Craving for better growth

Feb 15 2014, 04:41 IST
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SummaryWith around 24 crore people likely to reach working age over the next 10 years and over 37 crore children in the 0-14 years age group, India can’t afford low economic growth in the next decade

Any new government will serve India well by focusing on the following five points—guarantee of equal opportunities, not outcomes; better delivery of public goods and services; economic management; privatisation of public assets and, efficient distribution systems.

Our five-point agenda will help the government to meet the rising aspirations of Indian citizens. Indian citizens have amply expressed their desire for better governance, cleaner governments and better economic performance. The political class and governments cannot rely on politics of entitlements and social identity alone to derive their political legitimacy. They would have to deliver more in the form of economic and social freedom. The aspirations of Indian citizens, especially young Indians, have moved beyond issues that were relevant a generation ago.

In this respect, we believe future governments need to focus on a few areas only. These include external and internal security, fiscal management and social infrastructure. India's smart private sector and teeming entrepreneurs (from old farmers to young e-commerce leaders) can address India's economic and social challenges if the government creates an enabling environment for investment and sustainable growth.

The right platform for change

India is fortunate that it has a vibrant democracy, which will allow for peaceful means of dissent and change. We discuss two key positives of India's political system here.

There's power in democracy—good governance and democracy can co-exist. We see India's democratic system bringing about better governance that could remove impediments to faster growth. Economic liberalisation holds the key to India's economic success. We believe India's democracy and demographics will force economic liberalisation as Indian citizens demand better governance and performance from the political system.

If India is to establish itself as one of the great democracies of the world and serve as a role model of emerging and aspiring democracies, it needs to show that a country with democracy as its political system can also be a successful economy. Over the past few decades, only a handful of countries have joined the extant ranks of developed economies. The US and European nations developed based on a combination of industrialisation and imperialism. The political system was perhaps less relevant for economic development in the 18th and 19th centuries when only few countries could participate in industrial liberalisation. However, all these economies practised some form of capitalism and encouraged private enterprise.

The role of democracy in the economic development of a country has been questioned over the past few decades, given the failure of new

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