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 Economic Freedom
 
What ‘India Inclusive’ needs to include
The Indian Express, India Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tavleen Singh
our government chose to invest in a huge promotion of India in Davos this year. The slogan of the campaign was ‘India Inclusive’. The meaning, it was said, was that economic growth must be ‘inclusive’. This left me even more mystified since I have always assumed that this was the fundamental motive of every government since we became an independent republic more than half a century ago. Was this not the reason why we chose to be socialist? , writes Tavleen Singh in The Indian Express.

The ways in which the Government of India works are indeed mysterious and mystifying. So, even as the somber mood deepens in Indian business circles and foreign investors begin to flee, our government chose to invest in a huge promotion of India in Davos this year. On the promenade of this snow covered resort, huge billboards announce that India is an ancient civilisation as well as a modern nation. I missed the point of this message but what mystified me even more was why the slogan of the campaign was ‘India Inclusive’. Most business leaders I talked to said they were not completely sure what the slogan meant, so I directed my inquiries at those who are here to represent the Government. They said the meaning was that economic growth must be ‘inclusive’. This left me even more mystified since I have always assumed that this was the fundamental motive of every government since we became an independent republic more than half a century ago. Was this not the reason why we chose to be socialist?

In any case, the ‘inclusive’ idea clearly had allure. More Indian businessmen came to Davos this year than I have ever seen before, more Indian socialites fluttered about and more Indian journalists found their way here than have ever come before. Sadly, none of them showed up at what I thought was the most important session at this year’s annual meeting.

... ...

Then, there are the political considerations that have led to water policies across India based on giving water free to farmers. It is a stupid thing to do because more than 80 per cent of our water is consumed by agriculture and much of it is wasted because farmers view it as a free gift from nature. Another mistake that our ‘socialist’ leaders made was to encourage the breaking down of ancient systems of water harvesting in rural India by misleading people into believing that water would flow endlessly out of taps.

...

But, there is only so much that the private sector can do. In the end, it is in the hands of our political leaders to make the big decisions on creating awareness among farmers about the seriousness of our water problems. Now that would really be an ‘India Inclusive’ idea would it not? Alas, there is no sign that any of our political leaders are going to waste their time on doing something that would really help India. They prefer to come to Davos and distribute glossy pamphlets filled with smarmy slogans like ‘India. Where a billion smiles spell growth.’ Then, they go home to constituencies in which babies die of diarrhoea every day because their mothers have no access to that most fundamental of human needs: clean water. And, this is just the beginning of a disaster that stares us grimly in the face.

This article was published in the The Indian Express on Sunday, January 30, 2011. Please read the original article here.
Author : Ms Singh is a senior journalist and writes the Fifth Column in Indian Express.
Tags- Find more articles on - India | Socialist

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