Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi, September 28 - Urbanisation coupled with development of rural people and investment in education, transportation and energy sectors is the way forward for India, said economist Dr Atanu Dey, while delivering a Leadership Lecture on "India: Past, Present & Possible Futures," at Asian School of Business (ASB) here.
Explaining his rationale for urbanisation in India, Dr Dey, who is a Visiting Faculty at the University of California, Berkeley said, "Cities are engines of growth because they manufacture wealth. Urbanisation and economic growth are bi-directionally bound; the answer to rural development lies in urban planning."
Dr Dey said that education should be liberalised and made free from government control to facilitate greater investment in the sector. "The Indian economy should move away from agriculture," he said and added that the manufacturing sector should be enhanced to absorb the labour released from the agricultural sector.
Calling for a sound energy policy with focus on research & development in solar power, Dr Dey who also holds degrees in computer science and mechanical engineering said, "We should emerge as a solar power superpower."
Leadership Lecture on "India: Past, Present & Possible Futures
Dr Atanu Dey, Visiting Faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, delivering the Leadership Lecture on "India: Past, Present & Possible Futures," organised by Asian School of Business (ASB), Trivandrum.
On the country's present situation, Dr Dey said that reasons for India's ‘impoverishment' can be found from the past. "The systems designed by the British for their benefit were transferred lock, stock and barrel to those who took control after 1947. All extractive and exploitative rules and regulations were left behind," he said and cited examples of Indian Police Act that dates to 1861 and the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885 to further his point.
Dr Dey opined that the real tragedy faced by the country is that it did not become really free even after Independence. Dwelling in detail on economic freedom, a situation wherein people are not dictated to by somebody else, he said, "Giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Hewlett Packard were born in the US because the country offers economic freedom. Indians are poor because they are not free."
Prof S Rajeev, Director ASB pointed out that until around 1750, India was consistently ranked among the richest countries of the world. "The country declined during the years of colonialism and is now re-emerging. India is not a developing nation, but rather a re-developing one," he said.
"Development does not happen by itself nor does prosperity occur automatically. It requires proper policies, vision and leadership," Prof Rajeev added, even while countering Dr Dey's call for backtracking in areas of agriculture and rural development.
Business students from ASB, DC School of Management and Technology and Lourdes Matha College of Science and Technology, along with students of ASB's sister institution Trivandrum International School participated in the discussions that followed. Economics faculty from area colleges also presented their views on the topic.