India! I dare you to be rich

Category Archive: Books

Optimised copy of scanned original hand-painted constitution of India

As you enter the National Archives in Delhi, you are presented with the original constitution of India – a glorious document that must be seen in the original. Excellent artistic work. [The original constitution of India was handwritten by Prem Behari Narain Raizada] [Note: It is said that the original of the book is kept in a special helium-filled case in the Library of the Parliament of India – please check. I'm no longer sure, since I recall seeing something in the National Archives, but it could have been a copy]

A scanned copy is available here (230 MB) (from the World Digital Library).


I've optimised this copy and shrunk to 60MB. You can download it here.


Download PDF here.

Word version here.

FIRST FOUR PAGE (click for larger image)


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Vinayak Damodar Savarkar – some of his writings (links/PDF/Word/full text)

One person whose Complete Works will be most cringeworthy is VD Savarkar. Even RSS won't dare to publish his compiled works – so poisonous are these.

But, of course, he was a great man.

He brought out the worst in Indians. He distorted Indian history.

But he was a great man.

Given the scattered nature of Savarkar's works on the internet, I'm building this repository. Some of his works are not yet available anywhere on the internet. 

A web compilation

A fairly comprehensive list of his books is available for download here.

Hindutva (1923)

Scan of one of the original editions (PDF etc). [ ]

Another copy PDF here

My Word version (OCRd) here

Hindu Rashtra Darshan

Download PDF 

Download Word (OCRd)

Download RTF (OCRd)

Six Golden Epochs of Indian History.

Six Golden Epochs of Indian History (volume 1) PDF.

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Golwalkar’s works (We: or our Nationhood Defined, and Bunch of Thoughts): PDF and Word – full text

This is placeholder for my ready access to Golwalkar's works. 

We: Our Nationhood Defined

"the foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizen's rights."

PDF: Copy on my server.  | Another copy.

Word version: My OCRd version  | ANOTHER OCRd version (direct full text) | An annotation by someone (OCRd version

Print edition: Golwalkar's We Or Our Nationhood Defined: A Critique With The Full Text Of The Book 

Bunch of Thoughts

Hindu-the Sacrificial Goat
The exhortation of the leaders did not stop at that. The Hindu was asked to ignore, even to submit meekly, to the vandalism and atrocities of the Muslims. In effect, he was told: "Forget all that the Muslims have done in the past and all that they are now doing to you. If your worshipping in the temple, or your taking out gods in procession in the streets irritates the Muslims, then don't do it. If they carry away your wives and daughters, let them. Do not obstruct them. That would be violence!" 

PDF: From RSS website

Word version: My OCRd version.

Other writings

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Why Godbole’s otherwise sensible book adds no value to India: “Good Governance: Never On India’s Radar”

I'm sorry to have this title for my review of Godbole's book.

The book starts off well enough. A liberal at heart (in the classical liberal sense), Mr. Madhav Godbole (of the 1959 batch – around 23 years senior to me – he must be around 77-78 years old now) says all the right things in the beginning.

I note that Mr. Godbole is a diligent man. He knows the Constitution and the laws very well. Prim and accurate citations of names and laws pepper the book. Very useful as a reference.

I particularly like his opposition to the destruction of freedom of speech and his insistence on the right to property. He says the RIGHT THING about each of these and many other related issues. 

So what's the problem?

Well, he has no vision, no idea how to fix the many problems he has identified.

To test his solutions, I looked at the Administrative Reforms section. I was sorely disappointed. His knowledge of the principles of governance/ incentives is extremely ordinary. While talking about new public management he does not display the clarity of thought to identify the precise solutions we need in India.

His reference to the Second Administrative Reforms Commission's 15 reports (at page 250) is laudatory. I disagree! The reports are A TOTAL WASTE. I'll comment separately on these reports one day. I've never seen more garbage in my life – and so voluminous. There is absolutely no mention of the BASICS in these 15 reports. All superficial and flimsy. But as I said I'll discuss this another day.

I'm afraid I could not have the patience to read every word of his otherwise well-researched book.

The book is a litany of complaints about India and its mis-governance. I have no doubt that each of the points Mr. Godbole makes is valid – as far as the depiction of the current system is concerned.

But why take so much time to say that our system is rotten? Everyone knows it. 

We should be focusing on SOLUTIONS. And ACTING on them.

That's where Mr. Godbole and I part company. I am a solutions man. I ACT TO FIX PROBLEMS, not to describe them, repetitively, in over 250 pages.

I'd still believe the book is worth having on one's library. It is a good description of our many failings in India. A good reference document. Use it sparingly, use it to agitate your mind about the MANY failures of India.

