Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Indian learnings from Chinese Success

A lot has been said about the growing development of India and China and nothing could be more different. India & China during the 70’s were both at the same stage of development, if not, India was more developed but somewhere along the way the way the Chinese Hare has overtaken the Indian turtle. What ails India, what can India learn from the economic development of China.
I would like to first state the similarities between India and China in general, both are countries with a large land mass - China 9.6 million sq km; India: 2.97 million sq km and large population - : China 1.3 billion; India 1.1 billion, the growth rate for China and India are China 0.59% (death rate 0.697%, birth rate 1.325%); India 1.38% (death rate 0.818%, birth rate 2.201%)
The Parameters on which I’m going to judge their development:
Even though modern China was founded my Mao Zedong, the present government has evolved on to become highly professional based upon confuscian principles where meritocracy is given it’s due credit. If you notice, most of the leadership of china are graduate of Tsinghua (harvard or IIM of China) where the best and brightest are trained for leadership in the government. This could hardly be more contrasting with India where Polticians are not only criminals but also can contest elections behind bars.
It’s sometimes ironic that developing countries like India just ape the Westminster style of Parliament as well as government without taking notice of ground realities. I think it’s more important to tailor a type of Institutional Government more suited to local needs. For instance having a democratic institution where most of the voters are illiterate could lead to more exploitation and chaos. Even though the Chinese Government claims to be a communist country, it’s not strictly a communist government in the sense that that private enterprises have been allowed to flourish since the time of Deng Xiaoping. The Chinese have combined elements of both Socialistic and Capitalistic characteristics into their government. With more people being lifted out of poverty and getting into a middle class, I’m sure it will evolve on to a more Liberal Society.
Indians are a diverse mix of very different communities of very different religions & economic conditions which is made more complex with the different caste systems. Even though invisible in modern society, underneath, the caste system still exist within India. Some people are expected to be members of a low caste community and are expected to do only low paying jobs by virtue of their lowly birth. The upper caste also try to guard their own domain to maintain their own exclusiveness. The Chinese in contrast are almost 100% literate and most of them speak the same language with no caste system and have more homogeneity than India.
It’s sad that the Western Media are trumpeting about the Indian Economic success despite people living in poverty & condemning china despite it's economic progress. Let me mention some of the sad facts about India. The Suicide by Farmers because of lack of ecological conservation as well as because of neglect, the marriage of underage girls being sold around because of the very lopsided sex ratio. Because of the high price that has to be paid for dowry, many Indian families prefer to have abortion rather than have a daughter, which is having a very adverse effect on the Indian society, as a result of which many sexually frustrated men frequently commit violent acts against illiterate underage girls as well as go to prostitutes which only aids in spreading of AIDS.
The Chinese Government has lifted the most number of people out of poverty in history whereas in India the rich keep on getting richer and the poor keep on dying. The streets of metro’s like Mumbai & Kolkota are a living hell where people live on the roadside with no water, sanitation or food and drink water from the drainage, defecate on the roadside & eat what’s leftover from garbage cans and live in tin sheds barely fitting a person, with huge families. The street children's are dirty & hungry and can only hope for food to steal, with no family planning, people are uncared for and live alongside palatial mansions and Maybach Limousines, such a paradox & difference in living standards will only lead to more revolts, insurgencies & naxalites. It’s not a surprise that India never wins a medal in the Olympics where the proportion of underweights & malnutrition children in India is 47.5%. There’s also hardly the feeling of being an Indian or a sense of community or pride in India as people in India hardly have any achievement to be proud of in sports besides cricket(played by just a dozen countries), lack of any major achievement except the success of billionaires whose riches hardly trickle down to the downtrodden. Indians identify themselves more along the lines of their language or caste, so if you’re from an upper caste, you’re taken care of but if you’re from a lower caste where people belonging to your community are just as economically backwards, you’re left to fend of yourself.
Some quick human development figures here for your information
Infant mortality rate in India 5.43%, China 2.31%
Life Expectancy at birth in India 64.71%, China 72.81%
Malnutrition India 57 Million China 7 Million
The difference in attitude between the Indian and Chinese bureaucrats couldn’t be more different. Corruption in the government in India is something that’s taken for granted and expected from the lowest level of hierarchy onwards. The bureaucrats at the most try to make the process of setting up a business or dealing with them the most difficult and would only allow you a smooth process only if you’re willing to pay them bribes, but the chinese in contrast are open and are more than happy to have you establish your business in their country, city or district because the mayor or politician over there is judged by the confuscian principles of meritocracy, hence the amount of development work and investment he has brought to that region is a very important part of his evaluation for promotion to a higher job.
The chinese also in a way also have less stumbling blocks in matter of building up infrastructure – for instance to build an expressway which has to cross some private land, they government can just do it and the people cannot fight it in court due to their limited rights. The chinese also can build up large infrastructural projects like the three gorges dam – the largest dam in the world which would not doubt generate a large amount of electricity as well as do a lot of ecological damage. Nevertheless, the chinese are concentrating on privatizing loss making government industries as well as promote technology and innovation by investing a lot of money in Universities. The Chinese are now not only planning to put a man on the moon in the coming decade but are working on super fast bullet trains, building their own Jet Aircrat, having their own car Industry, the same with mobile phones, Fridge and television all made possible through the educated working population which produce low priced goods at good quality which is giving many of them a living standard that their ancestors could only dream of.
Some figures of Chinese success in Infrastructure.
GDP : China $ 2.25 Trillion India $700 Billion
Iron & Steel: China 349 million tons India 43 million tons
TV China 94 million India 32 million
Mobile phone China 437 million India 127 million
Internet China 111 million India 27.7 million
Expressway China 42,000 km India 4885 km
Electricity China 590,000 megawatts India 130,000 megawatts
Railroad China 74,000 km India 55,000 km
Airline passenger China 138 million India 52.12 million
Insurance premium China $60 billion India $ 23 billion
Patents China 2452 India 648
China may have to improve on giving it’s citizen more rights but India has a longer path to tread to keep up with it’s neighbor. Two big countries with huge population on the same continent, one developing faster than the other, it would do good for India to learn from it’s neighbor and continue to strive giving a better life to it’s cititizen.

1 comment:

  1. quote -Corruption in the government in India is something that’s taken for granted and expected from the lowest level of hierarchy onwards.

    unquote - i truely believe that we need to revolutionize our country, right from the grassroot level...only then, will we be able to be a developed country...

    so help us God...