Here it is, the stage is set at a discernible point of inflection FY 2009-10 for a self-sustained take-off for India (remember “Limits to Growth” by W.W. Rostoff?). But, going by past experience, it is necessary to introspect and take a look at our own face in the mirror, as the road ahead is fraught with dampeners. This is where my blogs under the banner DarpanaLABsdodecagon hastens to provide an introspective analytical peek into the past, into the invisible fault lines of Poles and Polarities truly atypical of India.

STAGE SET FOR TAKE OFF TOWARD A SELF-RELIANT, SUSTAINED, QUALITY OF GROWTH 

Here it is, the stage is set at a discernible point of inflection FY 2009-10 for a self-sustained take-off for India (remember “Limits to Growth” by W.W. Rostoff?). But, going by past experience, it is necessary to introspect and take a look at our own face in the mirror, as the road ahead is fraught with dampeners. This is where my blogs under the banner DarpanaLABsdodecagon hastens to provide an introspective analytical peek into the past, into the invisible fault lines of Poles and Polarities truly atypical of India. For example, frequent, profligate indulgence on the part of India’s Public Works/Road Building contractors in the use of “Makadam without Tar” in all of Pune Municipal Corporation’s road constructions, no doubt, puts a big question mark, as they (the builders) evince no appreciation whatsoever of the fact that a road is a public asset, and that it should have a life of at least three to five years. Despite an eminent personality like Mr Sridharan at the helm of affairs of Delhi Metro, the recent crash of Metro-Skyway girders near Lady Shri Ram (LSR) College, East of Kailash in New Delhi (and several other accidents earlier while construction was in progress) represent eminent cases in point, how reckless we are about quality !.
Need for Devolution of Power to States: While in quite a few countries, awareness of what constitutes QOG is poor to dismal, in certain other countries, the issue is sidelined by bureaucratic apathy. Leave aside apathy, India’s sheer geographic size and diversity vis-à-vis “excessive centralization of macro policy making at one monolithic power centre in Delhi” has been a mismatch, out of tune with the times, precluding the possibility of growth outcomes that reflect and ensure quality of life of millions of people in the length and breadth of India. How can one monolithic Central Government deliver quality of life to a large ocean of 1.2 billion people? Its delivery mechanisms for sure will be overstretched, more often clogged in a quagmire of systemic failures of sorts. So the time for decentralization of power is now. Sometimes GOP-led GOI cites Sarkaria Commission on Centre-State Financial Relations, but grants hefty allocations to favoured states, and ignores other eminently eligible states.
Need for Decentralization: Vexatious media debates on vote bank issues centring on unjust demonization of opposition Governments and upping an undeservingly high moral govt for GOP has become endemic. The recent election issue raised by the Bihar Chief Minister Mr Nitish Kumar, viz., shortage/ denial of Funds for building a Dam across the Koshi River (Bihar’s River of Sorrow every year), and on top of it, doing almost everything short of insisting that the Bihar Govt refund the allocated funds (just because it is an opposition BJP-ruled Government) smacks of decency in adhering to democratic norms of a Federal set up, and represents the height of negligence and bureaucratic apathy. And a recent ET Reports says that the entire Rs 1700 crores spent on cleaning up the sacred River Ganges (Ganga) has gone down the drain as experts (and The Controller & Auditor General of India included have certified that there is not an iota improvement in the level of pollution since start-up stage some two decades ago !!!. Is it highlighted now because the GOP has seized an opportunity to bash opposition Mayavati Govt. in Utter Pradesh ?
Such political machinations/ insinuations are deleterious to long-term public good; they are in total disregard to nurturing a progressive (federal) polity (ironically United Progressive Alliance “UPA” is the name of GOP-led coalition), and should not be used by politicians in whatsoever manner as they potentially are “Political Weapons of Mass Destructions (P-WMDs)”. If India wants to achieve QOG outcomes in such vital areas as food security, water security, safety security, security from natural calamities (indeed invisible “public goods” as they ought to be the Ruling Party’s responsibility) at all echelons of the Public Admin domain, be it Centre, State, District or Panchayat level, and P-WMDs have no place in discharging such constitutionally onerous responsibilities. What are public goods and what is public policy. Nobody knows, including many of the educated Law Makers retuned to Lok Sabha in May ’09, as well as those elected to State Assemblies. Why? Why? For 57 long years, our highly centralized, monolithic GOI did not want States/ District/ Panchayat Adminstrations to know neither about “Good Governance” nor about “Public Goods and Public Policy”. Squarely because, the chief architect of GOP-led UPA via the GOP that professes “Inclusiveness”, has treated “Public Policy” as the exclusive preserve of IAS boys, sons and daughters of an elite club of Rai Bahdurs and Diwan Bahadurs (RBDBs), a legacy of the British era (Raj).
To govern a population of 1.2 billion, in the past 62-yrs post-independence, we have only a handful of institutions: (a)-The Indian Administrative Academy, Mussorie (UP) (for IAS, IAAS boys); (b)-Indian Institute of Public Administration, Indri Prastha, New Delhi; (c)-The Administrative Staff College of India (generally for private sector), (d)-National Police Academy, Mount Abu (for IPS Officers), (e)-Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (for IFS boys – only commercial aspects), (g)-The Indian Railway Adminstrative Academy, Baroda et al. Cast in a unifocal mold as just training institutions, the Institutions cited above are devoid of any capacity building remit whatsoever in Public Policy making. If any value enrichment worth the salt had occurred in the Public Policy domain, it was slow, sporadic and somewhat fortuitous, e.g., the setting up of Centre for Policy Research, Chanakya Puri, New Delhi (1986); the Indian Institute of Management set up a Chair for Public Policy Research (1999-’00); and at the State level, only the Govt of Maharashtra had taken initiative in this domain by setting up Yeshvant Rao Chavan Institute of Public Administration in Pune.
GOP is intolerant to dissent and opposition. The treatment meted out to non-Congress Governments is reprehensible, and calls for public censure. It must be realized by India’s well educated, enlightened polity and civil society, that time of National level parties is passé, as no national level party, howsoever experienced and strong it may be, can resolve local problems of states. Govt’s recalcitrance in neglecting for far too long (God knows for political reasons), — and keeping under the rug funds for the two major projects, — the Ganga River Cleaning and the Koshi River valley project stretching across the Indo-Great Gangetic plane meandering through two of India’s most populous states, UP and Bihar –, will only raise their head Phoenix-like and censure the Govt’s concerned for gross negligence and inaction. It is time that the Governments concerned and the intelligentsia conceded the reality of the strong democratic upsurge at the grass-roots level, i.e., local — district and village levels, recognized the leading local players in each of the 28 States and 8 eight Union Territories, and got off with sweeping constitutional changes confering adminstrative autonomy to States.
Gradual Devolution of Power is the Key: Devolution of political power to State and the District level can be implemented gradually in five years. Many of the chronic issues plaguing the country’s development, like Uniform Civil Code, Inter-state squabbles in sharing River waters (Suresh Prabhu’s Garland Canal Project, linking all of India’s major Rivers in a River Grid — North-South-East-West if completed in 1970s (in lieu of Bangladesh War as somebody put it) — with Water Shed Management in chronic drought prone areas like Kalahandi (Orissa) would have ensured Food security for the country). Likewise, Mobile Phone Number Portability, 3-G Licensing, Goods and Services Tax (GST), Gender Mainstreaming bottom-up from Village Panchayats to District and State levels Administrations, — such guargantuan tasks have become problems bleeding the country past 62-yrs post-independence –, they can be resolved if only the GOP has the gumption (and courage) to don the mantle of this major political reform viz., Devolution of Power to States/ District Admin within a Federal Set-up, in other words plan and undertake a major Constitutional Reform of far reaching implications.
The BJP was at it in forging new states like Uttaranchal and Vananchal, Jharkhad et al in line with and encouraging the aspirations of local peoples to see Democracy sinks deeper into India’s body politic. In this context BJP’s vision and outlook, and their moves toward seeing India as Union of Smaller (State Level Administrations) make eminent sense. Decentralization brings about lot of peace and prosperity long denied to people.
In fact such a reform will catapult GOP’s credibility and sincerity as a bonafide National level party betting severally on inclusiveness, social justice and growth. Here is a tide, a point of inflexion, in the socio-politico-economic affairs of India, calling for a concerted bi-partisan big push, steeped in native Indian gravy and flavor, not an IMF-imosed Reform, a grand recipe to wash all off GOP’s erstwhile political sins. Let us celebrate Shakespeare (not MJ) again, “there is a Tide in the Affairs of Men”. And of Nations too. If missed out, Pranab Babu, there is no excuse. And if you announce a budget for this of Nilakeni proportions, and don’t perform, then people perceive that GOP-led UPA for sure does not love this country; and it is convincing proof that GOP is patently anti-progress, prepared to let down a billion people’s aspirations. Don’t be so avaricious to steal all the political lime light for GOP; look at USA, respect dissent and opposition, make a beginning in bipartisan politics., honestly, earnestly and sincerely. Devolution of powers to states/ districts/ Panchayats, Uniform Civil Code, and National River Water Grid are mighty good keys to resolve the chronic problems blighting and stifling the development of India. In fact in the first 100 days of performance of UPA-II people are expecting this kind of deliverance, and don’t let them down.
Large states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh etc., when they have crossed a population threshold of 5 crores (500 million), should have been graded as “outgrown”, and set on a special footing, nurtured and groomed as “grown up“ states, and granted federal financial support and political autonomy within the framework of the Union Budget, to manage development and growth (QOG) on their own! Decentralization i.e., devolution of power to states is the only answer; and perhaps, a Kashmir solution too fortuitously, at the current juncture, fits into such a scheme of things, and perfectly eminently at that!.

