TAMIL NATIONAL FORUM
Selected Writings -
Mountain of Growth
2 May 2006
India: The Poverty of Progress - Chhandasi Pandya]
India's Finance minister Palanniappan Chithamparam told the Parliament recently
that "Equity will be our companion; and social justice will be our destination."
But these words are placed in the context of growth - economic, militaralistic,
socio-geo-politico strategic growth. Hence Chithamparam elaborated that "Growth
will be our mount."
These words echo reality by revealing enormous tensions and pressures within
national, inter-states, and international spheres. US is increasingly having
close connections with the subcontinent as India is an emerging power in the
region which cannot be snubbed. China is another giant - with an emerging
economic and sheer human resources (in other words cheap labour) power.
China, India and the US - will this be a harmonised global power or will India
be willing to become a US "client state" in the region? Israel is a client state
for the US in the Arab world. Some would add Egypt and Saudi Arabia to the list.
However, China in all probability, primarily owing to its political adherence
and philosophy may be reluctant to take a client state status. Of course,
because of mutual benefit, there will be economic cooperation between the US and
China. Let us not forget, China is already buying up multi-billion dollar
corporations in the West. So in this global economy China will be poorer without
There are speculations that in this triangular Super power v emerging powers
relationship India will play a very dominant role. In other words there are more
commonalitites within these two countries to forge such a closer link. Many
analysts are predicting that India is emerging as a client state.
It was reported that India has launched a 30 year program to build a fleet
capable of projecting power into the South China sea and the Indian ocean. India
has also purchased Jaguar bombers from the UK and is negotiating to purchase 66
Hawk fighter bombers for U$ 1.43 billion. US has also approved India to
have access to nuclear energy for "civil purposes." US returned the favour to
India for having voted against Iran regarding its nuclear build up!
Now returning to Chithamparam's talk on equity and social justice and the
climbing on the mountain of growth one has to stress that the poor - rich gap in
India is rapidly increasing. Millions of poor farmers are losing their
livilihoods owing to the lack of state support and also including the effects of
global warming - droughts and floods etc. There are record numbers of suicides
happening within such rural communities. Now that India has plugged into this
global economy there is hardly any cash to plough back into the rural economies.
There isn't any market for cottage industries in a modern "conveyor belt" super
market culture! In this situation analysts are beginng to wonder: The price of
single Hawk could supply a life time of clean water to 1.5 million people.
Equity and social equality are noble pursuits. However given the speed in which
growth is anticipated such altruistic ideals sadly get left behind in the rush.
If growth is a mountain, one who climbs to the top gets the credit. Very often
the poor, the needy and the vulnerable don't make it up there. In India such
"have nots" tragically resort to suicide. No one, especially politicians wants
to talk about this in public. Except for some bold intellectuals. One such
intellectual recently spoke at a protest rally. She described suicide as "the
current growth industry" in India.