South India leads North India in development: The focus of Public Affairs Centre's latest release

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Bengaluru, June 3: Public Affairs Centre (PAC), a civil society-led think tank which focuses on good governance in India, organised an event at the Royal Orchid Hotel here on Tuesday evening to release the book The Paradox of India's North-South Divide: Lessons from the States and Regions. [Justice Venkatachaliah's exclusive interview]

The book has been authored by Samuel Paul, PAC's Founder Chairman, and Kala Seetharam Sridhar, head of Centre for Reserach in Urban Affairs, Institute of Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru.


About the book: It speaks about the widening gap between the southern and northern states of India in recent years in terms of per capital income and poverty reduction. The book analyses the factors that led to this divide. Study has shown that North India was leading South India at the outset, the South surged forward after India took the liberalisation route. Fact-findings have been made in the southern state of Tamil Nadu and northern state of Uttar Pradesh to support the argument in the book.


The book-launching session saw the presence of dignitaries like former Chief Justice of India MN Venkatachaliah, who is the chairperson of the PAC's Board and presided over the session; Dr K Kasturirangan, Ex-chairman of ISRO, former member of the Planning Commission and Member of Parliament; Professor SL Rao, Distinguished Fellow, Emeritus, The Energy and Resources Institute, (TERI), an economist by training and a renowned columnist; the two authors and R Suresh, director of PAC.

The welcome speech was given by R Suresh and the book was released by K Kasturirangan.

In his speech, Justice Venkatachaliah said the transition from a feudal to an industrial society is a painful and violent one and technological progress can cause harm if an enlightened leadership doesn't emerge to understand the implications for the society.

Kasturirangan said the book helps understand the current situation and stressed inequalities in terms of human capital and institutions. He said how Kerala's thurst on girl child and Tamil Nadu's efforts on backward sections' improvement have helped the South make big strides ahead.

Presenting his insight on the book's purpose, Prof Rao said a number of studies have been undertaken on the matter but there is a hesitation to implement the findings. He said the divide between North and South India is dangerous and it could lead to worse consequences if not addressed soon. He also mentioned about the BIMARU (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) states, a term coined by late demographer and economic analyst Ashis Bose in the 1980s, while speaking about North India's lagging behind.

Kala Seetharam Sridhar gave the vote of thanks after a brief interaction between the authors and the audience on issues related to North-South divide in the Indian context.

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