Why is India not a world leader yet? – Anirban Sengupta

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership”- Harvey S.

What are the qualities required for a country to be considered a World Leader? Countries
those are ranked as best countries of the world are highly regarded for well-being of its
citizens, openness for doing business, entrepreneurship driven environment, standard of life
and its cultural influence. Also, other qualities attributed for world leadership are income equality,
gender equality and its diplomatic and economic influence on regional and global measure.

Let’s look at the reasons for China and Japan to become world leaders. China’s remarkable
growth in last 5-6 decades is attributed to its endeavour to altruism, egalitarian approach,
social equality and economic prosperity. China emerged as an independent state after World
War II. Its political leadership consciously took measures to avoid any civil war which led
to smooth political transition.  Another major decision was to open its market to the rest of
the world and convert Chinese system of political economy to private enterprise market
economy. As a result, later in 1980’s, Chinese economy was concentrated to be export oriented
economy. Also, it simultaneously had a strong domestic market. Its robust macroeconomic
system was evident during Great recession in 2008-09. Leadership of China have taken other
strong measures like fertility control, poverty reduction and strong anti-corruption measures.

Japan’s rise to world leadership is largely attributed to the country’s undying spirit to raise
from the ashes- whether it is a nuclear or a natural disaster. Limited natural resources in
Japan were one of the major hindrances to overcome its balance of payment deficit. Also,
Japan’s economy was technology dependent but capital deficit. However, over time, it started
export of machinery, scientific instruments, equipment, metal products etc. In addition, Japan has
mastered the art of organized and planned development of manufacturing and production
industry, strongly driven by sophisticated technology. The reasons for Japan being one of the
superpowers come from uniqueness of the country and its people like productive
management of time, disciplined and focussed approach to work, healthy management-labour
relationship, generosity and helping attitude towards others, hardworking nature, efficiency
and zero error driven system.

India, after 70 years of Independence and being second most populous country in the world, is not
considered a world leader. Some of the reasons, attributed to this, are listed herewith-

(1) British colonization for almost 200 years left India with a big scar on its economic
development. For most of 18th Century and early 19th Century, India’s economic
performance was significantly poor. Consequently, India’s literacy rate was only 16% in 1947.
There was minimal investment in health and education sector during British era.
British policy of deindustrialization had harsh effect on India’s growth which took
many years to recover.

(2) China opened its market in 1978 whereas; India took another 13 years for economic
liberation. Both countries had comparative GDP growth rates till 1976, but since
then Chinese growth rate shoot up and size of its economy is $ 11 trillion whereas
that of India’s is USD 2.2 trillion.

(3) The political uncertainty in Pakistan, issue of illegal migration from neighbouring
Bangladesh, Sino-Indian border dispute over Arunachal Pradesh creates security
challenges to India and emphasising regional non-cooperation thereby affecting
sustained economic growth.

(4) Corruption, political indecisiveness and policy paralysis have left India’s growth at
least 10 years behind. As a result, infrastructure sector is mostly affected due to impediments
like land acquisition, environmental clearance, corruption in public institutions,
political influences etc. Consequently, adverse investment environment affected India’s ranking in
“Ease of doing Business” index.

(5) India is projected to be world’s third largest economy by 2030, but still lags behind
many developing countries in terms of providing basic healthcare and basic
education. India’s Maternal Mortality Ratio is second largest in South Asian
countries, ahead of Iran, Srilanka, Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and
Pakistan. India is yet to implement universal healthcare programmes across all
states. Also, India lags behind in average education expenditure per primary and
secondary student. Consequently, India is ranked among bottom six countries in Government
funding of University research. Poor investment in higher education means India
cannot be at par with World’s top research institutes.


India will be the world leader only when the country shall be able to create global leaders. In
Constitution of India, under 42 nd amendment drafted in 1976, fundamental duties of each and
every citizen of India are identified (e.g. to abide by the constitution and respect its ideals and
institutions, National Flag and National Anthem, to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity
and integrity of India, to promote harmony and spirit of common brotherhood etc.). There
should be collective effort from all Indians to make this possible. First of all, honesty should
be our main religion which comes before everything. Furthermore, each citizen should have
utmost respect for fellow citizens.

We can push ourselves towards the goal only when we
promote the dharma of equality for all. There should not be any cultural, regional or gender
biasness. All religions should be equally respected. Indian citizens must be disciplined in all
aspects of life. It is the discipline who teaches us to overcome fear, negativity and gives us
courage to face stiffest of opposition. Therefore, we should pass on this culture to our next generation as

It is responsibility of every citizen to strive for a corruption free environment. Therefore, fighting
against corruption in whatsoever form should be our motto. In addition, to implement Mahatma
Gandhi’s vision of ‘Clean India’, every Indian needs to devote 100 hours every year to build
a Swatch Bharat by 2019. Right to education and right to health are two pillars for achieving
human and economic development. We Indians have responsibility to protect and improve
the natural environment to eradicate pollution from our society. Abiding to our duties as responsible citizens of India shall certainly have ripple effects to lead our country towards positioning itself as a world leader.

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