Sitaram Yechury There is considerable euphoria in official circles over the 10.4 percent growth in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). From the PM downwards, everyone is generating an impression that the worst of the global recession is behind us and India is slated to re-enter its high growth trajectory. The IIP had grown by just 1.7 percent on a year-to-year basis last year. Hence, the current high growth rate is based on very low levels. This is like a political party claiming a 300 percent increase in its influence when its representation in Parliament grows from one seat to three. While everyone wishes robust economic growth leading to an improvement in the livelihood of the people, the grim ground realities cannot be ignored. The recently released UN Human Development Report has shown that Indias ranking in terms of the Human Development Index (HDI) is a miserable 134 out of 182 countries. In 2007, India ranked 126 among 177 countries. Today, we are sandwiched between Laos and the Solomon Islands. The database of this report is for 2007. Thus, it fails to capture the ruination of millions due to the current global recession. Nevertheless, its hard data on India negates the expectations of the euphoria of a high growth trajectory, reflected in the grandeur of an 'emerging economy rubbing shoulders with the 'mighty at the G-20 high table. It only confirms that there are two Indias in the making - a 'Shining for the few and a 'Suffering for the many. India has registered a decline in all the parameters used to measure the HDI, other than adult literacy. Per capita income, adjusted to purchasing power parity, declined from $3,452 to $2,753 from last year. Life expectancy at birth declined from 63.7 years to 63.4 years. The combined gross enrolment ratio in schools declined from 63.8 percent to 61 percent. While considering this parameter, the HDI does not take into account the rate of dropouts that is very high in India. Of the 100 students that enter Class I, only 31 reach Class X. Of these, only around 16 pass Class XI. Of these, only about nine enter the portals of higher education. Once a student enters school, unlike in many other countries, things do not proceed automatically in India. This captures the fact that Indias HDI, which stood at 0.427 in 1980, is now marginally higher, after nearly three decades, at 0.612. That Indias growth story does not translate to the vast majority of its people is yet again confirmed by HDR 2009 that shows that 41.6 percent of our people live on less than $1.25 a day and 75.6 percent live on less than $2 a day. This latter figure, in purchasing power parity terms, confirms the findings of the Arjun Sengupta Report that 77 percent of Indians survive on less than Rs 20 a day. At the same time, this negates the fanciful estimates of the Planning Commission on sharply declining poverty levels in India. In a survey of 29 countries battling hunger, anti-poverty agency Actionaid ranks India at 22. Apart from Socialist China and Vietnam, Brazil, Ghana and Malawi constitute the top five that have achieved reasonable successes in battling malnutrition that has grown by 20 percent globally since 2005, pushing an extra 170 million people into hunger. All these countries retained or reclaimed a central role for the State in agriculture to ensure the production and distribution of staple foods. Within six years, Brazil reduced child malnutrition by 73 percent and child deaths by 45 percent through concerted State intervention. Clearly, such interventions, rising above rhetoric, are required urgently by us in India. Instead of the current situation where 'Shining India exists because of 'Suffering India, a meaningful inclusive growth focusing on the aam aadmi can come about only through vastly expanded public investments that will, on the one hand, generate jobs and build the much-needed social and economic infrastructure on the other, will be accompanied by concrete measures for ensuring food security. Hindustan Times