Road to Prosperity

According to an research by IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute):

For every million rupees spent, roads raised 335 people above the poverty line, and R&D 323. Every million rupees spent on education reduced poverty by 109 people, and on irrigation by 67 people. The lowest returns came from subsidies that are the most popular with politicians – subsidies on credit (42 people), power (27 people) and fertilisers (24 people).

Swami has recently published a very good article on how roads can be one of the most effective way for poverty elevation.

Connectivity enhances the value of every other rural investment, since it empowers people through improved mobility and access. People can more easily buy agricultural inputs and sell their produce. Children can go more easily to schools, cattle can more easily get veterinary help, and the sick can get to health centres. Remote areas have, by definition, the worst connectivity. They are among the poorest and slowest-growing, but accelerate when given connectivity.

Roads can incubate a thousand small businesses, and can convert villages into towns. Government staff are much more willing to be posted to places with good connectivity, so roads improve administration. Rural productivity cannot be high without roads, but can be very high with them.

No wonder even in America the railroad boom came first and then came the rapid growth and development.

When will Indians understand it 😦

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6 thoughts on “Road to Prosperity

  1. Two comments:
    1. Roads are good, but they shouldn’t come at the cost of affordable, reliable and efficient public transport system/infrastructure (rail, light rail, Metro etc.), but rather both should complement each other. With peak oil, it makes more long-term sense to invest in rail, though India does have a pretty good inter-city rail system.

    2. Any roads (within a city) should be built keeping in mind bicyclists and pedestrians (to encourage biking and walking). The situation in big cities in the US is changing as the long-term effects of building roads without keeping bicycles in mind are mounting up, and the picture is not good. People in cities are now increasingly advocating for bike lanes and bike paths, as car-culture + suburban sprawl has contributed to obesity, isolation, air pollution etc.

    Of course, the best way of connecting small villages will probably be by road.

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  2. all roads lead to Rome….
    Romans realized the power of roads in keeping the empire together and spread the wealth and prosperity all over the empire…

    but evern after 2 thousand years, we have not yet learned from them

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  3. good observation ankur especially on rome
    u forgot about Hitler and his autobahns
    they helped kick start the German economy
    the railroad did bring the yankee to all parts of america
    and created a big boom, later followed by the spectacular bust and depression
    tell me is America heading for a repeat?

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  4. hmmm.i never thought abt it till now..
    it seems quite obvious to me now ..
    thanks for poinitng out..
    buthave u noticed the quality of roads we have… there might be crores of money embezzled by the politicians..
    what is the result..? ? we have to compromise with a road that hardly stays perfect for 1 year…

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