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2 quick pts.
a) Srikumar said:
"We are not comparing those who have enough to lead a comfortable life,
but talking about the bottom 20% of the population, who need some extra
Facts, Sir, P...L...E...A...S...E!
Check out the facts at
I promise you one thing, wherever you are: If you can show me that there
exist programs which can be implemented by government and which will
actually improve the lot of the bottom 20% of the population, I will not
discard my "twice-born" status as a (pretty senior) IAS officer and will
go back to implement the programs that you come up with. This is
therefore a challenge to get out of your "thin" thinking and to come
out with hard hitting, and 'thick' thinking.
If you have not personally seen the poverty of the intellect that
pervades the corridors of government, and the complete idiocy and
inefficacy of the prescriptions made by bureaucrats and other 'experts'
(programs that NEVER can work and are usually counterproductive,
enabling the poor to become poorer and the officials to become richer),
if you have not actually implemented anti-poverty programs with a solid
vigor; so much vigor that the UNICEF decided that my work was a model
for the entire country in 1987, and made a film on it; then please do
not talk to me of your superficial concern for the bottom 20% of the
population. They do not need your pontification. They need actual
programs which work. I challenge you to show me ONE program which works
the way it was 'designed' by so-called experts who have no clue about
Unfortunately (for some folks): there is no program which works better
in rapidly improving the lot of the poorest of the poor than the program
of solid rapid and searing growth, fuelled by unleashing the creativity
and competitiveness of a people. The facts pointed out in the above URL
show that. Of course, we do not like facts in India. We like thin
Have a social safety net in place if there is a mismatch between certain
sectors; e.g., as the handloom sector dies its long over-due death, step
in and help save the weavers; re-direct their energies to other possible
endeavors; but DO NOT subsidize handlooms FOREVER! As you stop the
process of creative destruction, you stop life itself.
I participate in these conversations (even as my fingers ache with
over-typing in the past many months) NOT to listen to such weak ideas
and wishful thinking. I will only listen to folk who talk solid sense.
One way to persuade me to consider government intervention in poverty
programs is for you (or anyone else in the WORLD) to come out with a
better program than a rapid shift of our economic and governance system.
Come out with concrete ideas. Don't expect tears of sympathy from me if
you merely talk about the poor but do not know what causes their poverty
in the first place.
We have to learn from SE nations many of which extinguished hunger and
banished poverty (and I am NOT talking of eliminating inequality) in a
decade. Give me a decade; India and poverty will be never seen together.
Don't give me the same thin, pompous medicine as if I (or other folk who
recommend sound solutions) are somehow the enemeis of the poor and that
you are their greatest well-wishers. Were I not bothered about the poor,
I would shut down this list today. It takes me precisely 1 minute to
close IPI and to stop this ridiculous waste of my time. No Sir. We are
all bothered about the poor. The only difference: the socialists live in
ivory towers and imagine that their goodwill be somehow translated into
care for the poor, while I and many others here talk of working out
actual solutions which are proven to work. I promise you one thing: I
hate poverty, but not the poor. I care equally for those unfortunate
folk who have been the guinea pigs of our socialist economy.
At a very personal level: Let the facts speak: I challenge you to go to
Assam and ask everyone you meet about my work. Find me one weakness in
the vigor with which I implemented all possible anti-poverty programs of
India for 10 years of my life.
I am willing to give you, as fellow Indians, 10 more years of my life
(not as a favor; but because I care).
But at this stage, I will not be 'taken in' by such great show of
feeling, whether genuine or not. I want hard facts and solid proof that
your programs have at least some chance of working. So, TELL ME how you
will provide opportunity to the bottom 20% of the population. TELL ME!
SHOW ME that what you say is guaranteed to work! I am a humble tool of
the people. I will go back and spend 10 more years, but if then what you
say does not work, what is the penalty you are willing to undergo for
wasting my life?
10 years is a long time to give to the poor simply to find that these
things were a total waste of time and that the problems lay elsewhere.
Give me a better alternative or simply keep your peace, and listen to
what I have to say. That is why I talk here and not simply shut up and
make money which I promise you my colleagues and many others in the
government are making in the tons over the dead bodies and bleak future
of the poor!
Open your eyes, read the facts, understand the world. Talk concerete
solutions! Be my friend! And join us all in our single minded goal of
making India the richest nation in the world by 2100 AD.
[My apologies; sometimes I speak harshly. I am a very gentle fellow, in
the inside; I assure you ... Please dig for the meaning behind what I
say; sometimes the way I say it might appear offensive; forgive me for
b) Prof. Asher said:
"At the same time it has not done an adequate job of basic functions of
any state, law and order, primary education, basic health care, public
Dear Prof.: This is my key point ALWAYS. We want a very strong
government, NOT a weak one. We want a government that upholds a limited
number of laws very powerfully; provides public health and very high
quality of law and order.
I have never been an anarchist; to the contrary I have advocated a
simultaneous withdrawal of government from commercial activities, and an
***immense*** strengthening of its role in the monitoring and
enforcement of laws and contracts. Provide a quick and efficient justice
system. Pay the limited bureaucracy, VERY well. Pay the politicians VERY
well. Ensure rigorous professionalism at all levels.
We are a lame duck in the world simply because our government produces
shirts instead of providing justice.
By the way, Singapore, where you live, is a pretty good model of what we
need in India.
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