India has a very mixed economy, ranging very old-fashioned agricultural techniques to the state-of-the-art Information Technology Industry that has transformed Bangalore into the IT capital of Asia. Recently India has enjoyed massive economic growth, people are flocking to invest in India and our people are growing steadily richer. This huge accumulation of wealth has led to the widespread use of the popular slogan “India is Shining!” Congratulations should go to this man: Manmohan Singh who as Finance Minister and now as Prime Minister is orchestrating the massive liberalization that has led to India’s economic boom
Some Encouraging Statistics.. <ul><li>India is the second fastest growing major economy with a 9.2% increase in GDP per year </li></ul><ul><li>India is already the third largest economy in the world at PPP </li></ul><ul><li>India has seen a huge amount of foreign direct investment in the country, totaling 67.72 billion dollars and is said to be one of the “preferred options” for FDI </li></ul><ul><li>India’s poverty level is decreasing by 10% annually </li></ul><ul><li>Indian companies have gone on a buying rampage, with Tata Steel acquiring Corus, Mittal buying Arcelor and Tata looking set to buy Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford. </li></ul><ul><li>Every year India’s middle class is increased by 40,000,000 new members which shows that the wealth is truly entering society </li></ul><ul><li>The Bombay Stock Exchange’s value has been consistently rising, currently worth 1.61 trillion dollars, the largest in South East Asia. </li></ul><ul><li>Unemployment has dropped by 2% annually, and illiteracy and mortality rates have also been falling, indicating that India is not only growing but developing too. </li></ul>
India’s growth has been fuelled mostly by the Services Sector. India has comparatively little industry, the secondary sector employs only 12% of the workforce while services employ 28% and the primary sector 60%. Most agree that India’s growth has almost entirely been achieved by the private sector. This has been most noticeable in the IT industry, which has a value of 50 billion USD, and is growing at almost 30%. Many foreign firms conduct Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) which includes call centres and business solutions programs in India, largely thanks to India’s massive English-speaking workforce.
Some Corporate Achievements in India The Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest production car Kingfisher Airways, voted the best airline of south-east Asia The HCL laptop, the cheapest production laptop The Infosys IT training campus – the largest in the world
So far India has come a long way from a broken, divided conflict-ridden ex-colony to a nation who’s economy has recently overtaken it’s old colonial master’s, but what of the future? What problem does India face and what role is it likely to play in the future? India’s boom was prompted by a massive liberalization of the economy and the subsequent growth in the private sector. This needs to be taken further, however the Indian government is made out of a shaky coalition which includes members of the Left Front and even Communists, so further liberalization looks difficult to attain. India’s infrastructure is a massive problem, workers spend up to four hours commuting and an estimated 13 million dollars worth of production is lost daily due to poor infrastructure which may worsen with the recent move towards low cost cars, pioneered by Tata’s Nano. Education is a major problem, with a semi-skilled workforce and very poor primary education India may loose much of it’s investment to China, where more people are learning English than anywhere else in the world Red tape and corruption also pose a threat, Forbes ranks India as the hardest country to invest in , in terms of regulations and bureaucracy as well as trade union difficulties. If these problems are solved then the future for India looks bright, India might well become one of the superpowers of the 21 st Century.
Agriculture is still the biggest employer in India, with 54% of the Population engaged in Farming. 43 % of all Indian land is used in agriculture, but it only contributes 18% of the nation’s GDP Many farmers are subsistence farmers. According to the WHO, 61% of all farmers cultivate less than 0.4 hectares – only enough to feed their own family, with little left over to sell.
Agricultural Prices fluctuate wildly and often farmers are forced into debt, produced by extortionist interest rates which are unregulated by the government. They enter “cycles of debt” so the money they earn is never their own. Pressed by either famine and no crops, or a bumper crop and collapsing prices, farmers are often driven to suicide. Since 1997 when the statistics were first recorded 25,000 farmers have taken their lives in India. In the Vidarbha District of Maharashtra 1920 farmers killed themselves between January and August of 2007. This woman is looking for her brother who left a suicide note at her house, they cannot find his body. In one district of Maharashtra alone, a farmer kills himself every eight hours.
Healthcare: Our Fundamental Right Our life expectancy is 68 years, making our life expectancy the 139nth out of 172 countries. A growing threat: 5.7 million Indians have AIDS or HIV out of which 40 % are women We only one hospital bed for every 74 patients who need one. We have only one doctor for every 1,230 people. Despite these statistics, the Indian Government still spends more on defence than it does on health.
Education <ul><li>Our literacy rate is 61% making us the 145 th in the World, just above war-torn Sudan and just below genocidal Rwanda . </li></ul><ul><li>Literacy is defined as “The ability to sign one’s name” so complete literacy is likely to be even less. </li></ul><ul><li>Though there is good news: in 2006 there were an estimated 82% of Indian children enrolled in school </li></ul>Guns are more important than books: 2.9% of GDP is spend on defence compared to 2.6% on education. Is it guns or education that will really make India shine?
Poverty and Inequality <ul><li>345 Million Indians live under the poverty line . This means that one in three Indians live on less than twenty rupees (25 European cents) per day. </li></ul><ul><li>7.8 of all Indians are unemployed – India comes in at 94 th in terms of employment. </li></ul><ul><li>Using the GINI coefficient – which is the only reliable method of calculating inequality India scores 36.8 were 0 is perfect equality and 100 is perfect inequality, putting India in the bottom 50 of all ranked nations in the world. </li></ul>
So the question still remains, is India really shining? Or is it mere propaganda? There statistics that we’ve mentioned paint two pictures, some showing how far India has come and other’s showing how far we have to go, how do we reconcile these two Indias? Which one is the real India? The answer probably lies in the middle, India is definitely growing, and assuming a larger role on the world stage, more people are becoming richer, the number of poor are decreasing and society as a whole is slowly improving. The fact still remains, however, that a vast proportion of the population live in the worst kind of poverty seen in the world and are denied access to basic standards of living that is theirs by right. There is hope for the future, as India grows and develops, more and more people are able to afford a better lifestyle and more get access to essential services but in our boundless optimism for India’s future we should not forget the vast sections of society for whom the phrase “India Shining” is utterly meaningless.