Professor Amartya Sen recently launched his new book “An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions“, written with Professor Jean Drèze, at LSE.
During his talk, Sen argued that maintaining rapid as well as environmentally sustainable growth remains an important and achievable goal for India. He pointed out that despite concerns about India’s recent economic slowdown, the country’s main problems lie elsewhere, particularly in the lack of attention that is paid to the essential needs of the people, especially the poor.
According to Sen, one of the biggest failures has been the inadequate use of the public resources generated by economic growth to expand India’s lagging physical and social infrastructure (in sharp contrast, for example, to what China has done) and invest in human capital: he particularly emphasised poor investment in education and healthcare. Even as India has overtaken other countries in its rate of economic growth, Sen pointed out that it has fallen behind many of the same countries – including Bangladesh – in quality of life.
Given the importance of democracy in India, Sen stated that addressing these failures will require not only significant policy rethinking by the government, but also a better public understanding of the abysmal extent of social and economic deprivations.