Be More Indian in Development

People don’t want to see a Michael Jackson (MJ) continuously for 15 days, nor or they interested in debates on decriminalizing Gay Relationships and Marriages as UPA-II’s performance outcomes in its first 100-days. There are many better things to do for the country. Remember, five decades ago, when GOP was a political debutant, we were recovering from famines and shortages, our country struggled, people built the country brick by brick, by the sweat of their brow, yet should we struggle for another 50-yrs ???, we were a country from Satya Jit Ray’s Pather Panchali to Bimal Roy’s Do Bhigah Jameen to Bimal Roy’s Paraahk, Shanta Ram’s Do Ankhen Barah Haath to Raj Kapoor’s Jis Desh Me Ganga Bahti Hai to Mujhe Jeene Do, Kashi Vishwanath’s Shankarabharanam, to Shivaji Ganeshan’s to Veera Pandya Katta Bomman. If you say it is politically inexpedient to carry out such a disruptive, seminal, political reform, then, sorry to say that you are no better than those Rai Bahadurs subservient to an alien rule.
Whither Quality? A Peep into Past
In 1996 when Queen Elizabeth was on a state visit to India, she commented amidst a public relations disaster at the Chennai airport, that Indian cities today are dirtier than they were when the British left India in 1947. In 1984, after Indira Gandhi assassination, when the name of Rajiv Gandhi’s candidacy was mooted as the Congress President-to– be, paving the way to take over as the Prime Minister in 1985, there was a series of newspaper articles eulogizing his technical/ engineering competencies. A Hindusthan Times article said that, Congress is like a train, and when it derails, Rajiv has the capacity to put it back on track, “Rajiv is capable of cleaning the “Aegean stables of Congress”. Soon after Rajiv took over reins as PM, the article patted Rajiv, who ordered the cleaning of the River Ganges as a major infrastructure project. But today, some 20 years later, our holy river Ganges is still highly polluted, a la Ram Teri Ganga Maili Ho Gayee. The Authorities have not provided enough, nor is there a clear cut Policy ensconced, and made sacrosanct, to ensure regular maintenance and upkeep of the river front all along its stretch.

