Hindustan Times, Jaipur, July 13, 2008

IT IS the democratic system of governance that has ensured high rate of economic growth of this country, said Prof Arvind Panagariya of the Columbia University. Delivering a special lecture at the University of Rajasthan on Saturday, he argued for continuance of economic reforms and stated that these would succeed in the long run.

Expert on the Indian economy and the Jagdish Bhagwati Chair in the US varsity Prof Pangariya spoke on “Indian Growth Miracle: What are the Lessons?” He argued in favour of the open market and free trade, but warned the Indian policy makers about being guided by agencies like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

“Democracy is in no way a hurdle in economic progress. The miracle of the double digit growth rate can happen only under a democratic setup,” he stated. Ongoing process of economic reforms adopted by India was securing gradual gains and it would succeed in long run, the expert suggested.

Prof Panagariya argued for more freedom to the entrepreneurs. In his remarks as the Chair of the session Pradeep S Mehta, the secretary general of CUTS International, also spoke in favour of privatisation of services. He blamed Indian society for adopting corruption as a culture and termed it as a barrier in the path of progress.

“Unless the society self-regulates itself, the government cannot do much in controlling corruption,” Mehta said. He praised Right to Information as a successful instrument to curb corruption.

Both the speakers are alumna of the host university. Prof Panagariya had also served as a teacher in the Department of Economics of the varsity, which organized this special lecture. Vice Chancellor Dr NK Jain too was present on this occasion as the chief guest . Several students, researchers and teachers from different departments of the varsity attended the lecture.