Bangalore International Centre in association with Janagraha had arranged a talk by Prof. Arvind Panagariya, Professor of Economics & Jagdish Bhagwati Professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University and a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, on his latest book “INDIA : THE EMERGING GIANT” on 9th July, 2008 at 6 PM. The session was chaired by Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Co-Chairman, Infosys Technologies Ltd.
In a wide-ranging sweep Prof. Panagariya traced the growth of the Indian Economy since independence and highlighted the high points achieved since the ushering in of liberalization from 1990. It was his considered opinion that while there could be some temporary set-backs and consequent slowing down of the rate of growth, the process of growth itself could not be reversed. He was not unmindful of the fact that there were several areas – Education, Health, Poverty, Inequality, etc – which needed intervention and reforms. However, he was optimistic that with the process of growth and increase in the level of individual and social consciousness, things would improve.
There were critics amongst the packed audience who felt that Prof. Panagariya was too optimistic in his assessment of the current scenario and that he ignored some of the most telling pitfalls within our socio-economic structure. Prof. Panagariya’s response was simple – “Just compare the present situation with what was obtaining during the 1980’s and honestly say whether we are better off or not”. It appeared from the over-all reaction of the audience that there were many who concurred with him.
This was one of the liveliest interactive session during the current year.