Former World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu said that India should strive to become a global hub for higher education and attract students from developed countries to gain “economically” and start “get a soft power engagement with the world”.
“I feel India can be a hub for higher education in the world. People will come not just from developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America, but from United States for education. The American higher education market is extremely expensive…. India with its advantage of the English language, very good engineering and finance education can do this and it is possible. This will give India money, this is going to give a soft power engagement with the world. Historically, the countries that have done economically very well , typically have done this,” said Basu who was speaking at the twenty third Lalit Doshi Memorial Lecture in Mumbai on Friday.
Basu a Professor of Economics and C Marks Professor at Cornell University said apart from education, the country should not lose out in the health sector where it is doing well and has the potential to do much better.
“Health and healthcare is extremely expensive in the world… People (in India) have enterprise, provide the business ethos… And then this sector will sprout up on its own , you won’t need the government to push for this sector to come up,” said Basu. On the Indian economy, Basu said the country’s economic prospects are bright when compared to the current global situation.
“India has enacted a couple of laws, which I think are extremely beneficial. GST has teething trouble but it’s actually the absolutely right thing to do. The bankruptcy law is an excellent law that has been enacted,” said Basu. Basu said that while the GST is “not perfectly designed” and may have ” glitches” initially but these will gradually go away.
“To my mind the biggest benefit is GST allows goods to flow freely from one state to another. Not just freely, the amount of wastage bureaucratic interference that would take place before GST used to be huge. World Bank collected data that when a truck in India moves from one city to another going through a couple of states on average the truck is stationary 60 per cent of the time,” said Basu.
He also said that the new bankruptcy law if implemented well will help firms not just to close down but also help them start up quickly. “This bankruptcy law can change India’s position in the doing business ranking, which the World Bank produces,” said Basu.