Though Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has brought an economic optimism to India, it will take approximately two years to achieve 6% growth rate for the country and a high growth rate is necessary to run the Right to Food campaign and the Right to Education Act, said Professor Ashutosh Varshney, international political scientist and professor of International Studies and the Social Sciences at Brown University, US.
Professor Varshney was delivering the first Panjab University (PU) colloquium lecture of the session 2014-15 at the UICET, PU campus, on Friday. PU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Arun Kumar Grover presided over the colloquium while large number of teachers, researchers and students attended the public lecture.
Professor Varshney discussed in large about democratic politics. He said that India is the longest surviving low-income democracy in history and Nehru played a great role in strengthening of democracy. Further, he said that contemporary democratic theory states that democracies can be established at low levels of income, but they survive only at high levels of income. On July 26, Varshney will be delivering a lecture on the ‘Impact of caste and religion on Indian politics’.
Talking about democracy, Varshney said that income is the best predictor of democracy. “It has correctly predicted the type of regime in 77.5% of the cases; only in 22.5%, it did not. India is in the latter 22.5% set, where it has defied. Indeed, if we consider only decolonised countries, democracies that emerged from decolonisation survived only in India, Mauritius, Belize, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu,” he added.
He deliberated on why democracy in India, still a lower middle income country, lasted for so long and why India did not become a Pakistan or an Indonesia where democracy collapsed.
Talking about the present political scenario of the country under the reign of Narendra Modi, Varshney said that he needs to work on increasing the growth rate, which could further create employment across the country.