Belgium-born Jean Dreze, a naturalised Indian and a former member of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC), feels India's infrastructure is very deficient, affecting not only economic growth but also the quality of life.

"I don't think ideology is the main problem, nor is it just a question of the attitude of the rulers. The main obstacle is that privileged classes are doing quite well from the growth process as it is, and have no obvious stake in policy changes that would pay greater attention to the essential needs of the people. Nothing prevents them, of course, from being concerned about other people's well-being. And if you take a long view, more active social policies in India would benefit the country as a whole, not just the underprivileged. But the massive social distance that separates the rich from the poor in India often stands in the way of enlightened thinking.

"A more common attitude is something like, "why should I pay taxes from my hard-earned income to help people who are responsible for their own poverty?" The ideology of the minimalist state puts some intellectual veneer on this attitude. Read More