It’s a great time to be Indian

February 1, 2016


It’s a great time to be Indian

by Shrey Srivastaya

What is India? India is more than just a country. It’s an amalgamation of hundreds, even thousands, of different cultures and faiths, living together harmoniously under one sky. It’s a country that’s seen its growth halted by horrific oppression (read: Amritsar massacre) due to Western colonialism. It’s the country from which came the world’s first university and the stepping stones to the first ever moon landing. It’s a country that’s justly going to surpass their former ruler, Great Britain, in global power and influence (some argue that it already has). Despite being plagued by poverty and riddled by structural corruption, India has seen substantial levels of economic growth in recent years, along with strengthened relations with many countries both developing and developed, from Afghanistan to the USA. In future, under the watchful gaze of one of the greatest leaders that India has ever seen, Narendra Modi, India is only going to go from strength to strength. It’s already surpassed its rival, China, in terms of economic growth, and will leave it in its wake in the next decade. So, what is India? India is the next global superpower.

A thriving, young workforce is the bedrock of the Indian economy. In 2020, the average age in India will be 29. Compare this to China, where the one child policy has ensured that the average age will be 37, and to Japan, where the average age will be a massive 48. The advantage that comes with having such a youthful population is that the dependency ratio (simply, the ratio of those not working to those working), will be at 0.4 by 2030. This means that the pressure on the productive Indian population will be substantially low, and also means that a very large proportion of the country will be working. The fact that so many people will be working leads to an increase in gross domestic output, and consequently, gross domestic product (GDP), which, in turn, leads to staggering levels of economic growth. These increased levels of economic growth result in a higher average income for the Indian worker, which leads to more taxable income for the Indian government. The increase in government revenue will encourage them to spend more on public services, the most important of which is education, leading to more people having the skill levels to work in the tertiary and quaternary sector rather than the primary sector, thus technologically advancing the country. We can already see this happening in Bangalore, which has been frequently lauded as the “Silicon Valley” of India, generating over $17 billion in revenue a year.

Huge levels of foreign direct investment are perhaps also one of the biggest feathers in the Indian tail. In the first half of 2015, India garnered $31 billion of foreign direct investment, with China only attracting $28 billion and the US $27 billion. Since the economic liberalisation that took place in 1991, foreign inflows of capital into the South Asian country have been skyrocketing, opening up far more job opportunities for a young, newly educated workforce to take. Of course, this will reduce unemployment levels, giving more people the disposable income to invest in Indian goods and services, thus increasing the revenue levels of the companies manufacturing and selling these goods and services, giving them more money to open up more branches and employ more people, who will then spend, in a virtuous cycle. The positive multiplier effect engineered by foreign capital inflows into the country results in a new degree of economic prosperity for the country as a whole, and most importantly, an increase in the quality of work in the country (unemployment is a non-issue, with unemployment rates at 3.6% as of 2014, according to the World Bank). An intrinsic problem with India, along with much of the developing world, is that much of the employment generated there is in the informal sector, which is frequently not taxed. This increase in foreign direct investment into the formal sector of the economy will hopefully result in the growth of this sector, thus resulting in an increase in taxable income and revenue for Modi’s government.

The geographic position of India is also a huge strategic advantage to the country in its quest to become an economic force. In fact, it is the control of India that gave the British Empire such global dominance (unfairly, I might add). It is for this reason that, in 1 AD, India constituted over 30% of global GDP. Nowadays, without any Western anchors to their progress, their geographical position will ensure them a comparative advantage over other countries with regards to trade. India’s geographical advantage is perhaps put best by George Curzon, a British statesman, who proclaimed that “On the West, India must exercise a predominant influence over the destinies of Persia and Afghanistan; on the north, it can veto any rival in Tibet; on the north-east . . . it can exert great pressure upon China, and it is one of the guardians of the autonomous existence of Siam. Possession of India gave the British Empire its global reach.” The favourable relations which India has kept with many other countries will also work in their favour, looking forward. The biggest global power in the world, the United States of America, views India very favourably, with both Narendra Modi and Barack Obama having visited the USA and India respectively in 2015. The USA, along with other countries, has India’s core interests at mind, and will definitely not be a roadblock to any future plans. India also has good relations with many other powers, including the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and even Saudi Arabia. This will serve as a massive boon to Modi’s country in future; with India’s strengthened relationships with China, their biggest direct opposition is Pakistan.