I give this book 3 out of 10. Maybe 3.5. Not a single new value-add I could find to include in the SKC agenda. But Mr. Godbole is a liberal. He should appreciate the agenda, if he gets around to reading it.

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A review of PV Indiresan’s book, Vision 2020. Definitely worth reading.

I’ve finished reading Prof. PV Indiresan’s 2003 book, Vision 2020 and commend it to everyone. I’d rate it 7 out of 10, i.e. definitely worth reading.  (Btw, you can read most of the book on google books.)

My earlier impression of PV Indiresan’s work has changed – for the better.

Overall I find that he has a broadly anti-socialist, anti-Keynesian perspective. That did not make him, however, into a classical liberal, for virtually at no place in his book does he base his ideas on liberty, and often settles into planning/ technocratic approaches. A lack of ideological foundation means that his ideas – often creative – are not always consistent, being also not tested on any fundamental policy framework. He was definitely one of the better policy thinkers India has produced, but I’d argue that his work left much to be desired. Had he incorporated elements of Chanakya’s Arthashatra and FA Hayek, he would have produced the best possible ideas.

This does not mean I have changed my mind about his proposal New Paradigm of Rural Development – to micro-manage rural development (refer to my blog post of 19 March 2014). While this paradigm doesn’t involve too much dabbling by the government, it cannot work without government subsidies. Having said that, there is much good in this proposal that needs to be used by urban/rural planners.

I’d argue that Vision 2020 displays a superior understanding of urbanisation than his (other) proposal on rural development. In the book, he notes that agriculture can’t drive India’s future prosperity, that cities need planning, and that capital-intensive heavy duty infrastructure is critical to kick-start growth. On these issues he makes a lot of sense.

As I showed earlier, he had arrived at state funding of elections as a way to reduce political corruption. And he was ambassador of CCS’s school choice program (although in Vision 2020 he has written almost nothing about the use of markets for procurement of government  services).

Overall, PV Indiresan was 80 per cent of the way towards classical liberalism. I wish he had spent time to form a better understanding of the price system, spontaneous order, self-regulation and competition. But he was an engineer (a brilliant one at that), and expecting engineers to understand economics is a bit of a stretch – the mindset needed for these two disciplines is entirely different. That said, he would definitely have supported the SKC reform agenda and distanced himself from most policies of AAP/Congress/BJP.

Most of his good ideas already form part of the SKC agenda. I’ll polish up a few areas (e.g. infrastructure) to reflect his thoughts.

With this, I’ve now published six blog posts on PV Indiresan, with the previous five of them being:

Below is my summary of his thoughts in Vision 2020. Do refer to the original work to understand better. My copy is fully ‘scratched’, as I have made notes all over the place, often in a moving bus.


General theory:

  • Democracy is not an end in itself (p.106)
  • Income inequality is the natural state of society (p.8)

Economics concepts

  • Supply, demand, marginal effects
  • Price discrimination (p.31)
  • Anti-Keynes (p.94-94, 132-133)


  • Infrastructure charities – that build public infrastructure (p.62);
  • How capital intensity creates jobs (p.20-21);
  • capital intensive public goods are better (p.26);
  • against appropriate technology (p.89)
  • How big infrastructure is needed to kickstart an economy (p22);
  • infrastructure to eliminate poverty and create jobs (p.27, 33);
  • how housing and construction can play a big role (p.81)


  • opposition to agriculture-led growth (p.84)
  • Need to shift from agriculture to industry and services (p.85)
  • Need for urbanisation (p.42)
  • urban density saves petrol;
  • Need for intense urban planning: (107,108)
  • Planned – Mauritius example (p.45);
  • Housing sector– will create jobs (p.17)

Business friendly:

  • Reduce red tape (p.55) and become more business friendly (p.77);
  • simplification of property transactions (p.76);
  • For small sector: no reservations (p.60) but liberalise credit including micro-credit (p.81)

Economic freedom:

  • Globalisation has benefits (p.58)
  • Labour market flexibility (p.81,82)

Basic governance:

  • Distorted incentives of the bureaucracy (p.136-137, 140)
  • Need to focus on administrative reforms (p.86)
  • Judicial reform (p.87)
  • Need for local governments to raise own taxes (p.147)
  • Need to simplify property transactions (p.76)
  • Administration must take a whole of Government perspective (p.50, 113)

Anti welfarism

  • Why subsidy is bad (and why cost recovery is important) (p.27, 28, 30); against unemployment benefits (p.61)
  • Why government doling out schemes will destroy wealth (97)


Misunderstanding about the effects of competition (p.58)

Insufficient understanding of economic liberalisation (p.69-71)

PURA/ ring road model: Satellite cities should definitely be supported by infrastructure, though.


