A point of view

Secularism or growth?
The choice is yours

By Gurcharan Das, The Times of India,
April 6, 2014

This month’s national election may well be the most important in India’s history. Our country faces a limited window of opportunity called the ‘demographic dividend’ and if we elect the right candidate, prosperity will enter crores of lives. And in the course of time, India will become a middle class country. If we elect the wrong candidate, India will experience a ‘demographic disaster’ and the great hope of youth will turn into despair.

India’s opportunity comes from being unique ly young — the large majority of people are of working age. Such a demographic situation generally brings a surge in economic growth as gains to society from those in the productive age far outweigh the burden of supporting the old and the very young. The dividend typically adds two percentage points to per capita GDP growth per year, as many economically successful countries have demonstrated in the past.

We should vote for the candidate who has the ability to harvest the demographic dividend. He will achieve it by investing in infrastructure and skills training; cut red tape to encourage private investment; and eliminate unproductive subsi dies. This will create masses of new jobs. People in those jobs will consume more, which will give impetus to consumer industries. They will also save more, which will drive investment and growth. With more production, inflation will gradually decline. Falling fertility in the demographic transition will improve women’s health which will add to the workforce and improve social indicators. Higher income and lower subsidies will improve government’s finances, making it possible to invest more in education, health and welfare of the poor.

Who among the rival parties is best capable of delivering the demographic dividend? Certainly not the regional parties — they are mainly obsessed with local issues. The Aam Aadmi Party is concerned with corruption and crony capitalism and has shown little interest in attracting investment or creating jobs.

Between the two national parties the Congress is ambivalent. Its reformers understand the power of the demographic dividend but they are usually trumped by a ruling dynasty that favours equity over growth, preferring give-aways to win votes from the poor.

Although Congress's new manifesto does speak of jobs and growth, it is a half-hearted attempt. Because of this ambivalence, reforms and infrastructure building slowed in the UPA government, confusing investors and paralyzing the bureaucracy. And this led to a tragic fall in India’s growth and rise in inflation.

That leaves the BJP. As an opposition, it has been a disaster. However, the BJP’s thinking in the past year has been dramatically transformed by Narendra Modi who is single-mindedly focused on investment, jobs, skills and growth — key ingredients in realizing a demographic dividend

Modi has proven to be a consummate implementer, a rare skill among India’s politicians. His success lies in giving clear direction to the bureaucracy, which could help him un-gum the system at the centre. Given clarity of purpose, the Indian bureaucracy is capable of high performance, as we saw in Narasimha Rao’s first two years from 1991 to 1993. For these reasons, he is our best chance to deliver the demographic dividend.

Modi is likely to reduce corruption as well based on his record. Those who think he will fail to manage a coalition do not give him credit for being a shrewd politician who has recently wrest ed leadership of his party. The BJP without Modi is an unappealing option; nor is voting for him vote for RSS’ social agenda. The RSS is afraid in fact, that its Hindutva programme might be marginalized by his economic agenda. But there is a clear risk in voting for Modi — he is polarizing, sectarian and authoritarian.

There is a great er risk, however, in not voting for him. It is to not create jobs for 8-10 million youth that enter the market each year. One per cent rise in GDP roughly adds 15 lakh direct jobs; each job creates three indirect jobs, and each job supports five people This means three crore people are impacted by one per cent growth. Restoring growth to 8% is prize worth thinking about when casting one vote. There will always be a trade-off in values at the ballot box and those who place secularism above demographic dividend are wrong and elitist. more  

Have you given any donation to BJP or any other political party.


from where money is coming ?
How and where donors will recover the same.
ultimately all amount will be recovered from our pocket, in any shape .

Be the part of govt., by paying donation.

Have ownership and be able to slap .... on your dislike or mistakes.

But first take ownership. more  
Typical confused, argumentative India approach. There would be no India-hindus, muslims, dalits, OBCs or anyone else, if Namo is not voted to power. So do not argue, go and vote for him. more  
Both Secularism (real) and Growth are needed for Nation's Growth. No narrow communal-ism in the name of secularism more  
I agree with the conclusion that Modi as PM is the best answer, based on his track record on growth and governance. However, I can't subscribe to some analysis. Why his record on maintaining communal harmony is ignored? The charge of dividing societies is baseless going by experience of minorities in Gujrat. 2012 riots were last of the series Gujrat had been victim of. Still the charge? The role of Modi has undergone mammoth and multiple scrutiny and result is clean chit. Then why?
In present election, Modi or anyone from BJP have refrained from any objectionable mention. It all started with Sonia ji getting Bhukhari's endorsement and barbs of Azam Khan. Amit Shah responded, that too in a much sober manner. I agree that also was avoidable because polarisation was done by congress and SP.
The remark about BJP without Modi is beyond comprehension. Modi was not their in NDA Govt. between 1998-2004 and the performance is there for all to see.
Let's support Mosi and BJP without reservation. more  
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