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New India Is A Story Of Private Success And Public Failure: Gurcharan Das

Noted author, commentator and thought leader, Gurcharan Das shares his insights on the state of Indian economy and the dire need to improve private and public governance systems

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The Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens talks about Paris and London. But when Gurcharan Das, 73, eminent author and commentator talks about the tale of two cities, he cites Faridabad and Gurgaon. 

Sharing through his own experience, he said, “In 1980s, any ambitious soul wanted to go to Faridabad for their job. With active municipalities, vibrant industrial state, rich agriculture, rail connection to Delhi and a state government determined to show India’s future, it was the upcoming land to be in. Totally contrary to that was Gurgaon, a sad city with wilderness where even the goats ran away.” 

So, what happened?

“Today, Gurgaon is a millennial city and an engine of India’s growth. The city took advantage of less governance, less red tape, regulation and more importantly, less people to tell you what not to do. Faridabad, on the other hand is still fighting corruption,” he said.

Former CEO of Procter & Gamble turned full time writer and has subsequently published a number of books on the Indian economy and the concept of Dharma in Indian state. Elaborating about the journey of India since the past 70 years, he said, “New India is in a sense Gurgaon at large. It’s a story of private success and public failure.”

Talking about the need for governance regulations more than economic reforms, he said, “The people of Gurgaon look around and question the need for government. They say India grows at night when government sleeps. Gurgaon would function better with proper drainage system, libraries, transport system, with better governance.”

Sharing his insight towards the future of India, he said, “Both corrupt Faridabad and entrepreneurial Gurgaon are not the model for India’s future. It should not take us 10 years to build a road that takes 3 years and it should not take 15 years to get justice when it can take 6 months. A bureaucrat who works for 15 hours a day and another one working for 12 hours a day should not be promoted the same day.”

“Three pillars for effective liberal state: executive with capacity, executive doing proper work within the law and executive accountable to people,” he added.

Comparing India and China, the two most powerful economies in Asia, he said that China is known for its amazing bureaucratic elite while India is known by people led success stories. If India fixes its governance and China its politics, both economies would do better. 

Gurcharan Das was speaking at THINKERS Sandbox, an event held by THINKERS & Penguin Random House with YES BANK and the YES Global Institute as the Presenting Alliance Partner

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