To be indifferent, is a sin.

Outlook India has published a Special Issue titled “How the Other India Lives”. It is a series of articles that epitomise the State of the Indian nation. The quote above was said by Elie Wiesel in the context of HR vioaltions in the world (particularly the holocaust), but nevertheless holds true here. The Issue is worked up so beautifully that if after reading this we Indians behave indifferent, it is a sin in itself.

Ashok Lahiri in “Deliverance from Deprivation” writes,

It is wrong to say there has been growth without jobs; it’s been without enough jobs, which is different from jobless growth. I have not seen any numbers that show jobs haven’t grown. But the labour force, particularly with increasing participation, has grown even faster. So, the unemployment rate has increased. Secondly, the NREGs (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) is like life insurance. Life insurance benefits a family only if the insured dies. But that may not be the outcome that the family wants. So in the ultimate analysis, we should not derive satisfaction when more people take up jobs under the NREGs. It is an interim solution until more productive and gainful employment is generated in the economy. It’s very important that NREGs is mixed with creation of durable assets.

Kaushik Basu in “Let the Cream Percolate” writes,

It has to be pointed out that the connection between growth and poverty is an intricate and widely misunderstood one. Growth is essential to eradicate poverty. But growth is not sufficient. We need deliberate, complementary policies to distribute the spoils of growth wider.

Ashutosh Varshney in “A pair of Bi- focals” writes,

Markets must flourish. But the masses cannot be left behind.

A booming middle class and corporate affluence alone cannot possibly run a democratic polity, when the countryside, home to over two-thirds of the country, is lagging far behind the dazzling growth of urban incomes, when the rising income disparities are obvious to the low-income households because of television. More…

Lola Nayar in “The Three Curses” (One of the best articles in the Issue) writes,

Education, Healthcare, Infrastructure.. barring stray NGO efforts, the poor in India seem condemned to Human existence.

When it comes to the public health sector, the picture is as dismal as in education. Despite increasing budgetary allocations to health, states are unable to utilise funds. In 2005-06, 18 states were able to use just 50 per cent of the funds meant for improving healthcare delivery systems. Government studies themselves point out that the bulk of the money used is spent on infrastructure development, not on improving services. This perhaps accounts for the poor outcome of the countrywide immunisation programme.

Across the country, individuals have found voices, and are using the right to information to seek efficient delivery of basic amenities and services. more…


The above are extracts from the articles in the Issue. Readers may read the issue or go through the links to know more.