I have not written a book review in ages. But there was something about this book that made me make that exception. So let me start by stating why I picked up this book to read.
These are interesting times in India. At the time of writing this article, the present Indian government, the United Progressive Alliance or the UPA, is in the process of blocking/censoring content on the internet in India. This at a time when there are enough signs to point out that the other sources of news in the country are either directly or indirectly under the control of the government. India is grappling with problems of corruption and poverty and scams involving astronomical sums of money are being brought to light on a daily basis. The government has shown unbelievable incompetence and ineptitude in managing the problems with the country’s economy even though the country is being headed by someone who is known to be one of top economists India has ever produced.
The country is in such a rut at the moment that transforming it seems to be a complex problem with no apparent solution in sight. Hence, I was curious to see what Dey had to propose in this regard.
The book is an easy read. Being an economist himself, Dey has done well to resist the temptation of making his point by overloading the reader with too many numbers. His arguments are simple to understand and digest for a layman. The book starts in a time setting of 2040 (I think) when India has achieved the status of a developed nation. This is good in because it gives the reader the understanding that, probably, Dey is indicating that through his plans, he hopes to achieve this “transformation” in roughly 30 years.
In my opinion, some of the important take-aways from this book are: 1) Tackling the problem of corruption does not need a complex solution like a Lokpal bill. Simple policy reforms to ensure “liberalization” of economy and cure the root cause of corruption, 2) Engaging the urban middle-class to drive the process of transformation or what he calls “United Voters of India”, by electing better leaders (policy makers).
Although, the biggest hurdle is in accepting that we as Indians have a problem to solve in our country. To me atleast, it seems like most of my countrymen are in a state of denial about the situation in India. Dey sort of hints at this problem when he mentions about how the present government is nothing but a British Raj 2.0 which has forced us (and is trying to force us) to believe that we are free and is successfully managing to put us in an invisible cage of sorts.
Overall a nice read, and some very interesting ideas. Would be lovely if this book gets more eyes and Dey’s ideas are discussed more in the public sphere. Hope this review helps in achieving this.