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In India, there is more than Kareena Kapoor

October 17, 2014

Al-Youm Al-Sabie/by Amr Gad

Originally published on September 03, 2014

A few days ago, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ambitious program to open a bank account for every Indian citizen to benefit from financial services that are not available to them under normal circumstances. This account provides its holder with a credit and insurance document of about 100,000 Indian Rupees (about 13,000 Egyptian pounds) and another life insurance policy of one third of that amount.

There are two remarks here: first, in the first day of launching the program, about 15 million Indians joined this program which encouraged the government to go on with it. Under this program, the government targets to open 75 million accounts for 75 million families that constitute the poor category of this country whose population, according to the most recent statistics, amount to one billion and 300 million. If the program succeeds, it would elevate the standard of living of the poor category and may even raise it to that of the middle class through investing these amounts of money in successful medium and small enterprises. As for the concerns that such poor citizens may be sent to prison for being burdened with debts, the government have imposed controls to prevent this.

Second: the genius decision makers of India linked the provision of subsidies to this program. The government plans to give subsidy to citizens by transferring the money to their bank accounts. Hence, the government can eradicate corruption in the subsidy system.With these remarks in mind, we can see that the situations in Egypt and India are similar to a large extent. In Egypt, just as in India, the problem of high population growth rates hinders development, especially if it grows at lower rates than that of the population. Some of the economically emerging countries managed to solve this problem by making use of the growing population in boosting the economy. In this regard, the Indian Prime Minister said: "This program will connect the poor with the mainstream of the Indian economy.” Hence, the aim of this program is not to make the poor category a rich one, but rather to raise their standard of living and stimulate their interest in savings. This is similar to what the Egyptian decision maker has done by issuing investment certificates to fund the Suez Canal project.We do not need to be impressed by the Indian films that are immersed in passion, fantasy and superstition. We need only to know that India has become the world’s 12th most powerful economy in spite of the social, racial and political problems it suffers. We used to look at the faults of other people, but not to look at our own faults. Instead, we should look at what other people do to overcome their problems.I remembered this contradiction while I was watching a scene of an Indian film in which the hero managed to overcome 5 men in one strike to rescue his beautiful girl friend who started to dance happily with her eyes full of tears. Seeing those around me so impressed with the scene, I said to them: "This girl does not deserve the fighting of these guys for her.” At that point, a young girl said to me: "She is so cute. How come you do not know Kareena Kapoor?” Appearing as an ignorant, I spoke no more.

This is an English translation of the article originally published in Egypt's Arabic Newspaper (Youm Al Sabae) which can be accessed here

(The views expressed above are the personal views of the author)

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