India: is the growth sustainable?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

Do you think India is really economically growing strong… Or are we in a temporary money illusion?

Let me start with a story that has nothing to do with India. Zhou Enlai was once asked by a French journalist what he thought about the French revolution of 1793. Zhou Enlai said, “it is too soon to tell”.

The same can be said about India. There is no denying that the country is making enormous progress. There is also no denying that the government policies are not particularly supportive of that progress. The problem, as I see it (and being half-world away, I am not necessarily seeing it correctly), is that there is still a very large percentage of Indian population that makes a living by subsistence farming. So whatever exciting stuff happens in Bangalore or Chennai, it is of little benefit to the villagers, who are still in the majority in India. So, in my opinion, one area India needs to catch up on is bringing about major and positive change to the countryside. Having said that, I must admit that I have no idea how this is to be done; I simply do not know enough about the Indian countryside…

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