Progress and inequality | Business Standard

Progress and inequality | Business Standard

Online comments posted on October 18, 2013:

Dr Charan Singh has brought out the focus of ‘The Great Escape’ in a self-contained essay which can perhaps double up as an Executive Summary of Angus Deaton’s book. There will be many Indians like me whose families would have escaped from poverty, thanks to parents’ foresight about education as a tool for survival.
The Indian experience is that every geographical area with opportunities for education has come out of abject poverty much faster. Kerala, Goa, Pudussery and Punjab are examples where progress in human development indicators were more on account of improvement in literacy than industrialisation. Looking from a different angle, industrialised and urbanised states neglected education from a selfish interest to retain the uniterrupted flow of cheap labour from rural to urban areas.
The observation “aid-generally politically motivated and conditional-is not effective and is ‘likely to perpetuate and prolong poverty and not eliminate it’, since fixing poverty is not as easy as fixing a broken car” is very relevant in the present Indian context. Much of our problems have origin in our neglect of the strength of domestic institutions and resources and import of solutions which had lab tests in totally uncomarable soil and circumstances.
Perhaps, The Great Escape read with An Uncertain Glory by Sen and Dreze could change the approach of our economists, donors and policy makers.

M G Warrier, Mumbai


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