The biggest challenge for India now is to tackle the systemic corruption present within the country, and to solve the issue of poverty within the South Asian nation; large steps are already being taken by Modi’s government to resolve this. Under the stewardship of who will come to be known as one of the greatest Prime Ministers in Indian history, India is proceeding into one of its brightest eras yet.



13 thoughts on “It’s a great time to be Indian

  1. An idealism of a 15 year old Indian prodigy. Yes, India is growing into a power, but far from a superpower. The road is long and rocky ahead. It is too early to be complacent to be proud. More than a year of negative exports growth has raised concerns about India’s ability to not only boost exports but also to achieve and sustain its current 8% growth rate. Modi is great at making grand and sometimes dramatic gestures. However, I rarely have heard of active follow up or implementation of his idea.

  2. The article could not have come at a more opportune time as I have just returned from a week tour visit to Delhi and Kashmir with my wife.

    I am afraid I have to burst the bubble of the unrealistic optimism of the author who goes ballistic with his praise of Modi and all about a great India.

    Nobody goes around looking for faults big or small but when they stare at you, you can’t help noticing them. Let me recount some.

    As the plane was landing at the Delhi International Airport I could see the terminal building top front emblazoned with the lettering TERMINAL 3. It was an eyesore because a big air-con compressor was mounted over the lettering smack over the alphabets M and I. I understand that the terminal was built about 5 years ago. Apparently this was a fixture added on later. Where is the forward planning? Are the top airport management honchos blind or can’t be bothered? Don’t they have thinking engineers to find a way out to place the annoying compressor elsewhere out of sight?

    The airport toilet half stinks

    Most service sectors and counters are overstaffed with no added value absolutely. I saw 5- 6 staff pushing out a row of empty trolleys – a job that will take 1-3 men in KL or 1-2 in Singapore.

    Staff seem to be auto programmed showing no initiative. We stayed in a very posh hotel (name suppressed) pre-booked and pre-paid for two. And yet when we checked into the room, the toiletries provided for was for one person. This was rectified. Later when asked for room slipper, the guy brings one pair knowing well that there are two of us. This was at the snow capped and snow falling hill resort at Pahalgam, (Kashmir) – a beautiful breath-taking scenic spot, really heavenly.

    The hotel (name suppressed) at Srinagar (Capital) was equally posh and opulent. A overseas call message for us came at 4 pm and it was not delivered to us by the reception staff until breakfast time the next day when we were at the Restaurant. When questioned about the unacceptable delay, they come up with a load of stupid answers like the room phone line was not working. If so, don’t you sent someone to fix it, ring the bell or drop a note under the door?

    We wanted to see a second hill resort at Gulmarg but three-quarter way through we changed our mind and made a u turn. Our arranged-for car driver took us to the first base station where we were harassed endless to buy or rent head caps, leather boots, goggles, overcoats etc. A tour guide insisted we hire him to take us up and with our driver (who seemed to be familiar with the guide) recommending so, we had no choice but to hire him. When we arrived at the 2nd base station, we saw the place down right filthy with snow all around the ground. The people were spitting and urinating. I saw drops of hardened, half snow covered human faeces here and there. This put me off and we drove back. I have more to tell but I will stop here. Yes this is enchanting India!

    Economy is growing and booming – true. But the people who benefit are largely the rich and the powerful and the middle-class. Millions of others struggle with their day to day life.

    India is an amalgamation of hundreds, even thousands, of different cultures and faiths, living together harmoniously under one sky, writes the author. Harmoniously? He must be kidding himself. India is the most disunited country in the world. It is divided into States, language and linguistic wise, and within States, multi-casts wise. Overlaying this is the perennial Hindu- Muslim animosity and conflicts made worse by the Hindutva (basically anti-Muslim) agenda practiced by the ruling BJP headed by Modi. If anything binds them it is cricket, cinema and quarrelsome politics – hardly hard values.

