What in your opinion is preventing India from becoming a developed nation?
By Hardik Tokas and Deepanshi Singhal
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
- R. Buckminster Fuller
India is the world’s largest democracy and second most populous country. From 1947 to 2019, India has had a remarkable record of development- socially, economically, politically and culturally. Out of a few worry-generating factors, the main hindrance has been the continuous growth of population which creates a barrier in our development goals due to which there is no ‘real productivity’, leading to impediments in the national development agenda and dilution of benefits of welfare-schemes. Delving deeper, one prominent reason for population-increase can be attributed to the continuous arrival of refugees in India. From the time of partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, more than 1 crore refugees migrated to India, and similarly in 1971, more than 1 crore Bangladeshi refugees infiltrated the Indian territory. To add to this, continuous inflow of Nepali and Tibetan immigrants continued. Further, around two decades ago, more than five lakh Tamilian refugees from Sri Lanka had migrated to India because of the Sri Lankan-Tamil ethnicity-issue that had led to notorious militant activities. Such instances of entry of refugee-immigrants is a factor quite responsible for India’s population-explosion, which in turn is the prime cause of our ‘underdevelopment’. Another issue that merits immediate attention is the quality of education being delivered in the country, that’s continuing to deteriorate. The country is still struggling with issues like illiteracy, which in turn leads to unemployment and ‘poverty-trap’. Geographical locales like areas in the Himalayan region or arid desert lands or any remote village for that matter might manage to attract tourists, researchers or photographers, but poses great challenges for the locals in receiving quality-education and healthcare, meaningful employment, and holistic development. Moreover, the otherwise rich cultural diversity and unique community-practices (at times, rigid, orthodox, or even irrational in nature) makes it difficult for many to get in touch with trends common to modern society.
Furthermore, the present scenario of Indian healthcare and medical-facility dispensation system is not rosy, due to high costs involved in treating modern-day illnesses and disorders. Budgetary allocations for ‘Health Expenditure’ is comparatively lower than what is enjoyed by other sectors. Lack of wide accessibility to standard medical amenities is also a concern. However, despite all low-points, figures and statistics show that Indian economy is still booming, making it one of the steadily-growing and fastest-emerging economic powers of the Asian continent and even the world, to a considerable extent
Lastly, it is pertinent to mention that the infectious influence of capitalist ideology has led to what we can observe as the ‘rich-poor divide’ which is getting wider by the day, resulting in exploitation and discrimination against the poor and hapless. In urban areas, the trend of cultural homogenization has sadly led us to overlook the gems of our own ancient civilization, culture, ethics and moral fabric – all part of the land the world knows as ‘Incredible India’!
Challenges to Economic Development
Our country had been ruled by the British for nearly 200 years. They looted our country’s resources and left our country in a poverty stricken condition. But our political leaders played a very important role in the renewed socio-economic development of the nation. The Government considered the fact that majority of our working-population were engaged in the agrarian sector and in the manufacturing of handicraft items, but due to the introduction of industrially produced goods, they were fast losing their economic foothold, and could easily succumb to the competition. Fair wage-policy and schemes for ensuring basic livelihood to laborers tried to resolve the issues temporarily. Later, rapid industrial growth across the nation made many people shift to the industrial sector from the agrarian ‘comfort zone’.
After considering major economic developments made post-1947, the two glaring drawbacks that are arresting us from achieving greater heights in development are as follows:
India stands at second position with largest population after china. India’s population is growing at 20% per decade, leading many problems like food deficiency, deteriorating sanitation, decline in resources, increasing pollution and there are citizens whose living standard has not changed. According to the World Bank poverty methodology of January 2019 India has third position with largest number of people living in extreme poverty i.e. 3.6% of the total population and there are no employment opportunities to make their living conditions better. Malnutrition and malnourishment is a huge problem in India causing anemia in women, childhood stunting i.e. poor growth and development of child physically and mentally due to poor nutrition. In India only 6% of poor have access to tap water, 21% has access to proper sanitation. High growth of population a pressure is being created upon the natural resources because there are unlimited wants and limited supply.
India is still struggling for the development of its education infrastructure, healthcare infrastructure, and infrastructure of public utilities.
Firstly, in our perspective the education infrastructure has four major challenges which are:
· We are having over-commercialization of education as most of the private institutes focus only on their returns on investment and more profit instead of developing Human Resource.
