After Mani Shankar Aiyar, it is the turn of Jagmohan to question the wisdom and direction of “reforms” and the trickle down effect- after 16 years, even he cannot find the trickle down effect promised by the Manhoman- Chidambram- Montek economics.
The disparities of income are mounting. While one third of our rural population lives only on Rs 12 a day, a fresh graduate from a Management Institute can get an annual salary of Rs one crore, that is, about Rs 25,000 a day. A recent World Bank report titled Global Economic Prospect (2007) – Managing the Next Wave of Globalisation, has observed: “India, a country with low initial inequality, is headed for one of the fast increase in income inequality anywhere”. In a country where millions remain hungry and diseased, the combined wealth of 36 richest Indians had touched dollar 191 billion in the year 2006”.
In the matter of poverty reduction, too, the performance of the Indian economy has been dismal. In absolute numbers. About 300 million Indians were below the poverty line in 04-05.
There is another method of measuring poverty – percentage of low-weight babies to the total number of babies born in a country. This percentage reflects more accurately the state of malnutrition; that is, the state of poverty. In India, the current percentage of low-weight babies to the total number of babies born is as high as 48. On this reckoning, the percentages of the Indians living in poverty should be taken as 48….
Ironically, the economic ‘reforms’ of 1991 are resulting in a swelling of the ranks of unemployed and under-employed persons. The Economic Survey (2006-07) has observed: “Employment growth in the organised sector, both public and private, declined during the 1990s. The annual employment growth in establishments covered by the employment-market and market information system of the labour ministry, decelerated from 1.20 per cent during 1993-94 to 0.38 per cent per annum during 1994-2004.”
The Planning Commission’s Approach Paper to the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012), too, has expressed particular concern over “the sharp increase in unemployment (from 9.5 per cent to in 1993-94 to 15.3 per cent in 2004-05) among agricultural labour households which represent the poorest groups”.(read on)
On a related note, Madhukar has a post on Manmohan Singh’s point on the salaries of corporate CEOs.
Cross posted at How the Other Half Lives