For last 65 years India was not following a trIckle down economy. India was working on a socialist model. In this model, government creates jobs by controlling every aspect of our lives. The consequence is for all of us to see. We were in a perennial shortage economy. We had to bribe for everything starting from getting a birth certificate to getting a death certificate. People were leaving country en masse – a term called brain drain.
India started liberalisation post 1991. A few things that are apparent is mobile phone revolution. Till 1996, I remember, every weekend I had to pay a visit to local area line man to fix our land line telephone. We got that after 10 years of wait. After mobile telephony became popular and affordable, not many thinks twice of getting a mobile phone. These are also available in a variety of custom designed packages. Yes, people that author claims angry and living in squalid condition also own a mobile phone. Most probably Maoists also own a phone, whether preaching urban warfare or in the jungles.
It is too much to expect to bring more thant 600 million people out of poverty in 20 years. But it will be unfair to say standard to living have not improved. The fact that people are moving out of villages in search of jobs to cities may suggest jobs are available. Ask for a maid in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, one may be surprised at the going rate. By the way, left ruled West Bengal, supposedly bottom up growth model is so bankrupt that chief minister was making regular trip to Delhi for a freeze on moratorium interest payment. Apparently state did not have money to run programs that will benefit citizens.
India needs continuous reform for a long time so that pie for social welfare can be broadened through regular investment flow. Government needs to pay money for education, healthcare, sanitation , population control etc. Government needs to improve delivery of justice to everyone. There are so many things to be done. People cannot come out of poverty unless there is quality education. More academic institutes need to come up. Once we have, a healthy educated population then only we can think of growth that is inclusive and bottom up.