Create Benchmarks and Learn from Experience

Groundwater levels are fast depleting in our country. But only in summer, some noises are made about rain water conservation and watershed management. whereas neighbouring China, in defiance of a United Nations Convention opposing the Construction of Dams, went ahead with its Seven Gorges Dam, a Mega River Valley Project on the Hyuyongho-Yangtsze River Link (the Rivers of Sorrow). But in India, the Sardar Sarovar dam faced opposition from Narmada Bachao Andolan for 15 long years, although its human rights dimension is challenged in the UN Fora in Geneva. When a river is in flood, the level of turbulence will be high, and any attempt to construct a dam on a turbulent river proves to be futile. Kolkata had taken 18-very very arduous long years to complete just a 25-km stretch of its prized “Underground Metro”. The metro authorities had to wade through a jungle of administrative, urban development and legal roadblocks before they could progress to reach it even to the first 10-km stage, often resulting in cost and budget overruns.
In the thick of this maze, a “cut and sue” approach was adopted as a way out, which was later discovered and vetted by experts as an eminently workable solution. After eighteen long years of travails and tribulations, the Kolkata metro was flagged off. Being a shoe piece, Kolkata metro was spick and span at least initially. Bengalis are proud of it as it was the outcome of the “sweat of their brow”, an outcome of Bengal’s very own painstakingly rote manual labour. Native imprint of whatever nature creates pride in ownership and maintenance, certainly not a pervasive Rajiv-Indira footprint all over whether people want it or not.
India’s huge FY 2009-10 Budget deficit of 6.8% looks askance in this context. It is symptomatic, not just only of non-performance in the past, but, viewed in the absence of funding (raising revenues) (no mention whatsoever in the Budget on how the UPA Govt intends to raise/ put in place funds for Mega projects) could be perceived, by the public eye, as what might have ostensibly been an open license for sleaze, making the JUNURM and NREGA Projects just wishy-washy-on-paper exercises. Probity and transparency should be of utmost concern in such projects. FM Pranab Babu’s evasive approach, coupled with lack of clarity lays bare GOIs chronic penchant for slyly passing off present Gen Public Debt to GenNext.
Not long ago in his FY 2006-07 budget speech, Ex-Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram asserted that “outlays should lead to outcomes”, and mooted a Pieces Budget as a remedial measure. Let the ex-FM Chindambaram speak up and show just five out of the one million ponds he had promised to develop in lieu of shelving off (negating) Suresh Prabhu’s “Garland Canal Project” in his 2004-05 Budget speech. Today in Pune, because of delayed monsoon, people are burdened on the one hand with hefty water cuts, and since water supply depends on power availability, Puneites are caught up in a vicious circle of water-power shortages; there is no redemption either from chronic power cuts anytime soon. How much people have wished to see the announcement of the long overdue “Garland Canal Project” which is an “investment” in contrast to a “dissipative” farmer’s loan waiver of a mind boggling Rs 78K crores in budget year FY2008-09. The cascading effect of such oversight on the part of the powers that be is heavily impacting perhaps on the ballooning 2009-10 budget deficit.

Is anybody assessing the cost and budget over runs of planned and sanctioned projects over the past twenty years begging for funding in the “eminently non-performing Maharashtra”, whose rulers evince considerable alacrity only to get Techno-economic Feasibility Studies done repeatedly, honestly, at ever escalating costs, which money, — itself so huge –, if spent earlier, would have brought some projects into reality ?

The Indian Railways’ Research Designs and Standards Organization (RDSO), Lucknow, a CSIR laboratory, developed the double-decker coaches in 1978, which were tried for over 15 years (1983-98) (Panchavati Express (Mumbai-Nasik) and Simhagadh Express (Mumbai-Pune), but eventually they were phased out by 2000. It thus appears that the RDSO has never undertaken any real R&D. Would privatization of CSIR laboratories change all this? It was only after the travelling public had witnessed as many as seven train accidents in 2002, that the then Railway Minister Nitish Kumar got into action (not Laloo Prasad) to realize and reiterate the importance, if not order for the automatic safety/ collision prevention systems for the Indian railways.

There is a tide in the affairs of Nations, but time and again India misses out on the development bus! It seems to be more often on its own volition!. Is it the Freudian transference phenomenon of “death wish” morphed and internalized as a “virtue” (by propaganda) on a gullible majority polity who take pride in the ancient wisdom of desirelessness?. Or, is it perhaps because an invisible power is behind, rationalizing past non-performance (deficits) as traceable to some onerous burden of commitments of yester years (old unhappy far off things and battles long ago ) in the name of “poverty alleviation”, “token of gratitude to farmers who feed the nation” et al. Yes, very true, but downright rationalizations, they are potentially dissipative, in a 15-Paisa delivery context.

