August 12, 2006EconomyPublic Policy

Is he the free-market Mahatma that India needs?

Narayana Murthy creates the right political space

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

So far, India’s political class has failed to deliver the political innovation necessary to rekindle the economic reform programme. Now, Infosys’ N R Narayana Murthy has hit the right note, for he has connected the (politically saleable) belief that the reforms have not touched the poor with a much needed agenda for change.

But the real progress in India has not taken place simply because the reforms have not touched the poor people,” he said at a book release function in Bangalore.

Unless you address the basic needs of the poorest of the poor, which are decent primary and secondary education, decent health care and decent nutrition…all of this (reforms) makes no sense”.

Murthy, one of the most admired business leaders of the country, sought to find fault with authorities for not delicensing primary and secondary education in the country.

One of the strangest things that I have not understood (and) which I have asked many ministers in the Centre including the Prime Minister - I have received no answer - why we delicensed our industrial sector in 1991. But even today our primary and secondary education is not delicensed”.

If you want to start an English medium school, you have to get permission from the state government. If you want to start a university, you have to get permission from the central government. It makes no sense,” he lamented.

Unless, we completely delicense the primary and secondary education, unless we create an environment where more and more investment get into primary health care, I don’t think we can truly claim to have embraced reforms”. [Rediff]

Related Links: Posts on the privatisation of education and healthcare reform here on The Acorn

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