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India Has Taken a Quantum Jump in the Wrong Direction: Amartya Sen

“Things have gone pretty badly wrong... We are getting backwards in the fastest-growing economy,” Amartya Sen said.

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Nobel prize-winning economist and author Amartya Sen, at a book launch, said that despite being the fastest-growing economy, India has taken a "quantum jump in the wrong direction" since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power in 2014.

The Nobel laureate was speaking at the launch of ‘Bharat Aur Uske Virodhabhas’, the Hindi edition of his book ‘An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradiction’ that he co-authored with development economist Jean Dreze.

 “Things have gone pretty badly wrong... We are getting backwards in the fastest-growing economy,” Amartya Sen said.
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Speaking about India with regard to its neighbouring countries, he said that due to moving backwards, the country is now second-worst in the region.

 “Things have gone pretty badly wrong... We are getting backwards in the fastest-growing economy,” Amartya Sen said.

Twenty years ago, he added, of the six countries in this region – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan – India was the second-best after Sri Lanka. "Now, it is the second-worst. Pakistan has managed to shield us from being the worst."

Highlighting the increasing violence against Dalits, the most recent being the beating up of a Dalit petrol pump worker in Madhya Pradesh, the economist said the government has deflected from issues of inequalities, with the caste system and the schedules tribes being kept out.

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Taking a dig at the BJP-led government, he added that during freedom struggle it was difficult to see that a political battle could be won by playing up the Hindu identity, but that has changed now.

"But, that has happened. Which is why, at this time, the whole issue of Opposition unity is so important," the 84-year-old economist said.

It is not a battle of one entity against the other (or) Mr Modi against Mr Rahul Gandhi, it is an issue of what India is.
Amartya Sen

Notably, the Nobel laureate had earlier come out against the Modi government after it announced the demonetisation move.

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Also speaking at the event, Jean Dreze termed the soon-to-be launched Ayushmann Bharat health scheme a "hoax" as it was actually not big as it was being claimed to be.

The budget (for the scheme) for this year is 2,000 crore. Even if it is spent, it’s less than 20 rupees per person.
Jean Dreze

It is projected as health insurance for 50 crore people, but it is virtually nothing, said Dreze, who helped draft the first version of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA).

(With inputs from PTI.)

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