Anupam Verma, who works for a multi-national company in Mumbai, was deeply disturbed after reading a report regarding the presence of poisonous chemicals in conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that he and his family used to eat everyday. The report was indeed scary. It said the consumption of these produce might cause life-threatening diseases like cancer, neurological defects, autism and respiratory and reproductive problems. Verma did not want to take a chance and decided to use only 'organic produce', which are presented in the report as a healthy alternative.
Nearly two years ago, INCLUSION ran a special edition featuring 'State of Governance' in which some well-known authors analysed the reasons behind some of the vexed issues confronting India like the dispartiies in development performance among states, shrivelled grassroots governance, barriers to social mobility and the frailties in the justice system. The series of articles underlined a fact that has not diminished in value-the acute need to "develop a credible framework for assessing quality of governance in various states that could possibly provide an agenda for governance reforms," as our Editorial put it.
In 2015-16 Union Budget, the government enhanced credit target for farm sector by Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 8.5 lakh crore. This was in line with a common perception that farm credit translates into the growth of the national economy. Statistically this might be unfounded, however it is undeniable that the farm sector that constitutes the core of the economy needs to be in focus of banks and other financial institutions.
The Indian economy is largely dependent on cash. Only 5 per cent of the country's personal consumption expenditure is done electronically. A sharp acceleration of economic growth is not possible with such kind of dependence on cash. Overdependence on cash is a major hurdle and a radical thinking and coordinated efforts are needed to take electronic payments system to the masses.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked, in January this year, the question, "India is a $2 trillion economy today. Can we not dream of an India with a $20 trillion economy?", he was echoing a powerful, nuanced and intensely compelling set of questions. Some among them-ranging from ease-of-doing business, innovation, digital economy, manufacturing, entrepreneurship to skilled workforce-are all too familiar.
Since independence, all governments of India have been committed to gradual rather than revolutionary means for spreading democratic and socialist principles (as attested notably by the Preamble to the Constitution of India). Independent India averted the revolutions (and most debates), which shaped the role of the state in the western world for some 500 years.
The British colonial administration brought in progressive developmental forces by bringing in education (Kindergarten to University) and railway networks for commercial exploitation of agricultural, forest and mineral resources and various social activists rose to the occasion with giants such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ranade, Gokhale, Phule, Dadabhai Naoroji, Pantulu, Sayyad Ahmed, Narayana Guru, Sane Guruji, Vidyasagar, Swami Vivekananda, etc.
The socio-economic development in India has been severely hampered because of the significant divide between the urban and the rural economy and a wide gap between the rich and the poor. While 30 per cent of the urban population has a wide range of remunerative employment opportunities, over 80 per cent of the rural population have to be dependent on a highly uncertain agricultural sector.