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Jan 27, 2004
India’s Surge: a fresh round-up

Even the most die-hard Indian would be wearied by the current stream of flattering news on India in the English press. Especially when he realises, how much of the current euphoria may be due to the good monsoon we have had this year. Also, a sensitive Indian is aware how casual inhumanity routinely takes place, as when Manish Mishra, an upright young man is pushed to his death off a running train for speaking up for defenceless women or how Sarita and Mahesh in Bihar’s bad-lands are shot dead in cold blood because they dared to speak up for Dalits. The emerging good fortune that the following stories indicate, will neither make sense nor will it prevail, if there is not also change in the levels of policing and general governance. With a pause for the millions beyond the haze of cheer, let us review the good news.

Emily Parker, in the Wall Street Journal has a novel take on the points that India-observers bemoan: fiscal deficit, sizable poverty, rickety infrastructure etc. To compensate for all these, India has what John Maynard Keynes astutely pointed out as a crucial requirement for a society’s success: ‘animal spirits’. She says the country is full of strutting entrepreneurs unafraid of global competition. She concludes that as long as government policies “allow these ‘animal spirits’ to thrive, India is poised to take on the world.” Read the full story here.

‘Animal spirits’ would explain Amy Waldman’s story in the New York Times [-you may need to register]. She reviews the growth of ITC’s eChupal, an electronic ‘mandi’ for rural India. She says because of Internet connectivity soya bean farmers in villages are logging directly on to the Chicago commodities exchange, to estimate the prices they should be bargaining for.

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