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Monday, March 16, 2009

Death of the Indian Village or another failed World Bank pronouncement?

Recent World Bank pronouncement that development is best if it were to  increasing Urbanization and Migration to urban areas, has come as no surprise. If the Bank will have its way, India should stop worrying about its villages and start concentrating on the urban areas. So, schemes such as NREGA that seem to promise minimum wages against jobs and asset creation in villages is waste of resources. Though I don't exactly accept the current formulation of NREGA (you can check out my take about it here), I think the Bank has just written its will. 

Government of India has been a sucker for WB projects and pronouncements, so what does this pronouncement (and its timing, just when the political parties are releasing their poll manifesto) imply to our politicians and bureaucrats? Would they re-align their priorities and policies with the WB recommendation? Will they know-tow the WB agenda? Would they also say, that the Indian village should die now? 

Indian village as  a backward and unnecessary appendage to the urban based and globally connected developed India is not a new discovery, Marx said it ages back, others influenced by his thought did think so both in India and from the West. Colonizers wrote theories on it, when free, we tried to base many policies on it. The debate is whether WB dictated mega-cities are the future of India or does the idea of Indian village still valid? We will see some interesting response to the WB I do hope, most importantly from the political parties. 

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