THE SHRILL OF DEVELOPMENT OUTCRY REVERBERATES

We respect Pranab Babu for his long years of experience with the GOP. But well into his mid seventies, we are afraid a pussyfooting Pranabda just could not articulate the television projectiles required to address an avid National and International audience comprising Captains of Industry, CMs/FMs of State Governments and other sub-national dispensations, intellectuals and think tanks, major Western Govts, FIIs and Rating Institutions like (Standard & Poor) –all awaiting India’s FY 2009-10 budget with bated breath! Though rich in content, — the FM gave a lousy impression of an India still lazily trudging along, slumbering and smarting under the commanding heights of public sector, and lay shackled in a command and control economy mold of the seventies -– sorry the FM just can’t articulate and deliver. Certainly, he is not India’s deliverer of 21st century infrastructure, education and healthcare!
It is obvious then that India still wishes to maintain a tortoise like pace even during the “meltdown times”. Why so? ETNOW says, it is not the 6.8% Budget deficit, Stupid, but the more alarming, 400% ballooning Revenue deficit. So blame it on meltdown ! The USA, UK, Japan, Germany et al — all without exception — reeling under meltdown have been happy, that at least India and China have been “decoupled”, and that hereafter they will deliver by following import-led growth policies. But look at Pranab Babu’s Budget-2009-10, indeed it has belied all expectations, and the PM has gone to G8 Meeting in Italy to lecture USA/ UK to perform better and deliver, so that India can continue to “export”. People are asking how long would India, at a retiring age of 62-yrs post Independence, ask USA/ UK to hold its hand, lest it fall, as it is, still at 62-yrs, not ashamed to say that it is still taking “baby steps” towards development. Shame indeed. How long will India need this handholding by the West? Till the poverty of all Indians is wiped out ? Whose poverty and who is responsible for such state of affairs nobody seems to bother.
We will soon be into 2010, just a decade away from our avowed dream of a World Class India by 2020. Only New Delhi gets the lion’s share of development, chosen again and again as the venue for all prestigious international events. Even so, it is pathetically unprepared to stage the Asian Games Oct 2010. In contrast, look at what happened in a small non-descript, big-brother dependent, small island country “Bahrain”, that as early as in 1984! The Arabian Gulf’s smallest and big-brother duo, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia announced a 25-km Bahrain-Saudi Causeway across the Arabian Gulf waters, then “showcased” as a space age project. They completed it in a record 18-months’ time and inaugurated it by Dec 1985. In contrast, our most third rate “Ganesh Khind” Flyover has taken 6-long years; and already digging for eternal repair and re-repair is going on. The contractor has literally left no stone unturned both on the main road and the pavements in this effort. The Bandra-Worli-Sealink (BWSL) –had a gestation period of l8-long years–, no sooner inaugurated, the very next day–, it was the site of a trawler tango (entanglement). Neighbouring Dubai and Singapore have beautiful, aesthetically designed undersea causeways. Malaysia has better, spruced-up infra-structure. There too the accent is on “aesthetics” looks. Neither India’s Mumbai (Shanghai is a far cry), nor the eternally dirty Calcutta, nor the poor Chennai has none of that gleam in 62- long years of independence. Are we half a century behind even the tiny Arabian Gulf countries?. Here is India today where as many as 100,000 people die every year because of road accidents. Does the Urban Development Minister and the Central Road Research Institute realize that there should be, by Statute a Policy, to cap the tolerance limit for Road Accident in India? What are they doing every day. Either the Planners are incapable of putting in place a Short-term Vision, repeat Short-Term not Long-Term Vision and visualize how that fits into an ambitious Long-Term vision of a World Class India. You subservient Politicians and British Time IAS Officers go to hell for cheating India on Infra-structure spends by cutting corners every time for 62 Budget years on Infra-Budgets, sometimes drawing down money without any project visible for people to touch, feel and smell.
Thanks to builder-politician nexus, both planners and builders are patently unconcerned about even the minimalest of minimal quality standards, what to talk about “world class”! Gung ho on qualitylessness in infrastructure spends, and the planning and funding processes, preceding and interceding, with a plethora of unending techno-economic feasibility studies, citizens of this country, especially of Maharashtra are fed up with Congress then and GOP-led UPA pussyfooting every time, every time indeed. The Foreign owned Indian media aids and abets this process. For every Policy Intervention, and Major Infrastructure Project Initiative announcement, the Times India is notorious for its anti-development schema, the TOI immediately within a week after the Project Announcement publishes a contrarian view and pours water on the initial enthusiasm. For sure people of this country have been meted out a step-motherly treatment past 62+ yrs. Look at India’s Railway stations, Bus Terminals, even in metro cities, stink, dirt and squalor, uncouth, unkempt roads without pavements, and where there are some, they are dug up, with litter of vegetable skins and plastic bags swept, dumped and strewn all over, a national disgrace is an understatement. The great Indian metros with populations in excess of 10 million have no good safe “Public Places”, nor “Town Halls”, what to talk of “High Profile Iconic Public Places”, where people can go and relax.
Pune, the Oxford of India, has the most third class eyesore of a Flyover (on its main arterial Gnash Kind Road), Look at its hotch-potch pavements, dug up at least five times since completion of that “Prestigious Road” in Oct 2008 preparatory to Commonwealth Youth Games. They have used Rs 2.5K crores (escalated to Rs 3.8K crores) of JUNURM funds meant for urban renewal for this. Urban renewal does not mean laying a new cement road on a good old road, flouting all conventional wisdom on road building.
Mumbai’s stinking, rickety, ram-shackle Railway Stations with suffocating low-level asbestos roofs without proper air circulators, some roofs converted as homes, for riff-riffs right from the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus to the busy Churchgate. Dadar, Mahim, Bandra, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Malad, Borivali, Virar on Mumbai’s West Suburban Railway, and Chinchpolkili, Koliwada, Wadala, Kurla, Vikhroli, Thane, Dombivili, Kalyan on the East, thereon Karjat, Lonavla and Pune, in all these places (remember people, even common people — Mumbaikers and Puneites — read English newspapers) — where we should have, by now, seen a Maglev Bullet Train zooming past connecting Mumbai-Pune, the list is endless –, all our Railway stations, without any exception, are third rate “eye sores”. The Station Area Development Projects planned as recently as in 2003 obviously have’nt worked, or probably, not seen the light of the day yet.
The Dhabhol Power Plant “reportedly” will reach its rated capacity in 2010; after 20 long years of wait; even that too is uncertain considering that the project has gone through a decade long process of flip flop negotiations, and election time announcements. In the meantime Maharashtra’s hinterland reels under power cuts on an average of 3 hours every summer for the past 20 years. Don’t the policy makers know that one day without power means so much loss of state GDP? The seafronts of Mumbai, Balasore, Chandipur (Berhampur, Orissa), Vizag, Kakinada Machilipatnam, Pondicherry, Tuticorin, Cochi, Mangalore and Goa should have been developed by now. It is the CACOON- like syndrome, being played by the GOP to the hilt time and again, that is causing irreparable damage to India’s bid to arrive in the comity of developed nations.
A far too long, protracted wait even for meeting the basic minimum infrastructure needs of the people of the country is taking so much time, when will India get World Class infrastructure? 2050? Sorry, by that time India might see yet another meltdown. A Russian theorist on business cycle phenomena postulated that world economy will be frequented by what secular (long-term) business cycles known as “Khondra Tieff Cycles” once in a 50-70 yr cycle causing “upheavalistic changes” (as happened in the Great depression of 1930s), which continued over a prolonged, arduous 11-yr period of turmoil culminating in the Second World War (1939-43). India therefore can ill afford to miss out on the growth opportunities presented by the 2008 meltdown. Shall we remember again, the great Shakespearean quote, “there is a tide in the affairs of men (so for nation states too), which, taken at the ebb, lead them on to prosperity, missed out, they will plunge them into untold depths of despair, misery and disappointments. So from now on India shall have zero tolerance to tardy growth, yes, from now on.
