Apropos of the column “India’s economic hotspots” (FE, November 22), growth in India...
Apropos of the column “India’s economic hotspots” (FE, November 22), growth in India has been constrained due to poor infrastructure, be it road networks, water, sanitation, residential houses, etc. The dearth in educational and health facilities has also added woes to the overall growth scenario. There are states which have the advantage of open geography or proximity to the seas and have perennial rivers besides the availability of natural resources and such states are advanced in terms of economic development. Politics and availability of resources both play an important role in the economic development of the country. States such as Bihar and Odisha which are flood-, famine-ravaged are losing even what they have. Resource-scarce states have to be cooperated more than prosperous states. Politicians in the weaker states of India show lackadaisical approach to development. For the last 20 years ever since India has been transforming its structure of development, there has been poor development in states of Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Without the intervention of the Centre in the total development process of the states, the weaker states would continue to blame the central government for not giving attention to the development of the people. Transformation should begin from the base. Unless municipalities are reformed and the overall attitude of the local government does change, development in new districts and weaker states is going to remain a pipe dream.
Apropos of Jamal Mecklai’s article “The continuing foolishness on gold” (FE, November 20), India’s gold import policy, indeed, should be driven by the continuing need to strengthen our underlying economy. The author has rightly pointed out that Indians buy gold, have always bought gold and will always buy gold for ornamentation and savings. Further, it has been variously estimated that about 40% of India’s gold consumption (800-1,000 tonnes a year) goes to jewellery and the balance is for savings. As growth climbs into a higher gear, personal demand for gold will increase. So, gold demand can only be brought down by providing Indians more effective channels for savings. And as far as higher import duties are concerned, they will only lead to smuggling. In fact, as was pointed out in the article, the World Gold Council estimates that 200 tonnes of gold were smuggled since the import duty hikes in August last year. Lastly, the author’s suggestion that approaching temples—which may well be the wholesale holders of gold—and enabling them to get a better return on their holdings while bringing blocked gold into the market is a good idea.