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'India's growth strategy holds lessons for developing nations'

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India's strategy of fuelling growth with market-based policies and eradicating poverty by "growing the pie rather than slicing it" holds lessons for other developing countries, two eminent Indian-American economists have said.

Jagdish Bhagwati senior fellow at Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Panagariya, Columbia University professor, in a new book, have demonstrated how growth was the strategy successfully deployed to reduce poverty in India.

However, further reforms in labour and land markets are essential to translate growth into more employment, they argue in the new CFR book, "Why Growth Matters: How Economic Growth in Reduced Poverty and the Lessons for Other Developing Countries".

Official poverty estimates provided by India's show the proportion of the population below the poverty line in India decreased 17 per cent in two decades, from 44.5 per cent in 1983 to 27.5 per cent in 2004-2005, they noted.

"We cannot emphasise enough that our analysis, while it is addressed to India's development experience and underlines the centrality of growth in reducing poverty, has clear lessons for aid and development agencies, as well as NGOs that continually work to affect poverty all over the world," Bhagwati and Panagariya were quoted as saying in the book by New York Daily News.

And while growth generates revenues to provide health and education, "Doors need to be opened wider to the private sector in higher education as well, to permit better access for the massive population of the young," they said.

However, India's strong 8.2 per cent growth in the last decade can in part be attributed to the country's poverty-reduction reforms, the authors said.

Thus only one strategy will help the poor to any significant effect, economic growth, led by markets overseen and encouraged by liberal state policies, Bhagwati and Panagariya argued.

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