Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nani Palkhivala’s Vision for India

The more I read of my own i become frustrated with the fractured Indian classical liberals, what can I say more, let alone say or murmur by themselves on the shelves of the death by democracy in India. That is it.

The below paragraphs is from a great lecture beautifully delivered by late great Indian economist Nani A Palkivala at  Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies in 1998.

  • As early as January 1987, The Economist rightly remarked that socialism as practised in India has been a fraud. Our brand of socialism did not result in transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor but only from the honest rich to the dishonest rich.
  • We built up state-owned enterprises called the public sector in India. The sleeping sickness of socialism is now universally acknowledged, -- but not officially in India. More than 240 public sector enterprises are run by the Union government, and more than 700 by the state governments. These public sector enterprises are the black holes, the money guzzlers, and they have been extracting an exorbitant price for India's doctrinaire socialism.
  • There is a tidal wave of privatisation sweeping across the world from Bangladesh to Brazil, but it has turned aside in its course and passed India by.
  • The most persistent tendency in India has been to have too much government and too little administration; too many laws and too little justice; too many public servants and too little public service; too many controls and too little welfare.
  • My own thinking is that our greatest initial mistake was to start with adult franchise. No democracy has ever paid, all things considered, a heavier price for adult franchise than India. I am not aware of any great democracy which started as a republic on the basis of adult franchise: all of them started with a more restricted system and then graduated to adult franchise. When the Constituent Assembly was in session, two of our greatest statesmen -- C Rajagopalachari and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel -- recommended that we should not start with adult franchise but educate our people first to make them worthy of discharging their duties as citizens of a great democracy; but they were out-voted.
I strongly recommend you all to read the full lecture and ponder over it.

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