Often it has been quoted as praise for our country “If 19th century was the century of the British, 20th of the Americans, no doubt 21st is a century that will belong to the Indians all for their profound contribution to the global world.” In the true sense of the words quoted, India is on its way towards the pinnacle of the world; being a superpower not by means of arms and ammunition but through mutual respect, its sheer involvement in making the world a better place to live. But through this article, I wish to bring forward the hindrances on its way towards being a developed country and the changes required to overcome those hindrances.
In the present scenario, the most important resource for any country is undoubtedly its Human resource; the working human population. And on this ground we surely rank among the leaders of the pack, beating down all the developed nations by incomprehensible margin. A few decades ago, a British officer quoted “Indian beds are more productive than Indian lands”. We took it to be an insult, but one can’t deny that the words are somewhat true. If statistics are true reflections, we are home to over 1.21 billion individuals, about 17.28% of the world population on less than 2.5% of the world’s geographical area. Currently we are growing at almost 1.3% annually, a reason for it being the disregard of the fact that “With 2 hands to earn, there comes a stomach to feed too”. Yes, there is no denying the fact that we have improved on various fronts. The life expectancy has grown to 65 years.
But the high capacity of human resource which could act as an asset for us is more frequently put forward as a liability, just because of the lower productivity. The resource has not been put up to its true efficiency to work, to develop. According to CIA world Factbook, 11% of India’s workable population is unemployed as on 1st Jan 2011. With such a high percentage of population being unemployed, you can never expect to achieve your full growth potential. Also the contribution of various sectors to the GDP might appear to be bizarre on the first look. Ours being an agrarian nation, around 53% of the workforce of about 487.86 million is employed in agriculture sector. But ironically it contributes only 18% to the GDP of the country. On the other hand, the industrial sector which employs about 14% of the working population contributes 28% to the GDP and service sector contributing 53%. It gives a straight forward hint that there needs to be an effort towards infusing technology into the agriculture sector which will lead to lesser number of people required to feed the ever growing population of the country.
According to the judgment of the World Bank in 2005, around 41.6% of India’s population lived under the International Poverty Line. A few years down the line, the situation has marginally improved India ranks 127 in the world on GDP PPP per capita at 3073$.Also according to a report last year, the World Bank rated India 132 in the world among some 160 economies on introducing Business reforms. Now for an economy which ranks 9th in the world on economy size, this is an alarmingly poor rating. This further validates the opinion that if the industry and business sector is given its due importance and further investment is diverted towards the industry, it will allow the country to develop into a manufacturing economy and lessen the number of unemployed and also contribute in higher rate of growth of the economy .The example of China is worth mentioning here who has through its capitalist economic policies put its huge human resource to efficient use to develop into a manufacturing economy and be a major exporter for rest of the world.
Now the major problem that arises is to educate the population and train and impart the required skill set for the industry. It has been corroborated from time to time through statistics, surveys and reports that we Indians by no means lack the talent pool. According to a international survey last year, it came out as a fact that the quality of research papers in terms of content by Indian students and research scientists was higher than the that by the fastest innovating and growing economy China. But still the adult literacy in our country is a non satisfactory 74%, being as low as 65% for the females. Around a quarter of our population is illiterate, only 15% of the literate reach the high school. This pin points the lack of initiatives in this sector because an investment of 3.13% of GDP on education with less than 2% on higher education and research for a developing country so highly populated is much less than the required. A report by Stanford University brings out a startling fact that “The spending per student at China’s leading Tsing Hua university averages at $51000 a year while spending at the IIT’s in India averages $8000 only.”
The Indians achieving such tremendous growth even with such dearth of resources alludes towards the real capability of our human resource. We are a young country with an average age of 27 years per citizen. If this young population is given proper opportunities to rise, India can reach the benchmark of surpassing USA in terms of economy size much before the expected year 2050.