Song of youth
As a young citizen of India,
Armed with technology, knowledge and love for my nation
I realize, small aim is a crime.
I will work and sweat for a great vision
The vision of transforming India into a developed nation
Powered by economic strength and a value system
I am one of the citizens of the billion;
Only the vision will ignite the billion souls.
It has entered into me;
The ignited soul compared to any resource is the
Most powerful resource on the earth,
above the earth and under the earth.
Excerpted with permission from A Manifesto for Change, APJ Abdul Kalam and V Ponraj, HarperCollins India.
A country can prosper if only it’s citizens are well equipped with educational, infrastructural and health care facilities in the form of inclusive growth. What we aim for an for an ideal nation to be like, hundred percent literacy, zero poverty, affordable health care facilities for all, quality education with employable skill sets as in value-added employment opportunities for every citizen which is consistent with his education and professional skills.
Talking about the journey, the Indian economy has travelled so far, it has been a one of the largest contributors to global growth. It also accounts for 10% of the world’s increase in economic activity over the last decade. Also the GDP per capita in PPP (purchasing power parity) terms has increased three-folds than in 2000.
But this period also been the witness of rise in inequality, which is mainly driven by income gaps between different strata of society, and a growing urban-rural divide. India still continues to have the largest number of poor in the world (where approximately 300 million are in extreme poverty). Hence, despite India’s relatively strong record in terms of socio-economic growth over the last decade, its middle class still remains small and getting a job is no guarantee of escaping poverty and other issues. Also growth has been quite slow, off lately in recent years and there are several challenges which remain unsolved. Thus bringing more people into the process of generating growth and sharing the gains more widely will help India becoming more resilient for the future.
When we look at the results which rank the nations on the basis of above mentioned parameters, we realize India is lagging behind in several of its key factors which constitute a healthy nation. Below mentioned diagram explains it all.
Though we witnessed a phase of over 9% growth in GDP on year to year basis, still the question remains, how inclusive is this growth? We need to take further action to ensure that the growth process is broad-based so that we can reduce the share of the population which is living on less than rs 100 a day, most of them are employed in informal and low skilled jobs basically comprising of unorganized sector. Even educational enrollment rates are comparatively low across all levels, and the quality of education varies greatly which leads to notable differences in competitive performance among students from different socioeconomic backgrounds.
The gender gaps in labor force participation and wages is another cause of concern for removing gender bias. To establish equality, the awareness is needed that Indian women are not benefiting equally from economic opportunities. While India does scores well in terms of access to finance for business establishment, development and real economy investment (investment which is channeled towards productive uses), yet there are administrative burdens which needed to be taken care of, for full scale utilization of free economy. Also, India under-exploits the use of fiscal transfers compared to peer countries. If we look at certain figures, published by world economic forum 2015, we will find that labor productivity in India is just 8% compared to that of japan at 96%. We lack in setting up sufficient number of vocational training institutes in India for employing the young population to provide them a sustained mode of livelihood. We also need to equitize the access of basic services in India.
If we channelize our integrated efforts in all these directions, the economic development of our nation is certain. The talented and ignited minds of the youth of this nation who have immense faith and potential in this nation, is bubbling with “I can Do” spirit. We certainly can hope to get some creative and brilliant leadership at all levels from Panchayat to Parliament.
We may say that Indian political institutions try to be inclusive due to democratic set-up we follow. But what we fail to realize is that these political institutions couldn’t succeed in creating inclusive economic institutions, which is also evident from the economic situation we have around us today. Thus complementing the fact that India’s economic growth wasn’t sustainable for long. Hence there is a urgent and dire need for transforming our partially inclusive political institutions into fully inclusive political and economic institutions. Thus the delay in reforms and improvements in economic efficiency can be utilized for reducing trade deficit and inflation
For a more sustained growth over a long period of time, we might look into areas where India has its core competence like 1. Agriculture and food processing 2. Education and healthcare 3. Information and communication technology.