Friday, December 3, 2010

Professor Jagdish Bhagwati musings

G Srinivasan writes with notes from Prof Bhagwati lecture:

  • The proposed creation of a national database of identity details of Indian citizens under Mr Nandan Nilekani, he said, should take “the political corruption out of the public distribution system and in the employment guarantee scheme, besides reducing bureaucratic corruption by bypassing the low-level bureaucrats who refuse to give you what you need unless you grease their palms”.
  • He said science and technology should be increasingly harnessed in the growth process to help the poor.
  • In his remarks, the Vice-President, Mr Hamid Ansari, described Prof Bhagwati as an ardent advocate of free trade and democratic values as being important to ensure sustained growth and social justice.
  • The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, recalled his 50-year-old association with Prof Bhagwati from his Cambridge years and said that he was the architect of the World Trade Organisation.
  • He said Prof Baghawati questioned the licence-permit raj which his government dismantled in the 1990s, when India introduced economic and trade policy reforms.
  • He said thanks to the reforms India ushered in, there was now a reverse flow of investment, production and expertise and the so-called brain-drain had been happily converted into ‘brain gain' for India.

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