India: An Emerging Power in the World
Rare are the moments in history when a nation suddenly captures the imagination of the world. For India, those rare moments have arrived. The country is achieving a high economic growth of over 8 per cent of its GDP annually, on a consistent basis. In fact, India’s economic growth rate is second highest in the world-next only to China. The developed world has been left behind. The two Asian giants-India and China have today turned the leaders of growth of the global economy.
One can get the measure of India’s resurgent economy from the fact that the world GDP growth is around 4 per cent. For advanced countries, the growth rate is around 3.5 per cent, while India is maintaining its GDP growth around 8.5 per cent of its GDP. The economic experts feel that the average world’s growth rates could have been dismal if they had not been boosted by the resurgent economies of India and China. It is the high growth rates of these two Asian giants that are keeping the global economy floating and preventing it from sinking in deep depression.
India’s growth rate, though quite remarkable at present is about two per cent lower than that of China. But the country is fast catching up with its eastern neighbour, and the predictions are that India will soon overtake China-which started its economic reforms in 1979-full 12 years earlier than India. India started its economic reforms in 1991 amidst deep economic crisis.
The process of reforms was halted with the exit of Narsimha Rao’s government in 1996. By late 1990s and the early years of the new millennium, the reforms were slowed down as the Left parties in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) were against privatisation and globalisation of Indian economy.
However, the process of reforms gathered momentum when Dr. Manmohan Singh-the Finance Minister in Rao’s government and the author of economic reforms became the Prime Minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance. Though the compulsions of coalition politics prevent him from putting reform process in full swing, yet the reform process is being accelerated. The industrial production has been achieving high growth- in the vicinity of 15 per cent year-on-year. The production has covered large-scale medium, small-scale and tiny industries.
There has been a balance in various types of industries like mining and quarrying, steel and cement, primary industries as well as secondary industries. The range of production has been very vast including electronics, textile, transportation, pharmaceuticals, power generation, electricals, various types of consumer durables, etc. As a result of high production, the local business in these items has flourished leading to increased corporate profits, a high rate of saving and investment and hence, capital formation. The revenue that the government earns in the shape of taxes-direct as well as indirect has increased many-fold. With this increase in revenue the government has been able to set up new projects for development, and complete already started projects. Many sick industrial units have either been merged with other healthy units or have been rehabilitated with additional grants. Development in the industrial sector has given new opportunities in trade and employment to millions of people.
Our computer software and Information Technology have progressed by leaps and bounds during the last decade. Many computer software parks and IT-enabled services parks have been set up in different cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Noida and elsewhere. The number of companies doing such business has increased more than 100 per cent during the last ten years. India has become an expert in computer technology. Several companies from Europe and America are outsourcing their business through India. Our major IT companies like Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Satyam Computers, Tech Mahindra and HCL are generating profit of millions of rupees every year. A number of call centres have come up in major cities to cater to the needs of outsourcing business.
Our exports have almost doubled during the last four years. The foreign exchange reserves have crossed US $ 200 billion which have given India a great financial strength. Our rupee has become very strong against the other international currencies- notably dollar, pound and euro.
However, there is poverty amidst plenty in many areas. Millions people live in poverty and destitution. They do not have even the basic amenities of life, viz. food, clothing and shelter. This is because of the large size of our population, illiteracy, poor public distribution system and corruption. But, things are improving fast in India. Centuries of exploitative rule by the British had drained India of its wealth. After achieving independence, the country had a great task of rebuilding the basic infrastructure, spread education and bring new technology.
The planned growth put the country back on track. Today, the literacy rate has improved to over 75 per cent, the per capita income has crossed Rs 25,000, health care facilities are available in every part of the country, and employment opportunities are growing. The large size of the population is actually a great source which can lead the country to dizzy heights. Nearly fifty per cent of our population is young which means a great working potential, which, if properly utilized can increase production and eradicate poverty.
India is the biggest democracy in the world. The governments at the centre as well as at the states level are elected on the basis of universal adult franchise. Although the country is a melting pot of different communities, religious and languages, all enjoy equal rights and share the same responsibilities. There is no distinction between people on the basis of caste, creed and religion. The political structure is well laid down in the tenets of the Constitution so that there is no political crisis. There has been a stable political atmosphere in the country right from independence. The political deadlocks, if any, are resolved peacefully.
Such stability and system has served as an abject lesson for many other countries and enhanced India’s stature in the world at large. India’s foreign policy also has been open and clear-aiming to develop friendly relations with other countries, including its neighbours. At international meetins and conferences, India is given a pride-of-place. The developing countries look to India for guidance and help.
Militarily, India is one of the strongest countries in the world. Having the third largest army in the world, it has a huge arsenal of weaponry including nuclear weapons. Its Army, Navy and Air Force are always ready to meet any challenge. India believes in having peaceful relations with other countries, but in today’s world of changing equation, it is necessary to have a military might to deter other countries to do any mischief.
During the last decade or so, India has shown a tremendous all-round progress. Its economy has grown at face pace, the social life of people has in general been peaceful and progressive. The main indicators like literacy, per capita income, employment, etc. have been positive. The rights of people are well protected. The world is now looking at India with a renewed respect-as it is an emerging power in the world.