India should take steps to become powerhouse: panelists

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New York, Sep 26 (UNI) India is on the verge of becoming a major economic powerhouse, but New Delhi needs to buckle up in order to reach that coveted position.

This was the general opinion expressed by the speakers of a panel discussion held at the Yale Club here yesterday as part of the week-long 'India At Sixty' celebrations here. The discussion was titled 'India 2050: A Grand Strategy for India Rising' and co-sponsored by the Confederation of Indian Industry and Indian government through the participation of various ministries.

The participants identified various areas such as Economy, environment, infrastructure and education but said a follow-up needed to put the country on the right track.

Chief economist and strategist at the Future Group, based in India, Roopa Purushothaman, who was one of the panelists, said the world has to take note of India because of its booming economy and its population. ''This is not about India in isolation, but about India becoming a global story.'' According to historian Ramachandra Guha, India needed to focus on higher education. This was evident that hordes of Indian students were migrating to America and other Western nations for master's and other degree programmes.

Moderating the discussion Yale vice president Richard Levin said the country was hard pressed for resources as it was concentrating too much on developing national universities in more than 30 states and territories.

Former Mexican president and currently Director Yale Center for the Study of Globalization Ernesto Zedillo, said more than foreign investment India should loosen its regulations concerning Indian companies and entrepreneurs.

He said, ''It is not an issue of whether foreign investment is god or bad. It is an issue of whether the entrepreneur is really being allowed to flourish to the full extent. My answer is definitely not.'' Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, contrasted between China and India.

He said traffic moved at 80 miles an hour on efficiently maintained and well-lit roads in China. But in India there were roads filled with potholes and cracked sidewalks. He, however, expressed optimism that there would be six-lane superhighways in both nations.

Guha was more optimistic in saying that over the last 10 years, the success story is economics. ''The bigger success story over the long haul is democracy,'' he noted.


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