Column: The secret plan behind Indias low growth
A few key people in Delhi have hatched a diabolical solution to Bangladeshi immigrants: make India a less attractive destination
I was recently at the Imperial, Delhi, and I picked up some astonishing news from the elite members of the Omrah at the Durbar. Believe it or not, there is a "secret plan" brewing in Delhi to resolve the contentious issue of Bangladeshi migrants coming and living in large numbers within the boundaries of our great republic. This secret plan is the reason for the recent heightened Indo-Bangladeshi diplomatic initiatives. This amazing plan will warm the hearts of the students of Assam (who seem to remain students all their lives), the displaced tribals of Kokrajhar, and various Hindutvic types who dislike Bangladeshis, even when they employ them as gardeners, sweepers and so on. The plan is so ultra-secret that it is known only to six persons, all of whom live in Lutyens' Delhi. I tried very hard to get the details of the plan; but the silence in our capital was deafening. I then decided to do the obvious and clever thing. I used my ultra-secure super-encrypted telephone (which cannot be hacked by RAW, ISI, Assange or clever income tax officers) and called my good friend Miss Moneypenny, who is on Hilary Clinton's staff. Now it is a truth universally acknowledged that Hilary Clinton knows more about Syria than Syrians do, more about Libya than Libyans do, more about Afghanistan than Afghans do, more about Bananastan than Bananas do and therefore more about our own India than we ordinary mortal Indians do. I asked Moneypenny to find out for me the details of the top secret plan that has been conceived by our great government in Delhi.
Moneypenny got back to me. What she told me filled me with patriotic pride. Verily, we have one of the finest governments in human history! The simplicity, the sheer audacity and brilliance of the six residents of Lutyens' Delhi took my breath away. Our government has access to a very high order of brain-power in the area of economics. They know that as long as India is more prosperous than Bangladesh and Indian wage rates are higher than wage rates prevailing in Bangladesh, it is simply not possible to stop the inflow of people from our neighbouring country, seeking gainful employment in India. If the mighty US of A cannot keep out Mexican workers, what chance does the soft Indian state have with Bangladeshis? Therefore, our government has concluded that the only way to deal with the issue of Bangladeshi migrants is to make India less prosperous than Bangladesh. Now do you see why for the last few years we appear to have been bumbling along "almost deliberately and consciously" lowering our growth rates? There was nothing "almost" about it. It has in fact been the "deliberate and conscious" policy of the government of India to reduce our growth rates, even as Bangladesh increases it. And guess whatwe intend to continue with these policies. It is mathematically inevitable that in the foreseeable future Bangladesh will be on a better growth trajectory than us, and will become more prosperous than us. At that point in time, the problem of Bangladeshi migrants will simply go away, as none of them will have any incentive to come to India. In fact, there will be a reversal of roles. Indians will want to go to Bangladesh in search of the better economic opportunities prevailing there. Now do you see how diabolically cunning, how fiendishly machiavellian our great government's secret plan is? Not only will we eliminate our problem of excess Bangladeshi migrants, but we will at the same time saddle Bangladesh with the problem of excess Indian migrants! How many governments in the world would have thought of this brilliant strategy, that involves impoverishing one's own citizens, in order to "fix" the neighbour? The strategic genius of the leadership of the government of India is indeed unparalleled.
Moneypenny went on to tell me that Hilary Clinton has concluded that the Americans are excellent at training armed forces and police forces in different parts of the world. Apparently, they have done an outstanding job in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bananastan and so on. The US government, therefore, is planning to offer consultancy services to the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar because they are convinced that in a few years, not only Bangladesh, but even Myanmar will be more prosperous than India. Hordes of job-seeking Indians are bound to try and gatecrash into these two countries. Both these countries will doubtless need a proper border patrol force. Given the talent levels of the Bangladeshi and Myanmarese government employees, Hilary is confident that they will "absorb" the superb training given to them by the Americans and certainly emerge as a more efficient border patrol force than the ineffective one that currently works on the US-Mexican border. Hilary's high level of confidence in Bangladeshis and Myanmarese in uniform is indeed touching. It shows you that she is a true liberal devoid of all racial prejudice.
Moneypenny advised me that given the inevitable success of the government of India's secret plan to reduce our growth rates and impoverish us, it is highly likely that Myanmar will start imposing strict immigration controls in anticipation of the gate-crashing Indians. She told me that I should get myself permanent residence in Myanmar as soon as possible. "After all," said Moneypenny, "don't you want to live in a high growth country? You should not keep living in a country where the government keeps blithely lying to its citizens that growth will pick up next month and that inflation will drop next month, while all along having a secret plan to ensure just the opposite."
Dear readers: I think it is desirable for the citizens of India to also have a "secret plan". Let us go and obtain application forms for permanent residence in Myanmar. In so doing, not only will be helping ourselves, but we will be good patriots, falling in line with the secret plans of our all-wise, growth-hating, poverty-loving, brilliant government.
The author is a Mumbai-based entrepreneur