Honda Superstore in Chandler, Arizona.
Photographs: Joshua Lott/Reuters.
Tags: , Japan

Prev     Next

Why our rulers want people to remain poor

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

South Korea, another country devastated by war, followed in the same footsteps and took the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) route to arrive at its present state of economic prosperity in a relatively short period of time.

OEM helped South Korea lay a sturdy industrial base where there was none, create a vast technology pool, develop a highly skilled industrial workforce, sharpen work ethics, and learn marketing and management techniques suitable for a highly competitive world.

Click NEXT to read more...



Image: An employee of Samsung Electronics demonstrates Samsung's Galaxy Tab.
Photographs: Lee Jae-Won/Reuters.

Prev     Next

Why our rulers want people to remain poor

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

China is yet another nation that looks at foreign direct investment as an asset and not a liability.

Its philosophy is simple: in a world in which the balance of economic power is never constant, you don't have an eternity to reach your development goals. You must grow fast to stay in the game and not be run over by competition.

Click NEXT to read more...



Image: A Chinese worker tests mobile phones at Ningbo Bird Co. Ltd production line.
Photographs: Reuters.
Tags: , China

Prev     Next

Why our rulers want people to remain poor

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Once you have acquired the ability to flex your muscles, foreign investment no longer remains a stigma.

This is what India's politicians don't understand.

They don't realise that their false sense of nationalism in a globalising economic environment only stunts India's growth and constitutes a downright betrayal of its poor. Besides, they miss another important point.

Click NEXT to read more...



Image: A worker climbs to fasten iron rods together at the construction site of a high-rise building in central Mumbai.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: India

Prev     Next

Why our rulers want people to remain poor

Prev     More
Prev

More

As they keep massaging their nationalist egos, deriving a pleasure that's sensual in its intensity, China is forcing its way ahead, using whatever help it can get, and the achievement gap between the two countries is steadily widening.

At that rate, India's voice in the world might soon be reduced to only a feeble cry in the wilderness.



Image: Supporters of veteran Indian social activist Anna Hazare ride on a motorcycle holding an Indian national flag.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters.
Tags: China , India

Prev     More
Source: