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22 January 2017

Has India been ignored in Davos?

This article by Tavleen Singh in today's Indian Express makes me very unhappy. Indian economy was growing at over 7.6% per annum and now where are we? Standing in ATM and Bank queues for withdrawing our own cash. I am afraid that demonetization is inflicting long term damage on the Indian Economy. A reversal in economic growth is not something to be taken lightly. It changes people's expectations and behaviours. Also, one generation may suffer due to a few years of degrowth.

I am reminded of Mr.Pan whom I met in China in 2002. Pan spoke excellent English, but was working as a cab driver in the company that I was visiting. I asked him why it was that, he, one who can speak good English, is working as a cab driver, when China desperately needed English Skills. His answer was eye opener. He graduated in English Literature in 1975 when the 'Gang of Four' was ruling China. They branded English as 'unpatriotic' and barred any companies from recruiting English Literature Graduates. This policy continued for over 10 years during which Pan and his batchmates decided to pursue other occupations. But they were branded as 'Anti National' because they learned English and no one was ready to give him a job. Finally, he learned Car Driving in desperation and has been working in this job for over 15 years...
The point is, two years is a long time in the lives of people. A reversal in their fortunes due to ill thought out public policies could put them on the path to an irreversible loss of quality of life.
This is the implication of even one or two years of degrowth, especially if that was due to badly planned and executed policy. Confidence in the government can take long time to come back...

1 comment:

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