Development and democracy
4 April, 2008
Development and democracy
Development and democracy, privilege and poverty; these were the key themes of the thought-provoking presentation given at the Waitakere City Council during a key visit by the Minister of Local Government, Sport and Youth, Government of India, the Honourable Mani Shankar Aiyar.
In the past 15 years, India has embarked upon a rigorous development regime, which has seen India’s growth rate reach 9.6%, and in the process lifted hundreds of millions of its people from the clutches of poverty, the Honourable Minister said.
But at the same time, hundreds of millions more continued to struggle living on the equivalent of less than $2 a day – in terms of purchasing power parity.
“There are segments of India that have done so well, that the nation could be considered a world leader in development,” the Honourable Minister said . He added "there are more billionaires and millionaires in India ranked second to US" and “then we also have hundreds of millions of people suffering in abject poverty.”
The economic inequalities and difficulties in managing the world’s most populous nation, of nearly 1.2 billion people, were plain for all to see. The Minister very eloquently expanded on the notion of 'true democracy'
As Mayor Bob Harvey said in response: “we are aware there is extreme wealth in India, and we are also aware that there is extreme poverty in your country – but most importantly, in between these two, there is extreme hope”.
The mutual benefit of a possible future free trade agreement between the two countries was discussed during talks.
Also, the budding business relationship between Waitakere and India was another topic touched on by both Mayor Harvey and the Honourable Minister.
In the past several years over 120 Indian film crews have visited New Zealand – India produces more films each year than any other nation – and with Waitakere’s new film and sound studios both leaders said they were keen to see the relationship grow.
“We have the scenery, we have the infrastructure and we have the people,” Harvey said, “we want those film crews coming to this city.”
The Honourable Minister’s delegation included the Indian High Commissioner, K.P. Ernest and Pam Dunn the Head of South East Asia Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade.
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