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Re: Dissent/ Consensus



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Administrative Note:
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Week's Agenda: Social Conditions

  Minimum Wage
  Rules regarding Safety of Personnel at work to be made clear
  Introduction of Social Security Net
  Introduction of identity card
  Removal of Age discrimination at work
  Creating conditions so that reservations will no longer be necessary
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>Prof. Guptara said:
>
>"Those who focus on being no. 1 as individuals, say in sport or academics,
>do well because the goal is clear and the rules are clear and the
>preconditions self-evident.  Those who focus on being no.1 as nations
>usually end up paying too high a price (Nazi Germany, for instance)
>because the preconditions and "rules" are not clear.
>
>Sanjeev's Dissent:
>
>I want the national focus to shift from self-patting on the back on
>achieving squeaky per capita GDP growth rates of 1.7% for 50 years, to a
>feeling of Great Competition and a Great Falling Behind. That is why I
>insist that we do not dilute this #1 thing. I want us to understand that -
>even using PPP as the measure of income (which I really don't like), we
>need to grow 230 TIMES in per capita income in the next 100 years to catch
>up with the USA. See the chart I presented today. No squeaky thing like
>"let us be just and prosperous" will achieve that. ONLY a national focus -
>everyone saying how many more years we need to catch up with USA - will
>make this happen. This is like putting man on the moon. We have to repeat
>it, believe in it, and work for it. Almost impossible, now, to overcome
>the handicap given to us by our leaders of the first 50 years, but we can
>do it, I assure you.
>

In this interesting debate, I would go with Professor Guptara's
viewpoint.

When Sanjeev says that  India must  aim at  being the  # 1 nation in the
world, I assume he wants India to be  #1 in per capita GDP.

This is okay as a secular or very long-term objective to be reviewed
from
time to time, as we go along  achieving higher and higher GDP growth
rates
flowing from the pursuit of the right economic policies. But  setting a
goal
such as "we should be # 1 in GDP per head" is too vague to be a policy
goal
over the short, medium or even longer term.

The question we should ask ourselves and answer: How can we raise our
economic growth rate from 6.5 per cent (expected for 1998-99) to a
CONSISTENTLY high 8, 9, or 10 (or even higher) per cent per annum for at
least ONE GENERATION.  If we can achieve this objective, it will be
possible
to make a substantial dent on unemployment and poverty and get India on
a
dynamic economic growth path. That is what we should talk about.

When we reach a stage wherein India is within the first 20 or so in GDP
per
head, Sanjeev's point  becomes a relevant issue.

Ram Narayanan
janaky@indiaintl.com or loraln@worldnet.att.net
http://www.indiaintl.com

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