India a superpower? Unlikely, says London School of Economics study – The Economic Times:
As per the London School Of Economics, the 7 reasons identified that we cannot become a superpower are:
- The Challenge Of The Naxalites
- Degradation Of The Center
- Increasing Rich-Poor Gap
- Trivialisation Of The Media
- Unsustainable Resource Consumption
- Instability And Policy Incoherence Of A Coalition Government
The first point regarding Naxalites can and should be extended to include terrorist threats that sap the energy from the atmosphere and prove to be a real impediment to development. Why state only Naxalites? India is facing a range of internal threats to peace that go far beyond the Naxalite problem. What is more, the threats are not showing signs of waning. We are nowhere in sight of a solution – and without a solution, this problem will continue to be a dead-weight around our legs as we strive for progress. The second point is, in my opinion, simple ignorance on the part of the LSE. Yes, increasing fundamentalism is indeed a cause of grave concern – but it is not just the Hindutva factor at play. What is more to the point is the fractured nature of our societies – our divisions along Language and Religion – and especially the mutual distrust that this engenders. As an excellent example: Marathi upsurge led by the Thackereys. Such incidents drive a wedge into society – if repeated often enough, they can prove to be extremely divisive!
As for the rest, I have to say that I find it hard to dispute the claims of the London School Of Economics. The Rich-Poor gap is very evident; as is the instability and policy incoherence of a coalition government. Being a superpower means a more equitable distribution of wealth. for only then the full potential of the demographic dividend – so eloquently extolled by Nandan Nilekani – can be fully exploited; and conversely, it will prove unsustainable if everyone were not able to share in the development. Such a lop-sided growth can never be sustained for any length of time. Similarly, a coalition government can never have the freedom of polcy making that a clear majority government can have. We do have a long way to go!
It is in the rest of the 3 factors that the punch lies: namely, Degradation of the center / Media / Resource Consumption. In fact, I would term it as a near collapse of most of our institutions due to rampant and endemic corruption. It is impossible to do anything without paying something in the form of a bribe – that is indeed the hard truth. It has become an endemic problem – and this is exacerbated by public apathy as evidenced by our civic behaviour, our penchant for paying bribes to cops, ticket-checkers, government officials as well as in our day-to-day behaviour. As for the Media- as I have previously argued, they seem more concerned with profit and reporting what sells. The Media can- if it wants to- play a stellar role in leading change; it can be both the bulwark as well as the Rallying Point of positive change. Paradoxically, The Media is perhaps the only point in the seven which offers a ray of hope: at least there is credible evidence of change in the Media.
The most critical point is Resource Consumption: and we need only look at our core sector for confirmation of the same. All in all, a superbly argued article… we need to act on corruption, internal threats, resources, spreading the wealth. So far, it seems doable. But what do we do about the problems of coalition politics? Do we have a solution? We citizens can bring about change through means such as India Against Corruption in the sphere of corruption: but there is little we can do about the political setup as it exists today. There are vast differences in culture, regional development status, languages, aspirations, problems from state to state. In such a scenario, perhaps the coalition system is the best as it ensures local participation – and this acts as a safety valve!