The UN Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific report titled, ‘Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2015’ forecasts India’s GDP growth at 8.1 per cent in 2015 and 8.2 per cent in 2016.
Dr Subramanian Swamy, the economic think tank of BJP predicts that the GDP would grow at 12 per cent per annum. Just one year back, NDA government inherited a nation plagued by high inflation, massive bad loan in banking sector amounting to Rs 5 lakh crore rupees, huge current account deficit, a looming farm yard crisis, slow employment growth, widening fiscal deficit, weakening rupee, the burden of huge public debt and revenue loss worth several lakhs crores of rupees due to a series of scams.
The one year old NDA Government in this backdrop can be appreciated for reducing scam to zero, taming inflation, narrowing fiscal deficit to 4 per cent, restarting infrastructure projects, regaining investors’ confidence, digitalising governance mechanism, and a host of other measures to become the third powerful growth engine in the world. The government was prudent enough to include both tangible and intangible aspects in reform measures to bring in sustainable economic growth.
The economic growth model propagated during globalisation only focused on quantifiable variables like investment, savings, productions and trade flows and ignored the non-quantifiable growth parameters like human development index, social safety, core human values and natural capitals.
Over two decade old, the production centric globalisation collapsed in post Lehman period in 2008 and spewed unemployment and uncertainties in entire West and European nations. Ideally, a sustainable growth model should be an integration of economic, environment, social, cultural and spiritual development of the people as a whole. It is important to mention here that BJP has included the human development aspects in its growth model and launched several programs to create right environment for social, economic and spiritual growth of its people. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan will indirectly help the Indian economy to click. If roads, railway stations, bus stands, tourist and pilgrim places remain clean it would encourage more people to travel. Clean environment, clean food, clean medicine, clean water and clean air saves people’s medical expenses and encourages tourist inflows.
In the long run, the government’s effort to improve the living condition of people through sustainable economic growth will equally depend on the honesty and integrity of the people who’ll implement it at grass root level.
The United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) report said, as half of India's workers still work in agriculture, the country needs to raise its productivity by engaging more in higher value added production. The ESCAP report has not examined the huge value addition in our agriculture and animal products due to the age old skill of the Indians. Only milk has more than hundred byproducts and value addition in milk products like ghee and various sweet items is immense. On the other hand, the life insurance policy for Rs 330 premium per year and one rank one pension policy decision of the present government will help millions of people in unorganised sector.
Biodiversity of India amid 24 agro climatic zones is one area where India can beat the developed nations. India can cater to both the domestic and export market with a wide range of agriculture products. Alphonso mango exporters from Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg attach a spoon with each mango. Without spoon the foreigners rush to the bath room to eat mango fearing the mango juice would spoil their cloth. There are wide variety of fruits, herbs and shrubs in India which can activate the taste buds of the foreigners. So villagers need not shift to urban centers for menial jobs. India’s 40 per cent population comprising of nearly 51 crore people are too big a population to work for industry, manufacturing and service sectors’ growth.
Then the digital India initiative for good governance will save long productive hours for people. Digital India initiative with geo-satellite imagery will better monitor India’s natural resources. It will immensely help educational institutions as students in the remote corner of India will be able to access the best class room teaching of the world. Educated youth force with skill and creativity always boosts economic growth.
If India can improve its poor Research and Development performance from below 4 per cent of global output to 10 per cent, a national market for goods and services as envisaged will be a reality as the digital India will bring producers and consumers closer.
“Skill India” mission will also create employment opportunity in manufacturing and handicraft sector. At present, Indian handicraft export grows at 10 per cent per annum despite huge loss of skill and artistry among artisans in the past decades. The USP of all handcrafted products is the skill and artistry which cannot be created in machines. It was Indian handicraft which had contributed to the phenomenal economic growth of India till the end of the 19th century. Developing handicraft skill and artistry will thus make the handicraft sector generate foreign currency on a sustainable basis.
The Jan Dhan Yojana which will directly transfer all government subsidies to beneficiaries’ SB accounts will prevent leakage. It would work wonder if right climate is created for people in agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, fishery and handicraft sector to generate surplus from their entrepreneurships. Transparent market chain, realistic credit planning, authentic potential survey, proper input management and quality extension services can activate the village entrepreneurship cycle which will created demand for banks’ and credit for real growth.
Under the Union Government’s gold deposit scheme, people can safely deposit gold in banks for interest income and mortgage gold for loan. The gold reserve in the country which is estimated at 24000 tonnes will in turn strengthen banks.
But unfortunately since the incidents of frauds in gold loan are pouring in, to prevent it, the banks will have to examine the purity of gold in electronic gold testing machine instead of asking local gold smith to certify the purity of gold.
The union government’s effort to popularise a simple form of Sanskrit is laudable. Even after 66 years of independence people in most parts of South Indian states are unable to communicate in Hindi. Since most of the South Indian languages originate from Sanskrit, people can lovingly accept Sanskrit as second link language. The language Sanskrit has a positive impact on people’s social behavior which is at the decline. A simple version of Sanskrit will link India’s untapped domestic market.
Similarly, uniform CBSE syllabus, integration of class rooms across the country, a state of the art teachers’ training and digital surveillance are laudable steps to create disciplined young generation with knowledge capital.
– Sudhansu R Das (The writer is a Hyderabad based freelance journalist)