He also mentioned the country’s glorious history including major discoveries by ancient scientists like Aryabhata ahead of their western counterparts. In 1998, former president APJ Abdul Kalam, a scientist and administrator associated with India’s missile programme as well as the Pokhran-II nuclear tests, co-authored a book titled India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium.It had a simple message: India would be a superpower within the next two decades.
As predictions go, this was extremely bold.This potential is attributed to several indicators, the primary ones being its demographic trends and a rapidly expanding economy and military.
India is home to one-sixth of humanity or 1.2 billion people. With a young population and a grand consumer base – complete with ethnic and linguistic diversity – it is a country with unparalleled economic potential. In March, the OECD forecasted India’s GDP to grow by 12.6% in 2021 – a figure that if realized, would return the country to being the world’s fastest growing major economy.
According to ‘The World in 2050’ report (2017) by international professional services firm PwC, by 2050, India is projected to be the world’s second-largest economy (overtaking the United States) and will account for 15% of the world’s total GDP. (This report does not take account of the major events since 2017, including Covid 19 pandemic).The positive outcomes of that growth have already started to make an impact for residents.
“From the end of 20th Century and start of 21st, I have literally seen India changing in front of my eyes,” said native Saurabh Jindal, who runs the app Talk Travel. “The economy growing has led to manifold changes in people’s lifestyles, from the vibes in the city to the attitudes in society and eventually the overall walk and talk of the country and its inhabitants.” But it is a truism that the growth also hasn’t always reached every citizen equality.
“There are some sections of the society [that] are still living a very low quality of life,” said Jindal. “You can see slums next to high-rise buildings.”
In a detailed section on India, a report released by China’s Central bank said the gap between the two countries is narrowing. As two big countries in Asia, China’s economic growth has been faster than India’s for a long time but in recent years, China’s demographic dividend is fading, India’s economic growth has tended to approach China’s, the report said. In a rare frank assessment, it added that China’s ageing population and the declining birth rate will become more serious in 10 years while India’s demographic structure will be further optimized.
The report pointed out that India’s labour force will exceed China’s by hundreds of millions in the years ahead. “In 2019, China’s labour force was 990 million while India had 880 million, which is 110 million less than that of China. In 2035 and 2050, India will have 1.06 billion and 1.11 billion labour force respectively, which is 120 million and 270 million more than those of China.”
By 2050, India’s demographic advantage will continue to expand, the report said, adding that in 2019, the demographics of India were much narrower at the top and wider in the middle than in China. “By 2050, this advantage will continue to grow. Not only will India have a much narrower elderly population at the top and a much wider workforce in the middle, but it will also have a wider workforce at the bottom, indicating a more abundant workforce and greater growth potential beyond 2050,” the report added.
The report continued saying that since India’s demographic advantage is expected to grow for at least the next three decades, and the gap between China and India will be narrower provided that appropriate political and economic measures are taken. In other words, in the coming decades, while some of the powerful nations will witness a decrease in workforce numbers, India is expected to have an increase. According to Indian Scholar RejaulKarim Laskar,” when graying population will be seen inhibiting economic growth of major countries, India will be brimming with youthful energy”.
To put it in a nutshell, India will emerge as an economic superpower supplying more than half the increase in Asia’s potential workforce over the coming decade in a developing scenario where demography is shifting the balance of power in Asia, according to Deloitte’s “Voice of Asia” report. “India is among a handful of South Asian countries that sits on a demographic gold mine. India has a median population age of 27.3 years compared to that of 35 years for China and around 47 years for Japan.”
It is common knowledge that the second World War impacted the role of technology as a definitive tool in the make or break of Great Powers.
The impact of technology was noted by the British historian Paul Kennedy in his magnum opus ‘The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers’ (1988), where he noted that, “The relative strengths of the leading nations in world affairs never remain constant, principally because of the uneven rate of growth among different societies and of technological and organizational breakthroughs which bring a greater advantage to one society than to another.”
The Indian IT sector has grown at a rate of more than 30 percent every year since 1993; its revenues have rocketed from a modest $150 million to $150 billion. These are figures quoted by Kris Gopalakrishnan, a founder and former CEO of Infosys, the Indian IT giant that employs nearly 200,000 people worldwide and has annual revenues approaching $10bn.
As impressive as that might be, India is on the brink of a tech sector that has the real potential to surpass even these incredible achievements. The general perception of India from North America and Europe as a cheap source of low-level IT services will quickly become outdated. We will see an Indian tech sector that will deliver innovation as the key selling point of its products.
India has the potential to become the world leader in e-commerce, analytics and Internet of Things technology among other specialist fields. Well, the ingredients were there to begin within the riches of India’s large pool of engineers and scientists. Population of over a billion it is a resource that gives a real advantage in bringing together many different but complementary skills together
All that was needed with a domestic market of 1.3 bn people and a large talent pool was something to ignite the innovation that would surpass past achievements.
(Courtesy: Indian News Services)