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Why is India poor? What can be done to change this?

I am looking to go beyond the obvious reason which is quality of institutions (including corruption) and infrastructure. For a nation of 1.2 billion, even if the institutions aren't that good, it should be possible to fix things, right?

I think we can learn a lot from history and evolution of distribution of wealth in the world. Look at this chart: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-V_zsRrVZd4w/T_B-rIF6v7I/AAAAAAAAGhE/JdlSo4iwtGU/s1600/Economic+history+of+world.png

This shows a shocking shift of wealth off India in only as much as past 300 years. Caste system and all have been here since ever, so there has to be a deeper reason. Also, as much as I agree with Technology being the reason, I don't really see it as the reason, unless we want to be developed EXACTLY in the way as the west is - there CAN be multiple other ways of being wealthy - and the tech way of using minimal human capital and mechanization while may be the best for the west where humans resources are scarce, it may not be the best way for our human-capital rich society - wonder how much we can do with sooo many hands! And still, we are just struggling to feed those mouths :(

So I guess the question is calling for a critical analysis of what has brought about the condition shown in this graph, where India houses the max poor in one country: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-cXku0S7O-N0/UA1lK_DhtbI/AAAAAAAAAgE/0FduwIJQhZ4/s1600/regional-ineq.JPG

By the way, a disclaimer here is a must on my background so that you do not think this is coming from a very narrow mind - I am not casteist, am highly educated, and am IIT B.Tech. grad - so a big promoter of tech (tech I think is awesome for me and the likes who like it, but still don't see mechanization as the solution to human state).

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    Apr 8 2013: I think India is poor because it does not have enough money.

    This video explains why India is poor

    http://www.ted.com/talks/yasheng_huang.html
    • Apr 8 2013: OK video. The analysis is little loose.
      I don't know why we want to compare India with China, and not any other country; the countries have very different past and mentality and govt. The biggest difference in the past (relatively recent) of the countries is that India was under colonial rule until only 65 years back! To get better insights, I wouldn't necessarily compare India to China.

      However, I agree with the overall point of the video, while there are many errors in the details:

      Let's look at minor errors first -
      1. Although it is foolish to say that just authoritarian govt ensures faster development, the point is that if the authoritarian govt is pro-progress, it will ofcurse be fater in growth. It is inadequate to put all types of authoritarian govts in one bucket - military rule in Pakistan obviousy hampers growth.
      2. The pictures of Shanghai and Mumbai, although minor, are biased :) I needed to point this out :) Mumbai has its own nice-building-skyline, and Shanghai ofcourse would have it own slums.
      3. Low women participation - I am not sure... from my observation, women work in India too. And especially in poor families, everybody - even kids - works.

      Now to the good and important points that have come out of this video and what I have thought of them -
      1.Participation of women in workforce has come out, that can probably be increased in India.
      2. I think democracy is indeed an expensive and slow form of govt. It does make decisions slow.
      Authoritarian rule would mean a faster growth - if it means growth - i.e. it is a high-risk high-gain thing. If you have a good king, you are great, a bad one will ruin the country. Anyway, given India, authoritarian rule is not a possibility, and democracy is here to stay. However, maybe the local level govts can be made faster and more authoritarian - a call for changes in existing imperial model of governance is in order. This is known as the idea of empowering the 'panchayats' in India.

      Any other takes
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        Apr 8 2013: It has been a while since I have seen that video. My take is that India's main problem was the tyranny of democracy and the inevitable corruption.

        Yes a monarchy is probably the most efficient but if your monarch is Mao it is not going to be good.
    • Apr 8 2013: And yes, above all, your conclusion is there - that it is a problem of capital. That seems very correct. ("India is poor coz it doesnt have any money").

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