Propelling India’s development requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses the nation’s unique challenges and opportunities. India is a country of immense diversity, with a burgeoning population and a rapidly growing economy. To achieve sustainable development, it is crucial to balance economic growth with social and environmental considerations. Investment in critical infrastructure, education, and healthcare is essential to empower the population and harness the demographic dividend. Furthermore, a shift towards renewable energy sources and sustainable practices is necessary to mitigate the environmental impact of development. India’s success in propelling its development will not only benefit its citizens but also serve as a model for other nations grappling with similar issues on the path to progress.
Tag: GS Paper – 3: Employment; Growth & Development; Poverty; Education; Skill Development; Human Resource.
Aiming for the moon; Criticism of the moonshot development strategy; Inequalities, a hurdle for progress; Reinstate state support.
India must redouble efforts to make economic growth more inclusive and broad-based.
Decoding the editorial: Aiming for the moon
The momentous steps India had taken in the decades immediately after Independence may be characterised as a ‘moonshot’ approach to development deploying, modern industrialisation to shake off the ills of the past.
- Space research: When India started space research in the 1960s, many thought it was being reckless as India was sinking some of its limited resources in a highly uncertain enterprise.
- This year, India became the first nation to land a rover on the south pole of the moon, followed up with a mission to study the sun.
- Technical institutes: Between 1951 and 1961, India established five Indian Institutes of Technology, which in no time grew into globally respected academic centres.
- The first two Indian Institutes of Management were inaugurated in 1961.
- Public Sector Industries: During the two decades of the 1950s and 1960s, a number of public sector units were established in diverse areas of industrial production.
- It included steel, fertiliser, machine tools, electric machinery, drug production, and petrochemicals.
- Private enterprises: The technological capabilities built through state support provided the base for the flourishing of private enterprise in many sectors.
- Professionals, who were earlier trained in India’s public universities, have found leadership positions globally, which has deepened India’s strategic importance.
Criticism of the moonshot development strategy
- The time needed for a new technology to come to fruition is too long.
- It is not only that the benefits from a technology are long in coming, but they are also difficult to be kept exclusive for private profiteering.
- Its heavy reliance on public investment.
- It is precisely because of the ‘public good’ nature of technologies that public sector support becomes crucial for developing them.
- Even the Internet emerged from a research programme funded by the United States government, with military objectives, in the late 1950s.
- However, this investment did not waver for lack of short-term commercial viability.
- The investments being ‘misdirected’.
- Being a labour surplus country, India should have stuck to its comparative advantages in labour-intensive industries, such as garments or footwear.
Inequalities, a hurdle for progress
The lacklustre record for India’s development strategy was not on account of the government doing too much in the area of technology building. It was because the state or the government could not intervene effectively to reduce inequalities.
- Unsuccessful land reforms: Ownership of assets continues to be very low among the socially oppressed communities, including Dalits or the Scheduled Caste (SC) population.
- Lack of access to education: The lack of assets translate into hurdles in acquiring education, given that India has consistently underinvested in basic education for the masses.
- Unequal labour market: The historically determined inequalities in the social spheres get replicated in the labour market.
- In 2021-22, 38.2% of all SC workers were ‘casual’, earning their livelihoods mostly out of hard manual labour; the corresponding proportion was 11.2% for workers belonging to the (‘other’) general category castes (Periodic Labour Force Survey data).
- Lopsided industrial and economic growth: Domestic demand comes largely from the upper income classes, who constitute only a small, though substantial in absolute numbers, segment of the population.
- This has slowed down the growth of manufacturing of high-quality, mass-consumption goods, including food products and garments.
- Entrepreneurship too has emerged from a narrow social base.
Reinstate state support
- India must reinstate technological efforts to stand a chance in fast-growing economic fields, be it semiconductors or biotechnology.
- India must reinstate support for its industries.
- After 1991, India abandoned planning for industrial growth assuming, mistakenly, that there is no role for industrial policy in a globalised economy.
- Both the United States and China are lavishing government support for their industries.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What are the key challenges hindering India’s development?
A: India faces various challenges, including poverty, inadequate infrastructure, unemployment, and environmental degradation. Overcoming these hurdles requires a comprehensive and targeted approach.
2. How can India balance economic growth with environmental sustainability?
A: India can achieve this balance by promoting renewable energy sources, implementing stringent environmental regulations, and investing in green technologies. Encouraging sustainable practices across industries is also vital.
3. What role does education play in India’s development?
A: Education is a cornerstone of India’s development. It empowers individuals, reduces inequality, and fosters innovation. Ensuring quality education for all is crucial to harness the country’s demographic dividend.
4. How can India address the issue of unemployment in its development journey?
A: India can tackle unemployment by fostering entrepreneurship, skill development programs, and promoting labor-intensive industries. Encouraging job creation through initiatives like “Make in India” can also be effective.
5. What is the significance of infrastructure development in propelling India’s growth?
A: Infrastructure development is essential for economic growth. It improves connectivity, facilitates trade, and enhances the overall quality of life. Investments in transportation, energy, and digital infrastructure are key to India’s development.
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