A Superpower, or Only by Half: India in a Century of Uncertainty?
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore : The lecture would focus on the seeming contradictions of Indian trajectories in demography, education, and development; and at the same time prophesize on some simulated mileposts of success or failure in future.
India is projected to be an emerging superpower of the twenty-first century. For this, India's democracy and demographic dividend are considered its strengths that are expected to result in unprecedented economic growth and development. Is this really going to be so? Given the multiple paradoxes of Indian socio-economic polity, will the trajectory deliver results that would become milestones of pride, or only expose the prejudices that have clouded the uncertainties? The lecture would focus on the seeming contradictions of Indian trajectories in demography, education, and development; and at the same time prophesize on some simulated mileposts of success or failure in future.
Amongst success stories could be listed the IT leadership, the demographic dividend of the emerging age-structure of the population, the successive change of government through public verdicts in elections, the intervention of the judiciary, and so on. On the other hand, there are tragic indexes of failure as well – less than universal literacy, inequality of access to education and health, low productivity of the work force, unequal status and representation of women in public life, poor status of children, low socio-economic status of the outcastes, rampant corruption in public life including in the judiciary, and so on. Will India bridge these gaps in the 21st century? If so, what would be the specific time-horizon; if not, can it at all be called a superpower in the making?
The lecture would highlight the Indian paradoxes, and raise more questions than it would aim to answer.
About the Speaker
Binod Khadria is a professor of economics at the Centre for Educational Studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His broad fields of interest pertain to education, human resources, and development. He is the author of The Migration of Knowledge Workers (1999). This work has been received as one of the pioneering works on India's brain drain, bringing in a generic change in the way people, intellectuals and policy makers had long looked at the problem. He is currently on a two-year sabbatical at the Asia Research Institute and the Department of Economics of the National University of Singapore until May this year. He has been a visiting faculty at various institutions including the IDS, Sussex; IED, Boston; and the Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan.
Professor Khadria’s research papers on migration have been published by the OECD, ILO, IRD (France), IDE-JETRO (Japan), the Global Commission on International Migration (GCIM), Harvard International Review, the Institute of Public Policy Research (UK), ISAS (Singapore), and the Asia Research Institute (Singapore). He has also been an invited panelist in BBC’s world-debates on migration. More recently, he has been nominated to the Steering Committee of the International Geographical Union's (IGU) Commission for Population and Vulnerability, and the Editorial Board of the Asian and Pacific Migration Journal (APMJ).
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