Twenty first century belongs to Asia and India is potentially one of strongest contender for emerging as an economic superpower. This opportunity window is there for the asking but will it happen or not is the question, the entire Indian citizenry is holding its breath for. Happening of this miracle depends totally on the wisdom, vision, far sight and honesty of purpose of the Indian leadership.
There is no doubt about the wisdom of the men at the top but sadly majority of their actions are guided by their baser instincts like lust for gaining power and sticking to it by fair means or foul. This more often than not results in their actions leading simply to vote catching rhetoric in stead of furthering the cause of India’s march to prosperity and status of economic superpower.
The economic superpowers/giants of today are at that position not by a stroke of luck but because of the ability of their leaders to guide the destiny of those nations in the right manner.Mind you at the turn of the 20th century these countries were economically perhaps worse off than where India is today. This does not imply that it should take India something like five or six decades to realize this potential of economic superpower.
As a matter of fact, India should be galloping on the road to prosperity because it does not have to tread on the same beaten path of science,engineering and technology evolution unless and until it is foolish enough to experience reinventing of wheel all by itself. There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. There are many pitfalls on the road to becoming an economic giant.
India must learn from the experience of others and try to nip these pitfalls at the earliest. The challenges that need to be looked into and overcome for realizing what is there for the asking. The first and foremost is curbing the menace of corruption and black money. In fact it is corruption and corruption alone which is blowing away Indian dream of getting prosperous. The country must understand that corruption and black money is the biggest drag on its economy and is eating into all the good work being attempted by governments in a very big way.
There cannot be a substitute for corruption mitigation and good governance – the biggest growth engines for Indian economy. The present economic downturn and melt down in global economy is a result of overdoing of social welfare by those countries and if they could not sustain with excesses of social welfare schemes there is no way the Indian economy in its very infancy can pull off this miracle. In fact social welfare schemes have been the bane of many advanced economies of the world and these include allowances to jobless, pensionary benefits, health insurance etc. to name a few.
There is no doubt that these are a must for any concerned government but all these benefits must be granted in a manner that they are self sustaining and in no case, at any point of time be a drag on the economy. India must learn from the horrid experiences of the western world and imbibe remedial measures to keep its date with the status of an economic superpower of 21st century. Reigning in population growth should be the topmost agenda of all Indian governments.
In late fifties and early sixties of last century, everyone was engrossed in the debate ‘ Is India Overpopulated ‘ and invariably one would come to the conclusion that India was certainly not overpopulated in the true economic sense as the land/mineral resources could certainly more than suffice for a population density of about 270 persons per sq. mile. Can we say the same with the present population density of about 750/ sq. mile.
India is definitely on the verge of getting overpopulated if not already overpopulated. Today we talk of the demographic dividend but after a couple of decades this dividend is going to become a curse with more and more persons joining the ranks of pensioners and enjoying these benefits for very long periods because of increasing life expectancy as a result of good medical care and facilities provided by the Indian government. While the western world grew old after becoming rich, there is every likelihood that India will grow old before getting rich if the long term impacts of population numbers and demography are not taken care of now.
Proper and out of the box management of water resources of India. comprising of perennial rivers, plenty of rainfall and underground water table. All civilizations and all prosperous geographies on our globe owe their very existence to the abundance of available water resource in their areas. Though India has been gifted by nature with a huge and well distributed water resource comprising of perennial rivers, plenty of rainfall and underground water table but the nation has not bothered to maintain it properly.
This is amply seen in the snowline moving higher and higher and the groundwater table going deeper and deeper. This being a direct result of shoddy policies of the government emanating from quest for energy security through use of fossil fuels, deforestation because of pressures of growth in population and failure to harness any substantial amount of river water, in fact a major portion of this water is allowed to go to sea.
Infrastructure is the core of all economic growth and index of a common man’s comfort and conveniences and its importance is very well understood by the planners and economists. But simply raising the rhetoric is not enough. The nation is eagerly looking forward to some concrete action which is getting sacrificed at the altar of good governance. In fact India is plagued by bad governance in road and infrastructure sector.
Energy security : If infrastructure is the core, energy security is the mother of all economic growth and much to the chagrin of all well meaning citizens of India is not only prey to bad governance but the path taken by the rulers and planners is directionless and not in sync with the futuristic realities of energy security scene all over the globe. India must draw strength from the fact that the oil rich countries have simply transformed their economies by getting the best out of their abundantly available energy source i.e. oil.
Luckily for India, it has abundant solar, wind and hydro resources and in fact many times more than the country’s likely requirements by the turn of the century. The thrust in researches and technology development should logically come from India whose needs during the next decade or two for additional power are may be 5 times its present power production. With the pluses of resource availability, massive demand and almost nothing to loose because of obsolescence of high value investments in research, technology and manufacturing infrastructure for any other power production mode, India must seize this opportunity which can be the biggest catalyst in India’s march to the status of a global superpower.
All human beings are inherently wedded to the philosophy of getting short term gains, the gains that bring reward to the person in quickest possible time. The short term solution or patchwork may appear to be lucrative for the run of the mill polity but the long term fixes are a must for India, the potential superpower of the 21st century.
Statesmen think of next generation and create opportunities, Leaders Seize opportunities that come their way, while Politicians think of next elections and fritter away these opportunities and dirty politicians simply mess up everything and this is what separates wise men from men, men from boys and boys from impudent louts in the realm of changing fate of a nation.