Planning, Public Issues

India & China – approaches to development

Yesterday, I was catching up with my friend from Belgium. He had come to IIM Calcutta during the student exchange program. He recently visited China and had an interesting story to tell – about China’s development, infrastructure and huge hunger to become world’s Number 1 in all aspects of life.

He had visited Shanghai, perhaps China’s most beautiful city. According to him, the airport at Shanghai is easily among the top 10 airports in the world. Extremely well maintained, huge in size, very busy, ultramodern were some of the epithets he used to describe the Shanghai airport.

He narrated his experience at Shanghai and compared it to Calcutta and Mumbai. He told me that the road to city center was straight, unobstructed. He was in the city center in 45 minutes from the airport. The cabbie took exact money from him and did not haggle for more, a practice very frequently seen among Indian cabbies. Tours were well conducted, photos of Shanghai were mind blowing. Generally it was a memorable experience.

Then during our conversation, I asked him, how can the road from Airport to Shanghai city center be straight? Can you imagine the number of people ruthlessly displaced in order to achieve this? This put him in contemplation mode. He remembered London, Brussels, Mumbai, Calcutta and never remembered a straight road from city center to airport. Then he started thinking about how approaches taken by China and India are hugely different. Some quotes from him are as follows:

India has a democratic approach to development, and hence the pace of development is slow. China looks extremely glamorous and ultramodern on the face, but no one knows and will know the price Chinese paid for such ruthless march towards modernisation.

However, all said and done, India should think about China’s ruthless pace of development. India should try and optimise the pace of development and try and reduce the red-tapism in the government procedures. There are lessons to be learnt for India from China’s development model, perhaps a detailed case study about city planning can be useful for the architects of SEZs coming up in various parts of India. Any comments about this? Please let me know.

Until next time, Keep ‘’-g!

Like what you read? Share in your network!

3 thoughts on “India & China – approaches to development

  1. India is a true democracy and hence everything happens trying to cause minimum disruption to people. This in fact even leads to slower development! China is a completely different story. Nice post 🙂

  2. I totally go with what your friend has said…in that quoted box… China may have had acquired stupendous progress in terms of modernization and relatively attained more prosperity amongst it’s socio in less time frame…in last two-three decades…but because it has acquired it after getting itself converted into a big conglomerate where invariably people not keeping with the growth pace must be getting inevitably left out,it’d in long time probably start lagging somewhere.

    This is where India gets an upperhand.In the name of democracy, may be things here don’t go as fast as they can,like in China,but since it’s rather based on a million-zillion conciliations on daily basis,I feel that basic abuse by irrational rampant state decisions is definitely prevented.And since the prodigy basically involves conferring self-reliance(in broader terms,we can be less manipulated erratically!!),I feel ours as an economy will sustain more…may be will grow at a slower pace…but definitely in a better vista…But ya,it’d be worthwhile if our government actually gets a little light over it’s red-tapism…

  3. @Divya – Interesting views there – the country itself as a big conglomerate. When you bring China in front of your eyes- no ONE individual comes to mind – its one big country which has a wall visible from the moon! The US on the other hand – is remembered for its personalities – Gates, Clinton, Bush for example. Some call this a failure for China, others call it a success. Pretty interesting approaches to life, I d say.

Leave a Reply