The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A new theme for an economic dream

A dream was woven for the people at the time of India’s Independence. A future was charted out for the economy with the setting up of institutions like Planning Commission. Over 56 years have passed since Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru reminded the nation of its tryst with destiny.

But what has happened to the dream that marked the beginning of an independent India' Father-son duo Malay and Arindam Chaudhuri tries to analyse what went wrong and why the rich nation still remains poor in their book The Great Indian Dream.

“We analysed the impediments and suggested measures, which can pave the way for a prosperous India,” says Malay Chaudhuri, founder of the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), one of the leading B-schools in the country. Along with son Arindam, he is in town to launch the book. Not just promotion of the book, Arindam, who produced Sanjhbatir Roopkathara, is also meeting leading Tollywood lights to firm up his second foray into the world of entertainment.

“We are always interested to do something in Bengal. We plan to set up a research institute as well, but right now no plans for a management institute here,” says Arindam, dean, centre for economic research and advanced studies at IIPM, and founder of Planman Consulting.

The book raises questions on the veracity of official data and relevance of economic theories, which formed the basis of the policies pursued. Finally, it comes up with unexplored resource mobilisation and deployment alternatives for the policy-makers. “Indicators like poverty line and literacy rates must be redefined. The numbers, based on narrow definition, don’t reveal the true state of affairs,” says Arindam, author of best-seller Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch.

According to the authors, the country has four major problems — unemployment, health, literacy and judiciary — and efforts must be geared to address them. Arindam talks about broader indicators, like functional literacy and destitution line, for impact analysis of policies. Criticising the inhuman aspects of modern capitalism, he introduces the concept of happy capitalism, an ideal economic system for India’s development.

“To improve the quality of life of people, the government needs around Rs 17 lakh crore, over and above its current level of resource mobilisation, in a period of five years,” says Malay Chaudhuri. Increasing prices of diesel, and other petro products, charging Re 1 extra per electricity unit, levying cess on sugar and hiking excise on alcohol and tobacco products can unlock the resources, feel the authors.

“But it requires a political will. We know our politicians are shameless, but it’s high time they delivered,” sign off the Chaudhuris with a dream that they want to share with every Indian.

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