India is prospering but not Indians: Aiyar

Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Wednesday questioned the government`s inclusive economic growth story of India, saying "India is prospering but not Indians".

Updated: Dec 02, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Mani
Shankar Aiyar on Wednesday questioned the government`s inclusive
economic growth story of India, saying "India is prospering
but not Indians".

"India is prospering, Indians are not," he said at a
function after releasing a report on social development of
India published by Oxford University Press.
Aiyar criticised the government for measuring economic
growth on the basis of per capita income and Gross Domestic
Product (GDP), saying that while 57 per cent of GDP is being
"consumed" by about one per cent of the total population, per
capita growth rate is a "wholly misleading index" of what
is actually being attained in terms of progress by the people.

"GDP growth rate is no index of what is happening in
the our country. The per capita growth rate, derived from the
GDP growth rate, is also a wholly, not inadequate, wholly
misleading index of what is actually being attained in terms
of progress by the people of India," he said.

He also criticised the procedure adopted by the
government to define poverty line, alleging that it is
"designed to pull wool over your eyes because it gives them
easy way of describing how poverty alleviation is taking place
when in fact it`s hardly, barely taking place".

He said GDP, per capita growth rates and national
poverty line are the "three dangers facing the people of
India".

He said GDP has emerged as the "real enemy of the
Indian people" because the pursuit of "higher and yet higher
GDP growth rates means an increasing squeezing out of national
resources from areas where people needed to areas which will
boost growth".
Aiyar pointed out that while the GDP growth rate has
soared towards double figures "and possibily on a sustained
basis", rate of growth in agriculture of the country has
remained at an average of about 1 to 2 per cent over the
period of economic reforms.

"The conbsequences--that as of now approximately 57
per cent of our GDP is being consumed by about one per cent of
the total of our population, that population which finds
itself in the IT and IT-related services sector along with
government servants, armed forces personnel ...."

He said that in manufacturing sector there is a
"remarkable" record with the growth rate upto 14 -15 per cent
per annum. But "curiously", the share of labour in the
organised sector is 8 per cent today, which is the same as at
the start of the economic reforms process.

"Which means in relative terms we have not been able
to transfer labour from agriculture and unorganised small
industry into organised major industry," he said.

PTI