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Structural changes needed to maximise development potential

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By: Firdoos Wani

India is the largest democracy in the world, which has achieved enormous advancementsduring the previous several decades. We are currently the world’s third-largest economy (in purchasing power parity terms). However, being an Indian you can’t resist ‘chalta hai’ (leave it be) mentality. Moreover, for everything we have ‘jugaad’. But in between everything, we cannot ignore daily difficulties, which continue to pose impediments in the advancement of the country. These social, political and economic concerns need to be taken into account, in order to further accelerate the pace of progress.

Corruption is the most pervasive disease in India and it must be dealt with expeditiously and skilfully. This sickness has infected almost every office in the public and commercial sectors. It is impossible to determine how much damage this has caused to the economy.

Furthermore, in India, the rate of illiteracy is frightening. Even though 74.04% of the population was literate according to the 2011 census, there is a significant gap between rural and urban regions as well as male and female populations. The situation is worse in countryside than in cities. Despite the establishment of several elementary schools in rural India, the disparity continues.

India’s education system is often criticised for being excessively academic and devoid of practical and skill-based learning. Students study to get grades, not knowledge. This so-called modern education system was developed by colonial rulers to produce employees who could serve but not lead, and it remains in place today. Rabindranath Tagore has authored several papers proposing changes to the Indian educational system. However, success is as elusive as ever. However, a new education policy has been recently introduced which is believed to usher a new dawn for the academic scenario in the country.

Also, India’s population below the poverty line decreased from 37% in 2004-2005 to 22% in 2011-12. (Planning Commission data). In 2011-12, one in five Indians (22% of the population) lived in severe poverty. According to the World Poverty Clock, this number is anticipated to fall to 5% by 2022. However, 80 percent of India’s impoverished reside in rural areas. The poorest regions are located in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh. According to World Bank figures, 43% of the impoverished belong to Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe classifications (2016). This imbalance requires the government’s prompt action.

Despite the World Poverty Clock’s assertions of a fall in poverty, the epidemic has rendered all such projections incorrect, according to the Pew Research Center. The virus has caused a drop of almost 32 million middle-class Americans. The research also details how the number of impoverished (those living on $2 or less per day) quadrupled from 59 million to 134 million during the pandemic year.

There are several environmental issues confronting the country and one among them is pollution. Despite India’s efforts, it has a long way to go. Due to pollution, degradation of land, depletion of natural resources, and loss of biodiversity are the primary concerns that pop up. Untreated sewage is the primary source of water contamination. Today, the Ganga and Yamuna rivers are among the most polluted in India. The state of other rivers passing through urban areas is same. Increasing urban building and automobile traffic also contribute to urban pollution. India has to adopt a sustainable development approach. According to a 2021 study on World Air Quality, three Indian cities (Bhiwadi, Ghaziabad and New Delhi) are among the most polluted in the world. This statistic is frightening enough to force the government to act swiftly and not ignore health of its inhabitants.

In order to achieve its full potential and progress in leaps and bounds, India needs to create an ecosystem that enables private investments, increased consumption and the competitiveness of exports and swift infrastructural investment besides bringing some structural changes in other sectors. These steps can catapult India to the status of a global superpower which it rightly deserves.

The author has Doctorate in English literature and can be reached at [email protected]













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