Friday, February 18, 2011

MPS Asia Regional Meeting-Three

I will cover the first session on February 11, 2011. You can see the speakers paper here.

The First Session on Inclusive Growth: The Unfinished Road to Reforms was chaired by Mr Suman K Bery, Director General, NCAER, New Delhi. He did not talking anything interesting (at least to me). This is one peculiar nature of talk often one can hear from any Indian economists!

Professor Amir Ullah Khan talked about the Liberalisation of the Informal Sector. The talk was more or less as usual that the reforms process has not been able to touch the informal sector where the majority of working age population is engaged in India. Much of this working age group population is directly shifted from agriculture without any marketable skills. But this story is off filled with not pure water but of bathwater!!

However, I asked him, have you ever come crossed any study which has looked the factors like informal sector influences with political groups and government machinery vis-à-vis the incentive mechanisms that operate between these groups on various aspects. His answer, as I hunched, was a big NO.

The issues related to Politics of Growth: Constraints and Opportunities were addressed by Mr.N K Singh, who is a Member of Parliament (RS). Instead of giving the reality of the politics in today’s India he kept himself focusing on the populist polices to convince the audience that the politics of growth is on right track!! He also seems to be not clear about what is all about functional democracy. All the major areas in which he had stressed was macro view. However, there was few crossing reference for useful reforms that is appreciable.

According to him the issue of income inequality is more of methodological and distributive matters rather than the usual assumptions.

Mr Surjit S Bhalla discussed about the Delivering on Promises: Public Private Partnerships, UID, and Social Entrepreneurship. As one often read his works, it is not surprise when he says that “India is a great path of testing liberal values” at this juncture.

He also agreed that India’s economic growth is taking place despite of the government and not because of the government. But in China, the economic growth is because of the State, and not despite of the State. Moreover, the economic freedom have delivered what is suppose to be rather than often claimed notion that the political freedom actually delivered the fruits of economic growth.

He gave very interesting analysis of income inequality as experienced in India and elsewhere.

What was quite disturbing to hear from his talk was the applauding for Bihar’s Chief Minister Policy to promote girls education by giving bicycles. This has been done through the direct cash transfer to the child or parents instead to buy the cycles and distribute to them as done in Tamil Nadu and other southern states some years ago. This is absolutely mockery the cycle as an incentive has not held to girls for enrolling in higher education that did not happened in Tamil Nadu and probably will not happen in Bihar. But we have to wait and see where the bucks stop!! 

Earlier posts: 1 2

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