India’s FM Pranab Mukherjee’s 2009-10 Budget needs to be “x-rayed” in this context. Instead of seeking a landmark reforms (that are long overdue, like, say, the McInsey Commission recommendations on Land Reforms) budget was a damp squib! Reason? A ballooning 400 % increase in revenue deficit! By remaining silent on how he intends raising resources and not announcing any Capital-Forming Mega Projects, nor any Institutional Reforms, Pranab Babu has chosen to relegate India to the lowliest status (?) as though “India is perpetually a sort of haven for the slumdog poor.” and on top of it praised Madame Gandhi 1966-67”Bank Nationalization” as a visionary reform, sort of mother of all reforms. And it requires only a fortuitous confluence of circumstances only — a worldwide financial meltdown-combined with India’s dire need to throw FRBM norms to winds to make up for past five years of non-performance. What kind of call one can take on that! It is this lack of vision that sparked gloom starkly in the 2009-10 Budget that has disappointed the stock market, resented by all as it has almost taken the entire nation by surprise. Indeed some people condemned it as they had felt they were just taken “for a ride” to a state of utter despair and disappointment. It appears GOP is enveloped by a collective psychosomatic disorder viz., a state of “Paranoia of sorts”, necessitating a shock treatment, the very medicine, viz., belt tightening when it comes to “capital spends”, to lull the nation into a Cacoon like shell, relegating “growth and development” to the back burner. This seems to be the consistent pattern in most GOP-ruled states. Surely GOP-led UPA does not want to develop the country. The longer people remain in poverty and ignorance the better for the GOP as it will be a offer great “Plunder without Danger (PWD)” opportunity.
Persistence with hefty direct tax burden (33% on an average), that at a time when growth and quality of development was most needed (1980-2000) stifled people’s aspirations. Budgets had traditionally certain characteristic underlying drivers to stimulate: growth, investment, contains inflation etc such short-sightedness smacks of total bankruptcy in GOIs ability to feel the needs and moods of the people with a sense of urgency, alacrity and circumspection. Last but not the least, GOP is evincing an utter lack of sense of proportion again in appreciating the IDRC’s MIMAP that has been GOP’s patently compulsive anathema resulting from an unending series “serial” legacies of past non-performance. The GOP has thereby killed people’s enthusiasm and enterprise for development time and again remorselessly in the name of “Garibi Hatao”, and made them risk averse.
Such chronic proclivity to non–performance/ inaction brought forward to current Budget year has badly dented GOI’s transparency in terms of degrees freedom with optimal, prioritized resource allocations in the 2009-10 budget, which certainly is inimical to growth. The year 1977 was a landmark year for the antagonists of GOP. Post emergency (1977) alleged corruption in loan disbursements during (1977-85), Reliances’ Convertible Debentures’ scam, leading later on, at a high macro level, to unearthing the Bofors scam, the Harshad Mehta Scam, Subrahmaniam’s (UTI) scam, Sukh Ram’s Telecom scam, and pre-1977 Mundhra-TTK-LIC scam, V. Krishna Murthy (BHEL) scam, Sanjeeva Reddy (strictures on steel imports1962) — scam after scam ~ the list is a veritable blueprint !; and researcher’s delight to comprehend what is transparency about, and what needs to be done to ensure it for good governance. We shall talk about smart Governance later.
The Nation’s economic landscape during the decade 1976-85 was characterized by excessive credit squeeze that stifled growth. At that time, there was no talk of reform at all, as the World Bank/ IMF were still researching and debating whether or not, in the first instance, to make those policy prescriptions available to developing countries. And that was the time when Maharashtra CM Abdul Rahman Antulay introduced a “No Objection Certificate” in the real estate sector, especially the residential housing sector, when there was no need for such a certificate at all, and he made it compulsory. Thus looking back, one might aver “often this was a process of superficial shortages “created” where there was none, and camouflaging GOI’s “inaction” with continually invented “spectres of doomsday scenarios” for public consumption e.g., they said bank NPAs was a major problem—all articulated so well to administer the “CACOON PILL”, and GOP’s addiction to it so well rationalized in unison by GOP politicians of all stripes, that addiction to the “CACOON PILL” has become more a rule than an exception, and such addiction was internalized, professed and asserted as a virtue. That it is just a “lullaby” attuned to camouflage GOP’s non-performance – their policy flip-flops, lack of long-term vision, the big picture etc. is starkly evident. If GOP is indeed transparent, they should explain not their present performance, but the past non-performamce.
The lesson is India should come out of its cocoon like shell, of an image where “Garibi Hatao” (Indira Gandhi) and “Garib Desh” were virtues (After enjoying patronage for a 37-yr long innings as a GOP Cabinet Minister, Jagjeevan Ram said “India Garib Desh hai “ in his opening speech when he ditched Congress and joined Janata Dal in 1977 General Elections, whence Madame Gandhi had met with a humiliating defeat in UP’s “Rae Bareilly”, the citadel of dynastic power, in the wake of a sudden burst of popularity of a ubiquitous Raj Narayan).
The Short Shrift: A major factor responsible for the dismal absence of “quality of growth” and so “quality of life” in India is poor Governance. Large-scale corruption has allowed domestic elites and people wielding transnational lobbying power, influence Governments to steer policies and bend the laws to their advantage. Which indeed has stifled and blighted the development of our country. The lobbyists have appropriated huge resources wholesale at a a huge cost to the nation under the very nose of a toothless surveillance authority, the one and only Comptroller and Auditor General of India, who never indicted any builder for non-performance? This is utter prostitution of the constitution of Institutions, supposed to be pillars of democracy.
Post 2009 General Elections, the recent din of Rs 750K crores of India’s public money alleged to have been stashed away in Swiss Banks has subsided; but the shrill of its hue and cry still rankles in the minds of common men of India, who, for 62 long years as of now, have been made to wait for better infrastructure, — you the powers that be, get pushed into at Ghatkopar Railway station any of the day, travel in Mumbai’s crowded suburban trains and experience the stink around the railway stations!. Utterly sadly even now Mumbai’s sub-urban railway is still smarting in suffocation without any light at the end of the tunnel. Does it require a Narayan Murthy to tell you that the common men of India need safe comfortable travel from home to office and back? And you want to award all these infra-structure contracts to local builder sharks, who have no concern whatsoever for quality? When will you make Mumbai a Shanghai? OR, Shanghai is not your benchmark?
Three major issues rocked the country in 2002: The “Armsgate” (the Tehelka expose on corruption in defense deals, still under investigation), telecom policy, and introduction of eco-friendly CNG buses in the national capital, New Delhi; and more recently the state government subjects: e.g., The Development Plan of Pune, the Cable Service operators, and the imbroglio on Enron’s Dhabhol Power Project. At a time when Western Maharashtra region which contributes to significant FX earnings to the exchequer, is reeling under power shortages, the government was groping, between 1999-2005, with Enron, USA bogged down by litigation with international lenders’ consortium. The Maharashtra Govt is blissfully unaware of the economic consequences, the extent of daily loss to the State GDP and Exports.
All the above follies and policy flip flops are of Government’s own making as the policy vision is unclear, the issues were fuzzy. In all these, Governments have been increasingly prone to politicizing the issues, flip-flopping invariably in policy formulation and implementation. In the telecom sector and CNG, the GOI policy makers put the free market economics on the back burner, with the result that the average consumer got a short shrift. Some of the politicians seem to be blissfully ignorant of the micro impact of macro economic policies, and in core sectors critical to the long-term well being of its people. policy making principles and long-term interests are cavalierly compromised and abdicated to vested interests. Often the situation is that bad policies are imposed top down. They are now severing the country’s debt management responsibility from the RBI, yet another anti-reform measure, a n avoidable debilitating interference in a well functioning Reserve Bank of India (RBI), like this the list is endless. At times it might be true that both Ministers and their Secretaries in India’s key economic ministries are honest; but some are proud, arrogant and ill equipped to understand the complexity of economics of modern high technology.
Recently the Bangalore Municipal authorities were taken to task by the captains of industry in Bangalore for its poor municipal water and road infrastructure. The captains of industry in Mumbai pressed for the enactment of a “political responsibility law” after the Mithi River Infrastructure Disaster in Mumbai in 2005 monsoon, and have now forgottten about it. At least the Media shrewdly ignored and under reported it. So Finance Minister, Sir, what would you choose? Prudent Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) ? Political Responsibility Law? or blissful ignorance? How about the 400% ballooning Revenue deficit in fiscal 2009-10. These questions beg for an X-Ray look. We agree with you in soft-pedalling FRBM in the interest of growth. But people need to know why the 6.8% budget deficit has occurred in the first instance.
Influence pedalling by industry lures politicians into their orbit, and citizens get a short shrift again. Politicians need to be educated and sensitized to the economic implications of their lackadaisical policy interventions. In contrast to the above, the Chinese experience with transition to market economy and how they achieved it through SEZs with a resounding success, offers quite a few lessons for India.

