Bimal Jalan's Future of India

The Future of India
Bimal Jalan
Penguin Book
Price: Rs 250

Bimal Jalan, one of India’s well known economists and a former governor of the RBI has brought out the relationship between politics, economics and governance and their consequences in a very perspicuous way.

He emphasises the need for more participation in democracy, as the benefits which can be derived are high. He says that “Corrective action is feasible only if there is more effective political participation by the ordinary citizen-in short, fuller practice of democracy.”

He has tried his best to unwrap and unravel the morass of bureaucracy.
“Political parties are now subservient to their leaders, and not to the people who sustain them.”

“The selection for the civil service posts at all levels of government at the centre and states is truly independent of political interference.” He recognises and posits absolute transparency in the selection of civil servants, but he goes on to say that “While politicians are free to overrule the advice rendered by civil servants, the advisory functions of the bureaucracy are expected to be performed without regard to their impact on the private interests of politicians and the party in power.”

“Political leaders deliver what civil service unions demand by way of pay, security of service, leave, working hours and creation of jobs. In their turn, civil servants deliver what the politicians want in terms of power and favours. The casualty is the public interest.” The knot between the politicians and the bureaucrats is tight and one cannot live without the support of the other.

Bimal Jalan has brought out the adverse impacts of delays in judiciary, a very integral part of the constitutional framework of a country and brings to our notice the growing disjuncture between politics and economics.

Jalan on coalitions: “These coalitions are always more interested in influencing the distribution of wealth and income in their favour rather than in the generation of additional output which has to be shared with the rest of the society.”

He has enumerated the problems that have befallen the public delivery systems like lack of accountability, fiscal stringency etc.

On corruption:
“Corruption is a major hurdle in growth, development and poverty alleviation.”
“Corruption is also an important cause of fiscal drain and higher inflation in developing societies.”
“Thus, another economic effect of corruption is that it further aggravates inequality in an already unequal society.”

One of the main reasons for the proliferation of bribes is that “If administrative rules and regulations are complex and involve multiple agencies acting at cross purposes, then the public has no option but to purchase the required permits, licenses and registrations by paying bribes.”

Thus, Bimal Jalan has brought out the main causes of the underperformance by India in the economic, social and political spheres. He has also put forth remedies which seek to enhance the efficacy of the government. It is a book which deserves to be read by all those who want to know India or change India.

11 thoughts on “Bimal Jalan's Future of India”

  1. Hi Alex

    Sorry if I posted on the wrong place.

    But could please share ur thoughts on the whole SEZ issue. The RBI has raised concerns whether the revenue loss due to exemptions has been taken into account et all……….. Could u share/post something to that effect.

    Would appreciate if u could…..

    Cheers
    Vineet

  2. Yes if your going to have democracy might as well implement all its policies. I think the most difficult to implement is the transparency.
    Great writing by the way, I very much appreciated your journalistic approach.
    Just out of curiosity, and if you don’t mind sharing or redirecting if you have already mentioned, your future goals as a student of Economics?
    I look forward to another post!

  3. Good post alex… seems to be an interesting book… but would be tough read for personal like me who doesnt understand economics well… can you put your own thoughts too..

  4. C’mon then you shudnt have put this “It is a book which deserves to be read by all those who want to know India or change India.” ….LOL. you know i want to do all this :)

    btw like your honesty :)

  5. yo! tks for dropping by…eco 101 made my head spin…am reading stiglitz, friedman and the undercover economist…heres to hoping my head will clear!

  6. When one views the issue at hand, i have to agree with your conclusions. You understandably show knowledge about this topic and i have much to learn after reading your post.Many salutations and i will come back for any further updates.

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