In March 2016, the Centre for Development and Enterprise invited Gurcharan Das to speak at a dinner in Johannesburg.
He is the well-known author of India Unbound, a detailed account of India from independence to the global information age, which was published in many languages and filmed by the BBC, as well as the more recent book, India Grows at Night: A Liberal Case for a Strong State.
This CDE report summarises the views and insights he shared with a South African audience on some of the achievements and challenges emerging in India as it moves to become the fastest-growing country in the world.
Das also responded to questions from the audience on topics that are of particular interest to South Africans.
South Africa needs to improve its growth performance. Without faster, more labour-intensive growth, we will fail to employ the millions of South Africans who need work, condemning them – and their children – to lives of grinding poverty.
Slow growth will also mean that state revenue will not keep pace with legitimate demands for access to all levels of education and training, essential infrastructure and improved social welfare. South Africa’s poor will be left behind, society will stagnate, race relations will worsen and instability will increase