I entirely agree that we should not be overly obsessed with high GDP growth but neither should we ignore its criticality particularly as an instrument to create more jobs and to generate more revenues for the government to invest in both infrastructure and social welfare programmes. Let us not forget that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act which is today the world’s largest social safety net programme would simply not have been possible without the proceeds that the growth process generates. Let us also not run away from the stark reality that over the next decade India’s labour force will increase by anywhere between 80 million and 110 million—an astoundingly staggering number

There is yet another reason why we need to sustain high GDP growth rates. And that is because of the need to avoid penalties imposed by financial markets on economies. With high GDP growth rates, our fiscal deficit, current account deficit and public debt numbers look manageable and we avoid either substantial downgrading of credit ratings or substantial capital outflows. Crucial macroeconomic indicators that are tracked by markets worldwide look good in India when judged against the backdrop of high GDP growth rates—otherwise, we could be in serious trouble.


from this convocation address.


Unfortunately he didn’t read or mis-read ‘Limits to Growth’:


We do not have to subscribe to the apocalyptic vision of the Club of Rome because over the past three decades technology has undermined many of the its predictions—the most famous of which being we will run out of oil by the turn of the 20th century. Incidentally, technology has also made nonsense of the dire predictions made in the 1960s about India becoming a food basket case.

I would like to return to the beginning once again, to the Limits to Growth. One of the drawbacks of this influential text was that it completely ignored technological fixes and interventions and their impact. In pushing the limits to growth, we need to actively pursue technology and innovations, both of technology and practices. In pushing forth a sustainable growth path, we need to focus far more on innovation than we do today.


and the rest shows he was trapped by “must growth” and narrow “India-focus” mindset. Anyway it let us know what a typical government thinks.

You are all social scientists and bring a valued perspective to the problematique of economic growth and ecology. What I would like to stress to all of you is that your perspective should be free from prejudices, if not passions. I find, unfortunately, a bias against economic growth and technology in the social science fraternity at large. I would expect all of you to be tough and searching critics sensitive to larger social concerns but please do not become vociferous techno-phobes or growth-sceptics. Thanks to that outstanding symbol of technology and growth—the Internet—India is seeing the emergence of a well-networked community of neo-Luddites. But remember that even the much-reviled Luddites were very selective in their approach in the 18th and 19th centuries when the Industrial Revolution was at its peak.

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