India can do TEN times better!
Why do I say this?
1. What gets measured gets done. This is something for FTI to be held to account – deliver a 10 time increase in per capita GDP and per capita world trade share. India's share of world trade is less than 2% and share of GDP greater than 2% (up to 5% if PPP estimates are used). Then, too, on many other criteria (such as per capita share of doctors, per capita share of roads, etc.) these ratios will vary. The 'ten' times is a crude estimation we can live with. On average my estimate today is that India is 10 times poorer/weaker on almost everything compared to the West.
2. It shows the hollowness of the "Shining India" claims. When people ask why 10, we can tell them that the average Indian is still 10 times poorer than the average American. And that our world share of trade is still 10 times less than our population share. Each Indian is therefore, economically speaking, worth 1/10th of an American. That makes clear why Shining India/Mera Bharat Mahaan is such a load of rubbish.
3. 'TEN' is more confrontational. More 'in the face'. It challenges others who may have a view that India is doing well.
Of course things can be 'much' better. But how much better? That is the key question. We can do 10 times better in ensuring better infrastructure, better schools, etc. etc.
By using "TEN times better" in our conversations we talk about a quantum jump, setting us apart from incremental reform. It also shows we mean business. We have the guts to quantify our claims.
There was nothing to prevent India from overtaking USA decades ago in per capita income, as countries like Singapore have done, after coming from way behind. Today the Singapore per capita income (in PPP terms) is $ 57,238 compared with USA’s $ 47,123 (IMF calculations, 2010). India’s is a mere $3,290.
NOTE: I'll be adding points to this – please feel free to email me your thoughts at sabhlok AT yahoo DOT com.