· The major challenge is reservations i.e. SCs’(15%), STs’(7.5%) and OBC(27%) in our education system as it discourages students from studying and working harder as they would take advantage of reservation policy and attain seats in top universities or institutions even with lower marks due to which the deserving students are obstructed from achieving great heights and opportunities.
· Education in India only 3.8 percent of the total GDP is spent on education and government institutes are mostly declined, there is a lack of infrastructure and teaching management. Apparently, we don’t have a uniform education system. The method of teaching in public and private schools is entirely different. There should be uniformity in the educational system that will promote national unity.
· A large number of schools in India are not having proper facilities for drinking water, toilets, electricity, study tables and poor infrastructure of classes. And also there are a large number dropouts mainly in public schools due to lack of teaching management. Education of some courses like MBA and engineering the fees are so high that it becomes difficult for people to afford it which results into the huge amount of loan upon the students and their parents to pay after their completion of course as there are lack of scholarships.
Secondly, health infrastructure is also deteriorating like the education infrastructure, it needs reformation to deal with the coming challenges in the health sector. There is huge participation of the private hospitals or clinics are continuously increasing in the health sector and making it very expensive as well as non-accessible to the poor and the middle class. The treatment in government hospitals is not expensive but the main problem is that there is lack of infrastructure, maintenance, and resources in these public hospitals, there is an inadequate number of beds, medicines, and rooms for patients. There is an inadequate allocation of funds for the health sector and often the funds are delayed to the state government, due to which the infrastructure, hygiene, and facilities are not proper. Access to health care is very important in the developing country like India because well -being and proper treatment of the people is very essential for the economic growth of the country. Article 47 of part four of the Indian Constitution i.e. Directive Principles of State Policy says that “it is the duty of the state to raise the level of the nutrition and the standards of the living and public health.” Despite this large section are still deprived of nutrition, living standard and proper treatment of the ailment. The healthcare system in the country is not able to cater the need of all the people as it becomes very difficult for the system to provide everyone with proper healthcare services.There is also an issue of awareness among the people in the rural area about the diseases and the ways of eradicating it. We can take examples of polio cases which has been treated only due to awarenesses made by the government. The government should allocate fund for the research of drugs that would help in the changing pattern of diseases, this is also a great challenge before the health care sector.
We can take the example of 2017 Gorakhpur hospital deaths in which around 1317 of children died at the BRD Medical College Hospital due to medical negligence of the hospital and as well as state government. As it was found that oxygen supply was cut by the supplier due to non-payment of its dues and state has ignored it many times.
Thirdly, the infrastructure of other public utilities in our country is not up to the mark like roads, parks, public toilets, transportation system, sewage system and working of local authorities. All these public utilities are not maintained by the authorities timely which cause problems to people. But, there are certain things for which we cannot blame the government as we are the are culprits in making our cites vulnerable even after coming of Swachh Bharat Mission by throwing garbage on the road side, spitting on roads and walls, using footpath for business purposes by keeping all stuff on it and blocking way for walkers, not following the traffic rules and scribbling on the walls of our heritage and monuments.
Fourthly, environmental pollution is also an immense issue in our country as we are blindly working towards the development of industries and manufacturing in the country but we forget that environments are also precious for us. India’s capital city New Delhi and other cities are polluted in the world and car emission and constructions in urban areas are making the environment and air hazardous to breath.
There are drawbacks in our country’s development but after all India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies accounting for about 15% of global growth looks bright-partly thanks to the implementation of recent policies like nationwide GST (goods and service tax), but per capita income is still well below peer countries and India will need to build on the success of its reforms: IMF said in its annual assessment of the Indian economy, 2018. India’s GDP is expected to grow 7.3% in 2018-19. India has retained third position as the largest startup base with over 4750 technology startups. And with this India’s labour force is expected to reach 160-170 million by year 2020 based on the increased labour force participation and enrollment in higher education a study by the Association chamber of commerce and industry of India and Arbitrage research institute(ASSOCHAM).
Barriers in the political, social and cultural development
The main conflict between the states and center having divergent point of view. The interest of the center and state, the urging of getting more autonomy leads to disparities as we have the concept of federalism in our country. The voice for the demand of more states has become more prominent in recent times, especially after the formation of Telangana. Recent demands like four fold division of Uttar Pradesh and the creation of Gorkhaland are instance to the federal structure of India thus lead to creating a barrier in the development.
