‘Super Century’ Launch: Raghav Bahl Lauds India’s Foreign Policy
The Quint’s Editor-in-Chief Raghav Bahl on Friday, 19 July launched Super Century: What India Must to Do To Rise by 2050 – his third book in the ‘Super Trilogy’ – in the presence of distinguished guests at the India International Centre, New Delhi.
While talking of the book, Bahl said that the Modi government has done much better with foreign policy than with economic policy.
“The Modi govt has done much better with foreign policy than with economic policy ... I've learnt to be patient with India when it comes to being an economic superpower,” he said.
The author was in a panel discussion with Dr Bimal Jalan, former RBI governor and Member of Parliament, Gurcharan Das, a distinguished author, Rajeev Gowda, Member of Parliament and former IIM-Bangalore professor, Praveen Swami, journalist and national security expert. The discussion was moderated by Menaka Doshi, the managing editor at BloombergQuint.
An unwavering optimist on India, Bahl has spent countless hours thinking, reading and talking about what India needs to do to shake off its torpor once and for all and become a global economic and strategic powerhouse.
Here are some excerpts from the book:
‘India’s Moment Is Now’
What is it about the Indian psyche that makes us so incapable of fulfilling our promise as a nation? Why are we so averse to risk, resigned to mediocrity and mired in a collective lack of confidence? India has so much potential but seems forever stuck on the brink of actualisation, unable to muster the political will and geo-economic force to clear the final bar. The stakes are higher than ever, and India's moment is now.
But where should we turn first – to our troubles at home, or to the global challenges of terrorism, tyranny, ethnic conflict, mass migration, civil war, and climate change?
In Super Century, Bahl offers a cogent and candid assessment of how we got where we are and a clear blueprint of what we need to do, both at home and in the world, to fulfil our promise of going forward.
India’s economic renaissance can begin only when we honestly answer one question: Why are Indians poor? If we look at the economic history of rich and powerful nations, we see that they share three fundamental conditions: They have created a large ‘surplus’ from one or more resources (farms, land, labor, financial services, trade, technology, etc); they have invested that surplus in infrastructure, health and education; and their government encourages innovation and entrepreneurship in its people.
Any country that harnesses those three forces will eliminate poverty and become healthy and prosperous. India is a long way from that. In fact, we have failed to meet each of those conditions: we don’t have much economic ‘surplus’ (beyond the services industry, perhaps); whatever we have has been squandered by timid, inefficient or crony exploitation; and the genius of our people has been strangled by red tape.
State’s Role Needs to Be Reassessed
And what is the underlying source of those failures? The government itself. To fix these ills, we need to completely rethink how – and where – the state should involve itself in running the economy. But before we can assign a new set of parameters, it’s helpful to understand exactly where things went wrong in the first place.
For India to become a successful, high-functioning, globally respected nation, the role of the Indian state needs to change. We must be truly committed to liberating – rather than squelching, or redirecting – the ambitions of the Indian people. Only then will the nation fulfil the promise of all its potential both at home and in the world, says Bahl.
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