We are 30 years behind China in terms of development

Linked with Bibek Debroy – India.

Harsha Baruah interviews Bibek Debroy, published on Tehelka, May 12, 2007:

Two Excerpts:

… What about unemployment… no one has the correct data?

Firstly, unemployment data in India is notoriously unreliable, and I’m not talking about the National Sample Survey (NSS). If one speaks about the poor, many of whom are in the rural areas, it is an issue of underemployment, not unemployment. No one who is poor, strictly speaking, ought to be unemployed. Our labour force is 400 million, of which a little under 30 million is in the organised sector. What mps and the Left parties really talk about is the 30 million. Of the 30 million, around 20 million are employed in the government including the psus, and around 10 million are employed in the private organised sector. Today manufacturing altogether employs around 38 million people in India. If we apply the Chinese model to India, manufacturing would create employment for around 80 million. So we’d still have 320 million people for whom one would have to find jobs. I think the employment problem can only be solved if you begin to look outside manufacturing at rural transformation; at the services sector. As per nss surveys, about 55 percent of the male population reports itself as self-employed. Creating employment requires creating an environment where self-employment can take off …

… The standard comparison between India and China. Is that fair?

It certainly is a fair comparison in the sense that here we’ve got two countries in the world which are amongst the largest, are making a significant impact on global poverty, the way the global economic system works and decision-making processes in international institutions. But one shouldn’t drive the comparison too hard. Whatever be the criterion one is using, we’re 25-30 years behind China … (full text).

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