Mar. 11, 2005
India with a population of over a billion and an economy growing at over six percent is unlikely to become the most developed country in the world by 2050, however, it may be one of the most developed countries in the world by then.
It will be useful to list some of the characteristics of a developed country. According to Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), the development of a country can be measured by the happiness of its people. What is the Gross National Happiness (GNH) of India? What is the Composite National Power (CNP) of India?
To become the most developed or even a highly developed country the Indian authorities, industry and civil society institutions have to provide essentials such as a food, housing, education and employment opportunities for Indians.
If the 2004 national election is an indicator to go by, the majority of Indians did not receive the benefits of economic growth and they rejected the BJP led coalition whose slogan was ‘India Shining’ as this light did not reflect on the millions of urban and rural poor.
As M.K. Gandhi (1869-1947), said, India lives in her villages. This is a premise that no politician cannot ignore. There is a tendency among Indian politicians to only pay attention to villagers and farmers when they need their votes. In a developed country such as Switzerland farmers are the most influential block and no politician would do anything to upset them.
It should be kept in mind that IT contributes only about four percent to the GNP of India and no once can ignore the social, political and economic problems that cannot be addressed without having a holistic approach to development that goes beyond the middle and upper classes.
India needs to harness its spirituality so it can develop in a holistic manner like Japan. An anthropocentric or consumerist model of development leaves much to be desired and may in the long-term do more harm than good. Swamy Vivekanand (1863-1902), called on India to conquer the world with her spirituality and in this instance India needs to conquer its poverty with its spirituality.
One needs to keep in mind that while India is developing, other countries, which have a head start over India in infrastructure and education etc, are also moving ahead at breakneck speed.
One of the downsides of the Indian Technology (IT) revolution may be unprecedented automation that will create mass unemployment starting in 2015. Is IT a Frankenstein? One just has to look at the computer Professor Stephen Hawking uses to communicate.
India s likely to become a superpower in pharmaceuticals especially lifestyle drugs in the near future. India needs to fully develop its national and regional markets and modernise its income tax regime. Sri Lanka welcome the economic development of India and supports is bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Unless India is able to curb its population growth, eradicate illiteracy, raise the status of women, reduce income disparities, solve its environmental, infrastructure problems and find alternate sources of energy to drive its economy, it will not be possible for India to become the most developed country by 2050.
Vivekananda A Biography
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About the author: Mr. Ravindra Wickremasinghe is the Foreign News Editor of The Business Standard newspaper of Sri Lanka.
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