<The above is one of my pre-poll 2009 blogs prompting BJP into action >

Nyayapati Balramdas, Pune, India 

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Make It Anywhere.”

GOVERNANCE AND QUALITY OF GROWTH
Tourism is an exchange earning industry with a high potential for providing “stimulus” for overall multi-pronged development. As a core industry, tourism evinces propensity to engender pronounced forward linkages; and combined with e-Governance and Quality of Growth delivery mechanisms, Tourism triggers fast breeder multiplier effects setting the development process on an even keel. While Internet can drive the delivery of governance solutions online, offering substantial benefits to communities and the agencies providing them, the key to success for India getting catapulted into the comity of world class nations lies in Tourism-centric Special Economic Zones (T-SEZs) as propounded in this blog. Primed by infrastructure and complementary support services, T-SEZs can help secure “Quality of Growth (QOG) Outcomes”. The effort involved, however, requires in-depth understanding of public policy making, and it has been felt that a Web-based Research Portal, with a suitable business model, might deliver in this context. Such a Portal should identify different sets of contextualities and conditions, brain-storm to diagnose/ prognose issues, and undertake research to establish Public Policy Prescriptions, Interventions together with Delivery, Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanisms as appropriate, and communicating/ pointcasting the same to steer development efforts toward QOG Outcomes.

