Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Dr Amartya Sen : The argumentative Indian:

Dear All

Dr Amartya Sen has proved again to be an Argumentative Indian.  

You should read the sixteen essays written by Dr Sen on the historical and political landscape of India’s argumentative tradition, where, he concludes that arguments are vital for the success of India’s democracy and politics. { Ref Amartya Sen: Argumentative Indian: Writing  on Indian History, Culture and identity } May be it is for us to keep up this tradition that he made national headlines yesterday. The Nobel laureate was not only critical of Narendra Modi’s model of governance but also made public his non acceptance of Modi , even as  a Prime Ministerial candidate.

As a developmental economist of International acclaim  with a leftist lineage, Dr Sen has always had his own critics on evaluating development in an economy. There are two sets of developmental economists. The first ones mainly the capitalist class, looks into the general increase in money supply in the economy and the resultant availability of capital for growth. It is this lot which measures the data on infrastructure development, banking and other macroeconomic indicators ,while the economists of leftist linage- to which  Dr Sen belong to -focuses on  social sector development, mainly on education ,health , poverty, freedom, human rights  etc. When we  analyse and give a value judgement on how good a state’s economy has performed we will always have economists and politicians who cherry picks data and interprets them. Accordingly for the leftist economists, the Kerala model of development may be far better than a Gujarat Model.

The Kerala model which was claimed to have created an egalitarian society with universal education and health care proved to be a misnomer. While education did result in skill development, there was no capital available for utilization of the same resulting in unemployment and skill migration. The Kerala economic development model has only resulted in creation of a money order economy with a dearth of capital, entrepreneurship and policy not to mention of left wing trade unionism. In the health front too while leftists economists talks about well ness indices of  Kerala State, its tribal region of Attapadi recorded nearly fifty child deaths in this year due to malnutrition . On the other hand Gujarat Model which focussed on capital and investment resulted in better roads, power and other infrastructure facilities making it the fastest growing state with no power failures. It increased employment opportunities not only to people of the states but also resulted in migration to the state for employment. On the education and health care front Dr Sen is right on pointing figures at Gujarat, because quality and standards of its health and education delivery system is dismal and needs change. While public distribution system is better than other states, capital percolation in health care and education has created more hospitals, schools and colleges but with low quality doctors and teachers. Most of the capital flows in education has come from the private sector but they have not been able to attract the best talent. It is often heard that school teachers themselves does not have the requisite knowledge and skill with cases of senior students engaged in teaching their juniors.

In such a contradicting scenario we cannot portray a state to have achieved or not have achieved any form of universal growth but growth need to be evaluated in the context of the indices of under discussion. Cheery picking economic growth numbers will never give a clear picture but can only add to political rhetoric.

Well whether Dr Sen accepts Mr Modi or not is his choice but he indeed has thrown open a debate prelude to election and hence proved to be a responsible and argumentative Indian.


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