Thoughts on economics and liberty

Notes on India’s government failure

I had dictated these notes on Whatsapp a few days ago. Won’t have time to incorporate into any article at this stage, so posting these here for any future use:


Government failure hits you straight in the face in India after you leave the airport. Not only are the traffic conditions completely Third World and consistent with comprehensive mis-management that has been the hallmark of India for 70 years, but the condition of roads is beyond the capacity of anyone who has lived abroad to imagine.

Then, there is no regular supply of electricity even in large cities like Gurgaon, with similar conditions across the entire country. Water supply – in the rare cases where it is actually available – is untrustworthy, so everyone is forced to filter or boil the water or use bottled water. And of course, the big piles in rubbish in every city.

All this pales in comparison the moment you leave towns and visit rural areas. Not only do the roads deteriorate immediately being almost completely broken, the prevalence of extreme poverty of India in small towns and small villages becomes evident. And when reach the villages you can see the extraordinary poor conditions that were there 70 years ago continuing till today.

This is more prominent in eastern UP where I have visited a few villages than perhaps in some other parts of India. No place shows any evidence of prosperity, although within many villages there are sometimes one or two large buildings, mostly being owned by politically connected persons. If you are a relative of a politician you can get government contracts and fleece the taxpayer, thus build big mansions for yourself and your family.

The condition of animals such as stray dogs and cows is extremely poor. The condition of goats and sheep is generally better because these are owned by herdsmen, but the condition of the herdsmen themselves is pretty poor.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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