Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Held as the “first comprehensive study of the Indian Communist Party which has appeared in this or any other country” THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA: A SHORT HISTORY, authored by M.R.Masani and published by Derek Verschoyle, London in association with the Institute of Pacific Relations in 1954, has a brilliant introduction by the famous journalist, researcher and author Guy Wint. I am quoting a few lines from this introduction.
“The contemporary history of Asia is strongly dramatic. In the two great land masses, India and China, new orders of government and society came into existence within two years of one another. In India, the Congress State succeeded the British Raj in 1947. In China two years later the Communist Party became masters of the whole country, and dedicated it to the principles of Marxism, Leninism and Stalinism as interpreted by Mao Tse-Tung.”
After a few precise words to define the differences between the two respective approaches, it says:
“Though India and China are thus in contrast – India the great example of liberalism in Asia, China the first full-fledged example of Asian Communism – they have one characteristic in common. In neither can it be the aim of government simply to keep an existing social machine in smooth function. In each country the urgent need is for a radical transformation; and the governments are under immense pressure to make themselves responsible for bringing this about. The bane of both countries is poverty and technical and industrial backwardness. The demand of all the educated classes is that this state of affairs should be brought to an end.”
And he says:
“Whichever country shows the more impressive economic progress, India or China, is likely to be accepted as the social, and perhaps the political, leader of Asia.”
Against this background, if voting rights in International Monetary Fund is any indicator, with the last reform in 2016, China has an increase from 3.8 per cent to 6 per cent, when India’s has increased to 2.6 per cent from the 2.3 per cent.
Now in 2019, China is almost 4.61 times richer than India in nominal method and 2.30 times richer in ppp method. Per capita rank of China and India is 72th and 145th, respectively in nominal ; and 75th and 126th, respectively in ppp. As per IMF reading (28 Aug 2019), during the period from 1961 to 2018, China grew by more than 10% in 22 years while India never, according to statisticstimes.com.
In other parameters, China has enormously developed in comparison with India. When a study (Blumenthal and Hsiao, 2005) over a period from approximately 1950 and 1990 shows that life expectancy almost doubled (rising from 35 to 68 years) with a dramatic drop in infant mortality (falling from 200 to 34 per 1,000 live births), neonatal mortality, according to a 2012 study, is 9% in China as against 31% in India.
A research work coauthored by Sai Ma and Neeraj Sood captioned “A Comparison of the Health Systems in China and India” (RAND Corporation occasional paper series) has dealt with the subject from late 1940s to 1980s. It shows, during this period, health gains in China became “substantial”, whereas in India it remained moderate. This was because, they note, priority was given in China to preventive care and health education, whereas in India priority was given to curative care.
From early 1980s to early 2000s, according to this study, chronic diseases replaced infectious diseases as top causes of death in China; whereas in India, infectious diseases remain the top cause of death; HIV/AIDS spreading aggressively.
This well documented study further shows that, from early 2000s to present (2008), when in policy context, China works upon health system reform, no clear action is discernible to have been taken India.
In the parameter of adult literacy, China stands with 96.4%, India is far below at 71%, according to data in theguardian.com (16 Sept.2014).
If general health of the country makes its sports scenario healthy, the best proof is the number of medals in Olympics. In London Olympics, India got only 6 medals when China topped with 88.
I think, this position, in the context of Guy Wint’s views quoted supra, makes it clear that, adoption of a non-communist path has distanced India from the prosperity we could have achieved.