20 Jun 2017

India's institutions are failing its people

Institutions are the "rules of the game" -- the formal rules and informal norms that can -- when strong -- enhance cooperation, defeat corruption, and contribute to prosperity and development.

One ready measure of "development" (or functional institutions) is the ready availability of safe drinking water and functioning sanitation.

In India, the institutions are weakened by corruption, caste-discrimination and bureaucratic indifference. To get an amazing insight into how dysfunction leads to failure, read this epic (17,000 word) investigation into the failing attempt to end "open defecation"

But not all Indians -- and very few politicians -- understand how failure occurs or who should get the blame. Read this piece on the scapegoating of Coke and Pepsi due to failures to manage groundwater, deliver drinking water or regulate pollution. Ask yourself how it might be possible for these companies to "destroy water security" in India, but not in many developed countries? The reason is that they are not the problem, but merely participants in India's failure.

Bottom Line: The Indian people need to go after their politicians and bureaucrats -- their fellow citizens -- if they are going to get safe water and the dignity of sanitation.

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