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Modern India: Big Growth, Big Problems

India, once a roaring Asian tiger, hits a wall of corruption and poverty.  What’s the way forward now for India and other emerging economies?

Indians protest asking the government to ban the import of gold, in Bangalore, India, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 as India's new central bank chief Raghuran Rajan announced measures to boost confidence as the troubled Indian economy slows and the currency tumbles. (AP)

Indians protest asking the government to ban the import of gold, in Bangalore, India, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 as India’s new central bank chief Raghuran Rajan announced measures to boost confidence as the troubled Indian economy slows and the currency tumbles. (AP)

For years, the buzzy news out of India was all about growth and wealth and economic sizzle.  India as big Asian tiger, shining star, out-sourcing empire, blazing up-and-comer.  It was never so simple of course.  Remember Slumdog Millionaire?  But it was sizzling.  And now it’s not.  India has tumbled into a growth slump, and a bigger slump of division and self-examination.  On corruption, poverty, inequality, its treatment of women.  On how many of its billion-plus are really succeeding.  Up next On Point:  big questions on “the rise of the rest” in India.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Adam Roberts, South Asia Bureau Chief for The Economist and a contributor to the magazine’s Banyan column. (@ARobertsjourno)

Anand Giridharadas, columnist for The New York Times and author of “India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking.” (@AnandWrites)

Arvind Subramanian, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and at the Center for Global Development and author of “Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China’s Economic Dominance.” Listed as one of Foreign Policy’s ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers‘ in 2011. (@arvindsubraman)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Why India’s Economy is Stumbling — “To some extent, India has been just another victim of the ebb and flow of global finance, which it embraced too enthusiastically. The threat (or promise) of tighter monetary policies at the Federal Reserve and a resurgent American economy threaten to suck capital, and economic dynamism, out of many emerging-market economies. But India’s problems have deep and stubborn origins of the country’s own making”

The Economist: How India Got Its Funk — “Not so long ago India was celebrated as an economic miracle. In 2008 Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, said growth of 8-9% was India’s new cruising speed. He even predicted the end of the “chronic poverty, ignorance and disease, which has been the fate of millions of our countrymen for centuries”. Today he admits the outlook is difficult. The rupee has tumbled by 13% in three months. The stockmarket is down by a quarter in dollar terms. Borrowing rates are at levels last seen after Lehman Brothers’ demise. Bank shares have sunk.”

Next City: Waving or Drowning? The Battle for Chennai’s Vanishing Waterways –“In the name of “eco-restoration,” slum residents are being evicted from the banks of the Cooum and from public lands owned by the city’s water utility, and resettled far from job opportunities. In reality, they are simply making way for a global gentrifier’s work-playground – the very sort of real estate development that experts agree is the gravest culprit behind the city’s water scarcity. Even as more Chennai residents turn to private and off-the-books vendors for drinking water, Chennai is undertaking massive, costly infrastructure projects to bring in water – one more element of its bid to be a highly competitive world-class city.”

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