An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions

An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions

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Princeton University Press
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An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions

When India became independent in 1947 after two centuries of colonial rule, it immediately adopted a firmly democratic political system, with multiple parties, freedom of speech, and extensive political rights. The famines of the British era disappeared, and steady economic growth replaced the economic stagnation of the Raj. The growth of the Indian economy quickened further over the last three decades and became the second fastest among large economies. Despite a recent dip, it is still one of the highest in the world.

Maintaining rapid as well as environmentally sustainable growth remains an important and achievable goal for India. In An Uncertain Glory, two of India's leading economists argue that the country's main problems lie in the lack of attention paid to the essential needs of the people, especially of the poor, and often of women. There have been major failures both to foster participatory growth and to make good use of the public resources generated by economic growth to enhance people's living conditions. There is also a continued inadequacy of social services such as schooling and medical care as well as of physical services such as safe water, electricity, drainage, transportation, and sanitation. In the long run, even the feasibility of high economic growth is threatened by the underdevelopment of social and physical infrastructure and the neglect of human capabilities, in contrast with the Asian approach of simultaneous pursuit of economic growth and human development, as pioneered by Japan, South Korea, and China.

In a democratic system, which India has great reason to value, addressing these failures requires not only significant policy rethinking by the government, but also a clearer public understanding of the abysmal extent of social and economic deprivations in the country. The deep inequalities in Indian society tend to constrict public discussion, confining it largely to the lives and concerns of the relatively affluent. Drèze and Sen present a powerful analysis of these deprivations and inequalities as well as the possibility of change through democratic practice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691160795
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 08/11/2013
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 A New India? 1

2 Integrating Growth and Development 17

3 India in Comparative Perspective 45

4 Accountability and Corruption 81

5 The Centrality of Education 107

6 India's Health Care Crisis 143

7 Poverty and Social Support 182

8 The Grip of Inequality 213

9 Democracy, Inequality and Public Reasoning 243

10 The Need for Impatience 276

Statistical Appendix 289

Table A.1: E conomic and Social Indicators in India and Selected Asian Countries, 2011 292

Table A.2: India in Comparative Perspective, 2011 296

Table A.3: Selected Indicators for Major Indian States 298

Table A.4: Selected Indicators for the N orth-E astern States 330

Table A.5: Time Trends 332

Notes 337

References 373

Indexes 413

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