India; Hurdles to Cross Before Becoming a Superpower
India gained independence on 15th august, 1947.In arguably the most memorable speech in Indian History; Jawarhlal Nehru ji stated, “We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell.” Beckoning the prosperity, he hoped would take India by storm. In most regards he had predicted correctly. Yet one hill remains unconquered, achieving the status of a superpower. We have made numerous strides, yet it remains a thorn in our side due to multiplicity of reasons. However, this task won’t remain unfulfilled for long; India is an up-and-coming country, and it is well established that this feat is soon to come.
India has a long path ahead of itself before joining the biggest of leagues. Plagued is the word that comes to mind when we think of the past two years: in both literal sense and the figurative sense of the word. We have started moving in the right direction however right now it is a long way off. If we look at only the rankings: India ranks 177/180 in the environmental index; we rank 139/149 in the happiness index amongst the underdeveloped countries; we ranked 131 in the Human development index (2020); 111th in the human freedom index.
Reading the above-mentioned rankings might damper our mood, but there’s also areas we excel at: our military is that of second largest in the world; recent years we have made developments in ease of doing business in India at an exponential rate, we have brought up SEZ’s, FDI, JM’s. Our IT sector has also been developing at a sizeable rate.
However, a true superpower doesn’t relate to power only, various aspects have to be looked after before joining the group of countries who already have this rare title. India as a whole has so many disparities; we have the 4th richest person in the world, yet our streets are plagued with poverty, cultural insensitivity runs deep, gender misinformation, hunger are the problems our countries citizens face. We could have the largest economy down the line, but with illiteracy in the country all its going to do is give other countries a chance to exploit us. We must tread carefully on the track of development, by looking at the whole picture not just the financial side or the defense side. “Sabka saath sabka vikas”
Indian population is a point of concern as well; we are the seventh largest country, yet our population is the second highest and we are set to overtake China as well. Population is difficult tool to yield correctly; if mastered, it can bring prosperity to all, but having no control of it just means more public spending, less amenities available for an individual, fierce competition, etc. This population boom is prevalent in India and without being able to curb it, India is long ways off achieving superpower status.
Investing in health and education is a priority that has been misplaced a bit over the past few years. Health and education is the solution to most problems and is unarguably the biggest thorn in our side. By boosting our education and health sector, we would be on track to reach superpower status. India has a literacy rate of 77% (2020) which compared to our neighbors is mediocre at best. Our health infrastructure isn’t in much better shape either, most of it characterized by the word dilapidated, only made to earn brownie points with the citizens for votes; has fallen into disrepair and negligence. Only after we change our priorities to focus on these sectors, we will be able to get the highly acclaimed title.
India also has to overcome the challenges of insanitation; the government has tried to fix this issue with the launch of “swacch Bharat abhiyan”. Progress has been made, but it is everyone’s responsibility to not let this movement grow cold. The main culprit in insanitation is open defecation: be it due to old habits or inaccessibility to a toiled, open defecation plagues India as a country and can be attributed to numerous health problems. We have to a) provide them the accessibility to a toilet and b) change their mindset about such things. About 6.8 percent of the rural population defecated in the open (as of 2018-2019).
Infrastructure has been consistent, but there have been no major breakthroughs. India has a had sub-par public amenities, we excel in the railway side of things; now it is time to develop other means of transport and make it available for everyone to avail. The government has invested 35% of the GDP in infrastructure. However, it is assumed we need 1.5 trillion $ to get our infrastructure at the level of other super powers’. This goes hand in hand with the agenda of “make in India”. As good infrastructure is said to be the backbone of manufacturing.
We have to start being a self-reliant country. We are already rated the 6th largest exporter in the world. India is the key exporter for rice, petroleum jelly, buffalos, jewelry, etc. However, we have to reduce our imports and increase our exports for two main reasons: a) more the material we export more dependence we create for other countries on us and b) it stimulates our economy, brings inflow of cash. Recent strides in the policies making and industrial developments. Needless to say it’s a bit out of our reach but down the line this goal is very achievable
We are fighting an uphill battle to reduce unemployment. Recent schemes such as MGNERGA have made attempts to reduce this. Wide spread unemployment results in reducing the optimized output of a country
To conclude India has been making developments in most sectors and the we are an up and coming country. Yet the title of super power is just out our grasp, it is a long and challenging road before we reach the prize of the acclaimed, powerful title of “world super power”. If we optimize the country and improve living conditions, then I believe we certainly will be the one to watch in the next decade.
– Hriday Arora