"Any progress that happened here and there has to be viewed in the context of the larger failure to address the central issues," Sen told IANS here, on the sidelines of the NDTV and TCS Nobel Solutions Summit yesterday evening.

"The basic neglect of education and healthcare and the idea that India could become a great world leader in the field of economy with unhealthy, uneducated labour force is profoundly mistaken," said the sof-spoken welfare economist, commenting on the 25 years of reforms since July 1991.

"The previous government was spending less. But the current government is spending even lesser," he said. "This is very unfortunate."According to the 82-year-old Harvard professor who was conferred the Nobel for economics in 1998, one of the main flaws of reforms - initiated by his friend and former prime minister Manmohan Singh when he held the finance portfolio - was that it confined itself to some narrow goals.

While it was, indeed, desirable, the focus was on removing, to some extent, the intrusion the of government on matters of business and economic decision-making that often proved to be counter-productive, resulting in limited gains for the country as a whole, he added.

"That was a positive thing to do, but I only wish the reforms had been more complete than it has happened. On the other hand, it needed more positive things for the government to be done," said Sen, also the recipient of India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, in 1999.


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