Limited vision for India’s ultimate economic status: Believes the maximum India can achieve is equal to the per capita income of the world average in 2002. (p.106)

Theory of the state entirely unrelated to freedom (intellectuals/ politicians/ planners/ administrators) (p.5)

Poor understanding of costs: states that the cost of water/ waste disposal/ cooking gas connectivity, etc. is 10 times cheaper in rural areas than in urban areas. It is quite the reverse.

Poor understanding of salary structure and incentives of bureaucrats (p.80, 148)

Considers Sweden the best socio-economic system (p.6)

Has a communist/ universal subsidy model for 100 sq m land for each family, school, dispensary (p.13) [This contradicts his anti-subsidy stance elsewhere]

Asks the state to direct credit into consumer goods (p.95)

Thinks that the Planning Commission’s plans mean something (they don’t ) (p.113)

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Why India must move from agriculture to manufacturing and services: Indiresan was very pro-business

This section from Vision 2020 (pages 84-86) was another excellent section (I have a few points which I’ll note separately, below). He notes that AGRICULTURE CANNOT BE THE SOLUTION FOR INDIA’S PROBLEMS.

 It is the opinion in the Planning Commission that the Incremental Capital-Output Ratio (ICOR) is much lower in agriculture than in other sectors of the economy. That means, that for a given investment, agriculture is the best bet for maximizing growth. That has reinforced the view that agriculture, and craft industries alone can maximize both growth and employment.

These arguments are plausible; yet, they raise some uncomfortable questions. One: will this emphasis on agriculture support rapid growth let alone the eight per cent growth sought for the next Plan? Two: considering that we are already sitting on top of a grain mountain, can the country absorb further increase in agricultural production? Three: will agricultural employment satisfy the aspirations of modern day youth who are relatively better educated, and are dreaming of white-collar jobs? Four: is it really impossible for industry and commerce to increase employment? Five: does the assumed scenario truly address the real weaknesses of the Indian economy?

As matters stand, existing farmers are able to produce enough food for themselves and for all others too. Yet, a number of non-farmers are starving because their earnings are too little to afford the price at which the surplus grain of the farmers is being sold. Farmers have no incentive to lower prices because the government buys their surplus at relatively high prices. [Sanjeev: He should have opposed this MSP system, but that’s a different matter]

If the suggested solution of the Planning Commission is accepted, non-farmers will produce even more food for themselves – and for others too.

It is not clear where these new entrants to agriculture will find the land to cultivate. If they do succeed, the market for the existing farmers will shrink. In that case, either the government will have to spend more on subsidy, or let the existing farmers become poorer.

Alternatively, the additional produce may be exported. Unfortunately, grain prices in the world market are low. Even if 10-20 million tons of grain are exported, the realization will be much less than what Indian software industry is generating. Hence, if globalization has resulted in jobless growth, the suggested solution is likely to generate growthless jobs. It will be redistributing poverty rather than creating prosperity.

The logical solution in this case is for non-farmers to raise their productivity in sectors other than agriculture, to earn enough to absorb the agricultural surplus that exists already. Implausible as it may appear, the solution to India’s unemployment conundrum is to create well-paid jobs in industry and services, not more ill-paid ones in farming and handicrafts. World over, prosperity has increased only when employment in agriculture shrinks, not when it increases.

Lack of capital is not the problem why the formal sector is not generating jobs. Banks are flush with funds with no takers. The problem lies with entrepreneurs who are virtually on strike. Those few who like to expand, often prefer to do so in China and elsewhere rather than in India. Like talented professionals, industrialists too are voting with their feet and moving out of India. That is the true cause of tardy economic growth in India.

The accompanying Table summarizes the reasons why Indian industrialists find costs in India so high that it is worth their while to move out of the country.

As the table shows, the issue is not that there is little scope for industrial (and commercial) expansion, but that the prevailing political and administrative environment obstructs such expansion.

Table: Excess Costs of Doing Business in India

Cost Factor Nature of the Problem Cause
Materials High prices Poor infrastructure, over-valued currency, labour costs
Labour Low productivity, militancy Low skills, restrictive labour laws
Interest costs High rates Over invoicing, large scale defaults, poor bankruptcy laws, judicial impedance to recovery of bad loans
Depreciation Technology obsolescence Low investment in R&D
Pre-sale taxes Complex, irrational Conservatism, vested interests and corruption among tax administrators
Post-sale taxes Complex, irrational
Services Unreliable, expensive Artificial shortages, uneconomical service charges
Transaction costs Time delays Complex regulations, corruption
Regulations Multiple agencies, Nitpicking culture, corruption complex, irrational
Overheads Little scope for executives Low self confidence of top managers to innovate

It is clear that Prof. Indiresan was pro-business and not a Luddite.

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