Some people, by the mention of their names, spark arguments and controversy like someone has just thrown oil to a burning fire. Narendra Modi is one of those names. The controversial but highly celebrated Chief Minister of Gujarat has been in the news ever since he came to power, either for the communal riots of 2002 or for the various development projects he has undertaken which has turned Gujarat into the state driving the Indian growth story. There are two kinds of people in this world, one for whom world opinion and the ‘right‘ way of doing things matter, and the other who do what they feel is right, irrespective of debates or consequences. No points for guessing which kind of person Mr Modi is.
Under Modi, Gujarat has become an economic dynamo. From becoming the Chief Minister in 2001, when Gujarat was suffering from the aftermath of a massive earthquake and its economy was shrinking, Modi has transformed Gujarat into a state with the highest growth rate among all Indian states. Some of the plans or schemes he launched are Krishi Mahotsav, Chiranjeevi Yojana, Matru Vandana, Beti Bachao, Jyotigram Yojana, Kanya Kelavani Yojana, among others. Read about them to know what all these are… Read the rest
Sometime back, I had written an article on “Why India’s rural development is important for the nation?” . Now, through this article, I want to stress why our urban development is as important too. We have come a long way since independence in terms of urban economy growth. Urban economy now contributes upto 70% to the nation’s GDP, while this figure was 30% in 1960. In the last 50 years, all over the world cities has risen to become hubs of economic activity and certainly future growth is going to come from our cities.
But unfortunately, the growth and expansion of Indian cities has been unplanned and haphazard. Our cities today face challenges in meeting the demands of infrastructure and resources. The demand for clean water exceeds the supply by about 30%. Waste management systems are almost non-existent, and if they are there, heavily over-stressed with over 40% waste going uncollected. Eco-friendly waste disposal methods are only a dream and even government agencies and engineers are totally unaware about their technicalities. Around 22% of urban population lives in slums and around 25% is below the poverty line. Traffic congestion and pollution has increased like never before.
Clearly, we need to change not only the way our cities are… Read the rest
Today, over 35% of our population is below the age of 20. By 2020, it is expected that 325 million people in India will reach working age, which will be the largest in the world. This will come at a time when the rest of the developed world will be faced with an ageing population. It is estimated that by 2020, US will be short of 17 million people of working age, China by 10 million, Japan by 9 million and Russia by 6 million. At the same time, India will have a surplus of 47 million working people. Even when compared to developing countries, Brazil’s working population is set to grow by 12%, China’s by 1%, Russia’s will decline by 18%, while ours will grow by 30%. This is the reason Goldman Sachs predicted that only India can maintain a 5% growth rate until 2050.
But are our youth unemployable?
Economic growth require not just a large working population, but people who are trained and skilled to work in different industries. Many industries have remarked that people coming out of colleges and universities in India are not employable and they have to give… Read the rest
India lives in its villages, and while the cities have grown immensely over the last 20 years, rural areas have not seen that kind of development. For India’s economy to be strong, the rural economy needs to grow. Rural areas are still plagued by problems of malnourishment, illiteracy, unemployment and lack of basic infrastructure like schools, colleges, hospitals, sanitation, etc. This has led to youth moving out of villages to work in cities. This could be compared to the brain drain from India to US. Our villages need to grow in tandem with cities and standard of life has to improve there for inclusive growth to happen. If rural India is poor, India is poor.
India lives in many generations, and visiting rural areas very easily shows that they lag behind cities by decades. While we have latest services and products available in our cities now, villagers are still coping with age old products. It is easy to see the rising disconnect between cities and villages. Some examples are –
While we have international fully air conditioned schools in our cities, the schools in villages still don’t have benches and chairs, leave alone computers. We have a huge shortage… Read the rest