    India may send man to Moon and Mars. Economy can grow 10-15%. These wont help India in strategic sense. A cohesive society will, which India is not, unlike Pakistan and China – one people, one language and one religion – more or less. Under present circumstances, if ever India next goes to war with Pakistan or China, my gut feeling is that it is India that will bite the dust.

    Modi is trying hard to build India as one of world’s leading economic powers. But he is surrounded by hardcore Hindu-agenda primed party leaders, which can hamper his supra plans for India’s future. Often he seems to act on his own without consulting his advisors. Few days back, he sent a Twitter message to Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani wishing him Happy Birthday. The President, whist graciously accepting the greetings, politely pointed out that Modi had sent it 3 months too early. At another occasion I was watching on TV Modi addressing a conference of Indian Business leaders. He spoke well on (his) “Make in India” theme without script. He ended his speech with “Thats all” and no thank you. I found it funny. World leaders at such conferences will not usually use such term. But teachers would in class rooms at the end of a lesson.

  3. The author of this article must be have the best “shiok sendiri” activity and going blind. Been to India, experienced it. NO Thank you. Never again.

  4. 2 words – Cleaniness and Corruption. 2 Abilities – Strategy and systemic application of disipline all these are lacking, But that said , it is hard to hold back the youngest , ambitious young bunch of people as a subset of the largest block of humans – So like Kenichi Omahe says ” they bulbs don’t burn now , but will burn surely in the future likening the growth and success as street lights on a long road”

  5. A long road lighted up all the way? How long the wait will be – 100, 200 years? By then will wholesome India still exist is a worrying thought. I think Pakistan is waiting to settle old scores, particularly the carving out of East Pakistan by India to what is Bangladesh today. Then there is disputed Kashmir. Should war erupt between the two, one should not discount the outside possibility of Paks occupying huge chunks of Northern India including Kashmir, leaving India half a country with its South.

  6. /// It’s already surpassed its rival, China, in terms of economic growth, and will leave it in its wake in the next decade. So, what is India? India is the next global superpower. ///

    The blissful ignorance of a teenager. A swallow does not a summer make.
    GDP (ppp): USD19.5 trillion
    GDP per capita (ppp): USD14,000
    GDP growth: 6.8%(2015), 7.3%(2014), 7.7%(2013)
    GDP (ppp): USD8.0 trillion
    GDP per capita (ppp): USD6,300
    GDP growth: 7.3%(2015), 7.3%(2014), 6.9%(2013)

    Last year was the first time that India’s economic growth rate exceed China’s in several decades. Both in absolute term and on per capita basis, India’s economy is still less than half of China’s. Precisely because China has been growing at such a break-neck pace for the past few decades, it has to slow down. And because the Indian elephant has been lumbering in the past few decades, it can attain high growth because of its low base. How long can it grow at high rate? I just hope the wake is not created by the Indian ship running into sunken shipwrecks. And that those of us not-so-young folks here will live to attend India’s wake.

  7. ” … horrific oppression due to Western Colonialism ” , please read your Indian history from a very slightly earlier period, when “India” was conquered by the “Islamic Empire”, this was also the time when Spain was also conquered. I think this period of oppression might have slowed Indias progress just a smidgen more.

  8. Just some number crunching. For India’s economy to be bigger than China’s, it will have to grow at 7.3% each and every year for the next 13 years, while China grows at 0% for every of the next 13 years. So much for the incredulous claim of “leave it in its wake in the next decade”.

  9. Note to China cheerleaders, it’s pointless getting upset with what an overly enthusiastic teenager says . Pointless but expected.

  10. The article may be full of whatchamacallit, the author is, nevertheless, only 15 year old. At this age he is still in junior high school. Give him a break. I suspect he is reading or watching too much of Modi’s propaganda. Thus far Modi is running the country with dramatic but empty slogans.

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