Simultaneous economic, political development a challenge: Subramanian

Kolkata:  India’s Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian on Saturday said the model of economic and political development at the same time that India has been following is a challenging task.

“India is trying to do both economic and political development at the same time. Believe me, it is a very difficult task. And on top of that, Indian society has many more differences between people, religion, caste, culture, language, gender, region and so on.

“Trying to develop economically and politically at the same time against the background of many different groups of people in the society is a very challenging task,” he said in his address at the 4th Annual Convocation of Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur.

“So when we keep talking about India’s economic performance we have to keep the broader perspective in mind that we are doing something very difficult and amazing,” Subramanian said.

He however noted India’s economic performance has not been bad.

“Very few democracies have grown rapidly for a long period of time, very few of them eliminated poverty over such a quick span and very few democracies like India have achieved amazing things in science,” he said.

According to him, one developmental model is linked to slow economic and political development and other successful model is where economic development came first and political development came afterwards.

“India falls into neither of these categories,” Subramanian said.

In terms of development, some countries like China, Korea, Taiwan were successful over the short period of time but they began either with autocracies or dictatorships, he said, adding that these countries did the “economic development first” and then “political development and democracy followed”.

However, of course, like many countries, India has challenges. In education and health, the country is lagging and environmental sustainability is going to be very important, he added.

The institute has conferred the honorary degree of D.Litt on Subramanian.