Article 256 & 257 of the Constitution of India, 1950 clearly states that in the case of conflict over the legislation on any of the subject mentioned in the concurrent list, the center supersedes the state. Moreover Article 200 and Article 352, 356, 360 of the Constitution of India which are emergency provision and the executive power of the state under Article 256 and 257 amount to centralization of power which has been the major concern among the state. Thus, Centralization is a threat to the development.
Even in the financial matters states are completely dependent on Centre. No state can afford to work without active financial assistance from the central government. The state are too much economic dependent on the center in our country for the welfare of the state. Under the state list there are 66 subjects provided in the constitution of India in such a manner there are more expenditure than income. In legislative matters subject mentioned in the list both the center and the states are competent to legislative but in case of a conflict on any provision of law passed on the same subject both by center and the state, laws of the center will prevail and that of the state government to the extent to which it contradicts the central laws will be repugnant. The effectiveness of the state is lacking behind as there is a tug of war between center and state government. Article 1 of the Indian constitution clearly states that the Union has been made indestructible with a view to protect unity and integrity in a country like India but concerns are often been ignored which leads to the disparity in states. It is significant to make the nation effectively unitary at this stage.
The interference of neighboring countries like China which is being claiming on some portion of the territory of Arunachal Pradesh on LAC (line of actual control) threats the territorial integrity of India. The Tamil issue in Sri Lanka, and various ongoing movements effects the development of the country and meddling with the affairs of the country. These types of conflicts effect the development of the country because it attracts the nation toward this subject instead of doing productive and reasonable.
India’s culture is unique and diverse as they have unique custom and tradition. It is the world’s oldest civilization and the culture has been heavily influenced by religion. They have been credited with shaping much of Indian philosophy, literature, architecture, art and music. Even in the Indian constitution under Article 51 A it clearly states the duties of the citizen towards the country. We have communal politics in our country which creates barriers in the development of the country. Nowadays the topic of Ayodhya dispute in Indian politics is one of them setting into motion a deep social and profound cultural churns .Such issues lead to deployment of unnecessary resources in areas, something which could have been averted and instead constructive and productive scheme could have been implemented in a better fashion. We can see the instances In the Sikh riots of 1984 creating mass agitation.
We can safely draw a conclusion at this point that the focus-areas of our society which pose law and order problems need security more than development. Moreover, internationally recognized conflicts like the dispute between India and Pakistan over the territory of Kashmir has witnessed a several militant activities which has lead not only a persistent wave of terror throughout the Indian subcontinent, but also affected in many ways our usual trade and development
The most serious political problem is corruption, recently in Global Anti-Corruption watch dog transparency India ranked as Asia Pacific most corrupt country. It undermines the government services and thus limits the ability of the government to invest in productivity and further enhancement. In India corruption distorts the decision making connected with public investment project and because of corruption there is misallocation of resources. We need better laws for anti-corruption campaigners must battle in parliament for the formation of better laws. The amount involved in the scams are in such number, even one cannot imagine like in the Coalgate scam there was initially the loss to the exchequer was pegged at 10.7 lakh crore ,the final report stated that the scam amounted to 1.86 lakh crore. Other scams like Satya scam involved 14,000 crore. This is clearly evident that these scams are draining the wealth and creating hindrance in achieving the economic and political development goals.
After a careful consideration of the aforementioned scenario prevailing in our country, certain humble suggestions to remedy the same may be actualized by implementation of several steps like:
· raising financial allocations to the health sector; working upon broader dissemination of medical facilities and related awareness on a grass root-basis; placing greater reliance on traditional knowhow and holistic health-development of our masses
· sustenance and encouragement of programs like Skill-India, Make in India, Digital India etc. to convert the apparent-burden of heavy population into human resource-asset that is skilled and employment-ready or even self-empowered as potential entrepreneurs. Related area can be focus on development of MSMEs
· greater awareness and incentives to promote sustainable resource-utilization for environmental protection
· incentives for or laws providing for enforcement of fundamental duties of the citizens, so that the result is a better social and moral fabric of the country as a whole with lesser crimes
· stringent anti-scam regime to prevent and curb acts like red-tapism, rampant corruption, money-laundering, consumer-deception, corporate frauds etc.
· schemes to prevent mass brain-drain in various sectors like higher education in fields of law, technology, medicine, etc. Possible ways can be State Government-initiatives for mandatory societal service in homeland for a certain term before being permitted to go abroad for study or work
· greater inclusion of well-educated young political workers of good character as face of our governing system in order to globally represent aspirations of a young India
To conclude, such steps may be a good starting-point to prevent an arrest of otherwise-plausible development of India to much greater heights than in present times.
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