Amrit Kaal: Road To 2047
The year 2047 holds great significance, for it marks the Centenary of Indian independence. For this glorious moment to be more special, India has set a target to be a developed nation by 2047. The government dreams of making India an amalgation of tradition and technology, culture and nature, vibrant architecture and start-ups.
But amidst talks of hope all around, what are the key challenges that may come in our way?
Report Card: India@75
The history of India has been a complete roller coaster ride with numerous highs and lows. Declared an independent nation in 1947, India was born as a drained, impoverished and vulnerable nation. With a per capita income of less than $3, a de-industrialised, import-dependent economy, India marked a fresh start. It went ahead with successful green, white, and blue revolutions, rapid industrialization, and globalisation to become the fifth largest economy with per capita income of around $2000. Today India leads the world in fields like IT, textile, pharmaceuticals, etc. India has become the face of peace and democracy at global level. India’s diversity and unity are an answer to those who had questioned its stability once. In the healthcare sector, from life expectancy of 32 years in 1947 to 70 years in 2023, it is titled as the world’s pharmacy. Eradication of smallpox and polio in India is a case study of healthcare success for the world. In space and technology, from nowhere to the world’s second best, the journey of ISRO has inspired the world. It started by launching rockets with the help of cycles and bullock carts, to landing on the moon in first attempt in 2014 among numerous other successful missions. India’s start-up ecosystem and Covid vaccination success have received the world’s appreciation in the past two years.
Even after 75 years of independence, different forms of poverty including extreme poverty still exists in major parts of the country. About 50% of our population still depends on agriculture and as huge as 70% lives in rural areas. With meagre urbanisation, inadequate infrastructure, improper sanitation, and basic facilities, India ranks 132 out of 191 nations in the Human Development Index and 137 out of 156 in the world happiness index. Corruption and improper implementation of govt schemes have contributed to making ‘inefficient’, the synonym of the Indian Government. The red tapism in government offices, rigid compliances and complications in tax system have caused India to rank at 63 in Ease of Doing business. India is also highly criticized for its lack of freedom to the press, faulty education system, and less focus on sports. Despite boasting the purity of its democracy, India ranks 150/191 in world press freedom index, and this position has been consistently falling for ‘violence against journalists’ and ‘politically partisan media’. With a population of 1.4 billion, India ranks 2 in population, yet its rank in health expenditure is 145 and in education expenditure is 144.
The analysis of India’s performance in the past 75 years gives us a sneak peek into the next 25. We come across its major strengths and weaknesses in different fields. Despite thousands of problems, the future seems endlessly hopeful and filled with prosperity.
To achieve the dream of a developed India, an India which our freedom fighters dreamt of in 1947, we should be constantly working towards nation-building. Forgetting all the biases against castes and gender, each and every Indian should realise his/her responsibility and should contribute to the nation-building process. To be an upper-middle-income country by 2047, India needs to maintain a growth rate of more than 7% in the next 25 years. Continuous investment in education, health, defence, and infrastructure is all that we need in the next 25 years. Projections indicate that India@47 may achieve per capita income of more than USD 26000 – almost 13 times the current level.
There are some key areas, where India’s investment can actually turn the table and make it a global superpower. A lot of potential remains untapped in the energy sector. India can turn from an energy-importing country to exporting, by investing in hydrogen power, solar power, etc. Even Green hydrogen can be the fuel of the future. Big players like Adani Group, Reliance, and L&T have also invested in green hydrogen. Secondly, India needs to up its game with semiconductor manufacturing which has huge export potential and will again reduce foreign dependency. Then launching E-rupee is a step in the right direction towards making a cashless and digital economy. Government programs like the smart cities mission, Atmanirbhar Bharat, Make in India, PM Gati Shakti, etc can be complete game changers if implemented properly. They aim to make India self-reliant, manufacturing hub and less dependent on imports. PM Gati Shakti is a masterplan for multi modal connectivity, essentially a digital platform to bring 16 ministries together for integrated planning and coordinated implementation of infrastructure projects. India’s youth is its pride and power. Its proper education and skill development should be a priority. The education system needs to be more skill-based, career-oriented, technology-driven, and innovative. The booming start-up ecosystem of India should be well nurtured and supported with world-class infrastructure, stable govt policies, and a peaceful work environment so that the next Microsoft, next Google, and next Amazon are built in India. In the geopolitical scenario, India holds a crucial stance, it should maintain its peaceful, democratic stature to invite investment from MNCs. Hosting the FIFA world cup, and Olympic games, can significantly bring investment, increase tourism, and market the heritage and purity of India. Indian films, shows, and web series can also promote Indian culture and tourism on a global level. Celebrities and social media influencers can play a major role in the campaign of ‘Vocal for Local’, by urging people to buy local products and support local brands. The Union Budget 2023-24 has provided a blueprint to steer the economy toward increased growth and prosperity. The government, by announcing an increase in capital investment outlay by 33%, reducing tax burdens, estimating GDP growth at 7% and export growth at 12.5%, has rightly addressed the key concerns. The government aims to attract investment by reducing compliances, improving ease of doing business, PLI scheme, and boosting infrastructure.
If anything at all can stop our country from achieving its target, then it has to be the dirty Indian politics, the blame game of politicians and the rat race for power. India could have been way ahead and a lot of more developed if it had got some less corrupt leaders. The solution to this problem lies in technology. With technological development, transparency in work comes complementary to efficiency. A brilliant example of this is the recent Covid vaccination drive, conducted successfully without major corruption with the help of tech. The second major hurdle to Indian growth is terrorism. A terrorist attack in any part of the country creates uncertainty, reduces investment in the economy, and tarnishes the image of a country. It pushes an economy backward and hinders growth as a lot of money is spent to prevent such activities instead of it being spent on necessities. India, due to its geographical situation, is extremely vulnerable to terrorism. So, maintaining cordial relations with neighbours and reducing dependency for defence equipment becomes a key concern. Also solving the border disputes, through dialogue or otherwise, may serve the purpose. Thirdly, the cultural and lingual differences across different states of India should remain a testimony to its diversity and not become a threat to its unity. The state should be extra careful in making any statement/law for the country as a whole. Any political party or organisation should not use these differences for their political gains. At last, problems like brain drain also require attention as it results in the loss of valuable manpower from our country. Nearly 10 lakh Indians have given up their citizenship since 2015. This exodus of the brightest minds diminishes the growth prospects. Conflict, political instability, lack of opportunities and health concerns are prime reasons for the same. Over 6 lakh students went abroad for higher studies in 2022. With our finest talent flocking to other countries, India has to bear a huge loss.
Amrit Kaal, an extremely crucial phase for India offers its people a chance to prove their spirit and bring back the glory which they had in the past. It offers a chance to learn from the mistakes done in the past. It unites the people of India to move on the common path of development. Despite many hurdles and challenges, the future of India seems vibrant. An innovative, patriotic and hardworking spirit in the people is all which is required!
By Dhruv Gupta
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