Qogpaths: Structuring different combinations of development contexts and conditions with appropriate Public Policy Interventions (PPIs) woven into them as “QOG Missions”, and casting them into an assortment of prognostic and diagnostic e-Governance tools represents an ambitious, challenging venture for a small web-based research boutique. In my view, each combination of Contextuality vs QOG Mission represents a Matrixed Micro-Macro Development Mission that can be christened as a “QOGPATH”, a pathway for QOG Outcomes. To be perfected over a period of time, the QOGPATHs can assembled into an assortment of e-Governance Tool Kits, Diagnostic and Prognostic with Add Ons as appropriate, packaged as a slew of marketable products within the ambit of an e-Gov Technology Consultancy canvas. Predicating on the success of such a e-Gov Tech Consultancy are its Costing, Pricing and Revenue Management fields set on an appropriate business model. The effort entails studious web-based collaborative research as a basic on-going “organizational mission”, as also, at times, as the need arises, cast in the mold of MIMAP exercises envisaged by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada. QOGPATHs with their efficacy tested on MIMAP criteria are akin to a doctor’s prescriptions in both prognostic and diagnostic contextualities.
E-Governance
Definition: There are various definitions to the evolving body of knowledge called “e-government”, or more appropriately, e-governance; the one that could be most contemporary seems to be “integration of business processes arising out of vision, leadership and policy with the economy of a nation/ group of nation states by a pervasive, strategic use of technology for better management of citizen, customer and community needs and interactions”.
Electronic governance can fundamentally change the connection between peoples and their governments. It can make Governments to live up to people’s mandate, and greatly improve transactions between them. It can also help people take an active part in the democratic process (i.e., reduce alienation), and confer on them the power to hold Governments more accountable, responsible and transparent.
Different forms or structures of e-governance can be visualized depending on the socio-political order chosen/ or available to citizens of nation states, or, for that matter, even of small village communities. The scope of e-governance and the issues and boundary conditions in what ought to be the best practices that ensure “quality of life” suggest that tourism-centric SEZs can make a difference not just only to generate fast multiplier effects spurring all round economic growth (macro level), but can also ensure quality of life (micro level) for the citizens.
Asset Accumulation, Growth and Welfare: According to Vinod Thomas, former Vice President, World Bank and Head of the World Bank Institute, inequalities in investment in education and healthcare lead to lack of opportunities to improve poor people’s lives. For instance, educational differences in India are one reason why the impact of growth on poverty is five times greater in the Indian state of Kerala than in Bihar, international differences in the spread and distribution of education are far more enormous. To quote World Bank research again, “poverty reduction associated with growth varies widely”; the “quality of the growth process, not just its pace, affects development outcomes”.
The pace of growth as a rule has been more sustainable in developed and industrially advanced countries that pay attention to qualitative aspects of growth. There is a two-way relationship between economic growth and improvements in social welfare. In contrast to physical capital formation advocated traditionally, development researchers these days are underlining that other forms of capital formation viz., human capital and natural capital (investment in eco-friendly environment, including balanced maintenance of bio-diversity, and its sustainability), can spur growth and reduce poverty. Surveys have shown that gross under investments in human, institutional and natural capital will only depress “total factor productivity” so vital for dynamic, quality of growth outcomes. A typical case in point is India’s social sector, where gross under investments inherited as a legacy of an erstwhile “Rao Bahadur, Rai Bahadur” era that showed no concern for the common man during the first five and half decades of the Indian National Congress-–the Grand Old Party (GOP)’s–governance. India’s current literacy rates and its position low down at the bottom of the world’s Healthcare Indices reveal how dismally lackadaisical and negligent the Government of India (GOI)’s policies and efforts have been over the past six decades!
Major Lacuna: Avoidance of special incentives for physical capital (subsidizing agriculture, energy etc), supplemented by pricing of natural and structured resources (levies, special assessments, user charges/ fees etc) can generate significant funds for mitigating social under investment. India has an excellent savings to GDP rate in the range of 25 to 30% past six decades since independence, which indeed is a development planners’ dream ratio. Yet, all round development is very tardy and woefully deficient, as it appears the nation’s savings are not properly channelled to finance development. A small country like Chile (Latin America) was internationally acclaimed in even in mid eighties as a success story for tapping its corpus of Pension Funds for financing infrastructure development. It has taken 25-long years for India to emulate Chile. Mr. P. Chidambaram, ex-Finance Minister, announced in FY 2004-05 Budget that he was planning to do the same in the FY 2005-06 budget. And now in 2009, we are reportedly just taking “baby steps” into Pension Funds as of Dec ‘08.
The Big Picture: Poverty X-Rayed
According to a World Bank publication “The Mystery of Capital” by Hernando de Soto, a South American economist, such savings by the poor, locked as they are, as “dead capital”, cannot be productively harnessed because of “rigidities of legal and property systems” in the developing world. Soto underlines this point to make a strong plea that unlike in the west, — where every building, equipment and piece of land is officially recorded-–, the bulk of the savings of the poor in the less developed and ex-communist world are tied up (lay frozen) in these “defective” assets.
Property rights, lack of legal systems: Soto’s extensive research in Philippines, Egypt, Peru and Haiti revealed that about 85% of “urban parcels” and between 40-55% of “rural records” in the Third World were held outside the legal framework, and in ways that could not be used to create capital, and churn it to facilitate rapid upward mobility of the poor. Accordingly, the value of real estate so held was estimated to be a staggering US$ 9.3 trillion (at 1990 prices), — which was reckoned as twice the USA’s money supply in circulation, twenty times the total foreign direct investment into all the Third World countries in the ten years after 1989, and forty six times as much as all the World Bank loans over a three decade period (1960s to 90s).
In order to avoid taxes, it appears advantageous for the poor to hold on to their illegal assets rather than convert them to legal assets. Thus a vast majority of the Third World poor are caught up in a vicious circle of their own making, precluding themselves out of own volition to assert their legitimate right of opportunity to work. This has something to do with the nexus between the “extra-legal world” and the “establishment”. If a government supports it unapologetically and brazenly openly at that, thinking after all people do not know such Governments can perhaps inexorably be heading to be named as “failed” states.
Whether there will be “political will” to tackle this issue internationally, and in particular, to re-fashion legal systems worldwide to facilitate access for the poor to “legally enforceable property rights” or not is a mute point. If women were empowered to claim their legitimate right for property, half of humanity will have won the battle. Perhaps a praxis for Pole and Polarity exists here. Gender mainstreaming in Governance at the bottom of the pyramid, improving Governance and reducing corruption are money savers. Greater transparency and broader participation in decision making aided by Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) facilitate such smart value-enhanced governance outcomes via electronic legislative and policy making debates/ discourse. Capable of improving the “visibility of participative processes” in sync with “the front-end public services”, such aspects of transparency and inclusiveness that ensure Quality of Governance, and thereby Quality of Growth (QOG) are central to what poor, as also everybody else, would “value the most” in economic progress.
Towards an India with a QOG Focus: A socio-economic fundamental of far reaching importance in a large country with vast geographic spread and diversity of demographics like India is a massive, vibrant social infrastructure for delivery of education. An enlightened civil society, geared to work in tandem with all socio-economic sectors, can undertake and oversee QOG Missions with great facility and alacrity in securing definitive QOG outcomes. Being a part of a “nascent evolving” “educated Civil Society In India” in the “modern sense of the phrase”, may I pose the problem first; “could an “Interactive Research Website on Quality of Growth” with an underlying, universally pervasive “pole and polarity of power” thematic spur the much needed basic focus on civic education in the country to start with, as a “desideratum”, if not as an “outcome”, for successful fulfilment of QOG Missions? India’s leading IT giant Infosys’ Mr. Nandan Nelakeni’s appointment to head the Unique Identification Code (UID) Mission affords a silver lining in this context. To think of a value-rich web-based research portal on QOG Missions without collaborative support is a mute point; and launching the same in participation with others seems to be a logical corollary. Seized as I have been with posers like: “what are the cost and revenue streams of such Research-driven Portal in the public domain? What is the optimal business model that best fits in this context to make it a viable enterprise on e-Gov Technology for QOG et al? It is against this background that I have, in the recent past mulling over a comeback from tweets to Blogging, and have plunged into blogging as a medium for research discourse and have therefore thrown open my ideas on this blog site.
Seeding Initiative: When Dr. Amartya Sen, India’s renowned Economics Nobel Laureate, queried in a press interview on how he had used his prize winnings, said he had invested the sum in an Education Management Consultancy Venture in Bangladesh and India. The idea, according to Dr. Sen, was to create a “seeding organization” that would continually incorporate knowledge and research to “enhance” and “enrich” the stock of knowledge on how to manage education. In other words, a knowledge bank! A down-to-earth pro-poor, practical economist to the core, Dr. Sen did not invest the money in a one-off donation to a school, – a dissipative process for sure –, which would have been forgotten as time passed by. Investing in a basic seeding venture that can help grow and multiply good schools, is something like investing in people’s education, that is what we mean by “human capital formation”; it’s a sort of capacity building or asset creation, which enables them earn future incomes.
The Web-based Research Portal on QOG Missions that I have in mind wins its spurs from the laudable poverty reduction aspirations such as exemplified above by Dr Amartya Sen. I wish to point out and leave a note of caution here to the GOP-led Government of India (GOI). Firstly GOI must note the point made out above, and appreciate that people these days are capable of discerning the “elements of truth” and sit in judgement of GOI’s “sincerity and credibility” in the recent budget announcements by Pranab Babu on mega spends like JUNURM, NREGA etc without Delivery Mechanisms (DMs) and, more importantly, proper Monitoring and Evaluation Systems (MES) in place. Such mega projects should pass muster through the MIMAP tenability and sustainability tests, so that the present Gen Youth are not unduly overburdened, and no part of the current Budget and Cost over runs shall get conveniently passed off to NextGen. So, would you, or, would you not pass off present burden of public debt to the NextGen? Is there a GOI Policy in this context? GOP might like to take a leaf out of the lessons from rhetorical questions posed in like contexts by US President Barrack Obama.
There is a taut “praxis of pole and polarity” surfacing in such policy dilemmas. Unless analyzed and subjected to a MIMAP test, and made transparent, people see them as “conduits” to satisfy political greed to abrogate political power “for generations to come via vote banks”, which, if unchecked, is bound to be, “dissipative” precluding any tangible growth outcomes”. Leakages in such macro missions can be easily gauged especially because India’s size and diversity inevitably drive a hiatus between people and Governments, leaving gaping holes for slippages in the vague recesses of delivery mechanisms wide open down-the-line. Leakages once discovered, the macro missions currently envisaged are so mega that they are vulnerable to people’s ire as they see them as hollow promises, however, well articulated GOP’s motivation or intent (rationalization) may be that they are on the move toward lofty ideals like “transforming Mumbai as Shanghai”, “eliminating slums in the next xx years”, “alleviating poverty”. I have recently travelled by car to Sahar Airport via Mankhurd- Ghatkopar Road, where work on Mumbai Metro currently in progress is woefully lacking in its quality statement. Almost entire section of the skyway metro is dangerously close to improvised, densely populated slumlike housing structures on either side of the track, throwing all concerns of Safety to winds. It is absolutely necessary that the GOI’s Ministries of Urban Development, Railways, Environment, and Civil Society put their heads together and evolve safety and environmental standards, and see to it that the state government concerned (Govt of Maharashtra) follow them strictly.
Quality of Growth Missions and Quality of Life
The QOG Issues and Missions: Listed below are a set off QOG Missions. The endeavours are very relevant to developing countries as well as to pockets of relative under development even in the advanced countries. The current international financial meltdown is gradually heralding a new era whereby a strong India, well-oiled and largely decoupled from dependence on the western “domino effect”, is seen to be emerging winning its spurs in prosperity and growth.
QUALITY OF GROWTH MISSIONS
Major Thematics/ Recommended Micro-Missions
[a]-Awareness Campaign on Quality of Growth
To be launched under a single Thematic: viz., Sensitizing all concerned: government, politician’s policy makers and civil society on the need for quality of growth, its limits and economic consequences, citizen’s rights and responsibilities
[b]-The Governance Mission
Major Thematic: Decentralization and Devolution of Power are important pre-conditions – Governance Technology – Vision, Reforms and Macro-economic Strategy – Policy Process Re-engineering/ The MIMAP Sieves – Good Governance Communications – Security and Foreign Policy – Transparency- Toward a decentralized democratic polity – Gender equity and empowerment – Civil society/ NGOs – Inclusion/ Participation – Executive, Judiciary, their independence – Governance process re-engineering – Change management – Establishing efficient Delivery, Monitoring & Evaluation Mechanisms (DMEs) – Transparency and Accountability Monitors (TAMs) – PSU Disinvestment/Privatization (free markets) – Positioning India to continually stay engaged with changing trends in Globalization – Deregulation & Competition Law – Corporate Governance – Corporate Social Responsibility et al
[c]-The Environment and Sustainability Mission
Major Thematic: Ecosystem zoning, Water Resources incl. Water-shed Management and Bio-diversity – Urban and Rural utilities – Hygiene & Sanitation Services – Environmental Pollution Economic – Legal Admin Systems to enforce Environmental Regulatory Laws – Institutional Infrastructure to Implement the above. India’s “SwachchBharat” campaign recently launched by PM Narendra Modi is unique in this genre;

