Also good lessons to learn from Gujarat: Amartya

PTI, NEW DELHI | 23 July 2013 18:34 IST

Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen, who has been critical of Narendra Modi's model of governance, has said there are lessons to be learnt even from Gujarat which had good business performance and infrastructure though it lagged in health, literary and minority rights.

Sen, at the same time, pointed that there are bigger things to learn from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and even Himachal Pradesh, a state where he said "transformation has been much more rapid that Kerala."

The economist said it was wrong to portray India's governmental experience as a complete failure.

"It has been a completely diverse experience. Some very good experience in business area like Gujarat on the other hand pretty bad record in education, health care, gender equity and any public policy related to that," Sen said at the launch of his new book last evening.

Sen along with co-author and economist John Dreze has in their new book taken note of the achievements of modern India including the successful maintenance of the world's largest democracy, but they still argue that the country's development strategy remains fundamentally flawed.

In particular, the authors point out that the country has overlooked the central role of human capabilities - both as an end in themselves and as a means of further progress.

Sen exemplified Kerala, which he has done pretty well in areas like education and health care and is now one of the richer states in India.

He said he was criticised as "hypothetical and imaginative" for saying that Kerala a state once mired with problems of low income and red tape could reap the benefits of growth if it stuck to progress in areas like education, health care and literacy.

"Now it turns out Kerala is one of the richer states that the high growth rate in Kerala is nurtured and fostered by education and health care," said Sen.

The Nobel Laureate said it was a question of learning from any part of India that can offer a lesson.

"This is true even in Gujarat. We can even learn from Gujarat even though it has a dismal record in treatment of minorities, giving them a sense of security and sticking to secularism. But in things like market economic expansion, there are things to learn."

Sen, however pointed that there are bigger things to learn from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and even Himachal Pradesh, a state where he said "transformation has been much more rapid that Kerala."


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