[d]-Infrastructure (Social Overheads) Development and Management Mission
Major Thematic: Social Overheads/ Welfare/Safety nets – Communities and Social Capital – Human resources Development – Healthcare and Welfare – Judiciary and Legal Systems Fostering a healthy community interaction Cause-related Marketing to build Social Capital Universal Education, Ensure Equitable Opportunities in Healthcare for all – Executive vs Judiciary, Independence and Inter-dependence – Pension Funds, Safety nets – and their Outreach, especially to poor, in a cost effective manner – Old age care, Pensions and Safety nets – Need for Certified Actuaries
[e]-Infrastructure for Greater, Safer, Faster Mobility thereby “Greater Productivity” Mission
Major Thematic: Enabling/ capacity building for gainful economic activity via world class infrastructure (no hotch potch, rag-tag work this time, with cost and budget overruns, deviances/ defectives in quality monitored and punitively punished by Auditor & Accountant General of India): Power-Telecoms–Railways- Roadways-Airports-Sea Ports-Inland/Coastal Waterways-all these developments will be integrated with a “Trade and Tourism-centric Approach” with a view to providing marketing opportunities, such as outlets/ opportunities for products/ services from the poorer urban/ rural/ tribal folks – Push the case for mega projects – High Profile Public Places- Mega Theme Parks in large Metros and in the vicinity of National Heritage and Tourist Resorts to afford marketing outlets for village crafts/ creative art exhibitions – Provide opportunities to showcase the wares offered by the poor – Use event marketing and multi-media to project them to wider audiences.

Nyayapati Balramdas, Pune, India

TOURISM, e-GOVERNANCE AND QUALITY OF GROWTH

Tourism is an exchange earning industry with a high potential for providing “stimulus” for overall multi-pronged development. As a core industry, tourism evinces propensity to engender pronounced forward linkages; and combined with e-Governance and Quality of Growth delivery mechanisms, Tourism triggers fast breeder multiplier effects setting the development process on an even keel. While Internet can drive the delivery of governance solutions online, offering substantial benefits to communities and the agencies providing them, the key to success for India getting catapulted into the comity of world class nations lies in Tourism-centric Special Economic Zones (T-SEZs) as underlined in this blog. Primed by infrastructure and complementary support services, T-SEZs can help secure “Quality of Growth (QOG) Outcomes”. The effort involved, however, requires in-depth understanding of public policy making, and a Web-based Research Portal with a suitable business model might deliver in the context. Such a Portal, it is envisaged, should identify different sets of contextualities and conditions, brain-storm to diagnose/ prognose issues at hand, undertake research to establish public policy prescriptions and delivery mechanisms, and communicate the same to steer development efforts toward Quality of Growth Outcomes.

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