Reimagining goals: India@2047

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s vision to accelerate India’s transformation is evident in the launch of several initiatives including the Gati Shakti National Master Plan and the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s vision to accelerate India’s transformation is evident in the launch of several initiatives including the Gati Shakti National Master Plan and the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission

By Issac John

Published: Wed 26 Jan 2022, 12:00 AM

Hopes are high as the nation continues to embrace opportunities in order to propel growth and boost competitiveness



The 73rd Republic Day marks a defining moment in India’s chequered history. The world’s second most populous nation is preparing to chart the course of its next 25 years of development by rolling out a blueprint for 'India@2047 Plan' when the nation marks its 100th Independence Day.

Future-ready Indians, irrespective of their socio-political divide and creed, are unequivocally bullish about the preparedness of their country to embark on a technology- and innovation-driven expedition.

In preparation for unveiling the vision plan for the world’s fastest growing major economy, the Prime Minister’s Office as well as the Cabinet Secretary have assigned 10 Sectoral Group of Secretaries (SGOS) to create a blueprint for the India@2047 programme by May 2022.

Economic reforms

The high hopes and aspirations of 1.39 billion Indians have been encapsulated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his special address to the World Economic Forum’s online Davos Agenda 2022 summit. Echoing the upbeat predictions of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as well as the views of prominent analysts, the Prime Minister pronounced India’s commitment to deep economic reforms and ease of doing business, and asserted that this is the best time to invest in Asia’s third-largest economy as policy-making is focussed on the needs for the next 25 years for a ‘clean and green’ as well as ‘sustainable and reliable’ growth period.

Modi has underscored a spate of reform measures to stress that the government has worked to reduce the administration’s interference in business by deregulating many sectors and to clear the way for free trade agreements with different countries. “We will fulfill all the expectations that the entire world has from us,” he said. “India had undertaken several reforms to boost growth and will continue to do more. Come to India and be a part of our growth story.”

The $3.1 trillion economy

The size of the Indian economy, based on current prices in dollar terms, is estimated to be $3.1 trillion. It is currently the sixth-largest in the world, behind the US, China, Japan, Germany and the UK. India has set sights on regaining its position as the world’s fastest growing major economy in the current fiscal ending March 31, 2022 to overtake Japan as Asia’s second-largest economy by 2030 when the country’s GDP is projected to surpass that of Germany and the UK to rank as the world’s No.3.

One good factor for India is that it has overtaken France in 2022 to occupy the position as the sixth-largest economy in the world.

And for the world economy as such, it is not all gloom and doom up ahead as it is cruising to attain a better than expected economic growth (at 4.2 per cent) to propel the global GDP to over $100 trillion, higher than it was pre-pandemic and ahead of the previous deadline of 2024.

India's Expo pavilion

India's pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai epitomises the best of the country across multiple areas. It also showcases investment opportunities in multiple sectors like health, textiles, infrastructure, services and more.

As prominent economists point out, there is openness, opportunity and growth in India. Today, India is one of the most open countries in the world in learning, perspective and innovation. Indeed, India has a combination of legacy and start-ups.

On the global stage, India is destined to play a pivotal role in the coming years. The nation’s diplomatic efforts are driven by the philosophy of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam” — the world is one family. Indeed, India’s call for renewed and reformed multilateralism is resonating with global leaders and policy-makers as a diplomat said.

As a multilingual and multicultural country, the nation has adapted to work for the welfare of entire humanity and just not for itself. India currently sends a record number of software engineers across the world while over million software developers are working in the country as its IT sector worked round the clock during the coronavirus pandemic to help the world.

Start-up ecosystem

India's startup landscape is invigorating and offers exciting growth prospects for emerging business sectors and claims the third largest number of unicorns in the world with over 10,000 startups being registered in the last six months alone.

India, which has long been hyped as the next exciting economic growth story after China, is also ready to reap its demographic dividends thanks to its young population entering the working age, and leading to higher economic growth. The window began in 2018 when the working age population began to grow larger than its dependent population — children aged 14 years or below and people above 65 years of age. It is expected to last for 37 years until 2055.

Economists are of the view that entrepreneurship among Indian youngsters has soared to a new high, and Indians’ ability to adapt to new technologies and innovation can infuse new energy into the country’s global partnership. India has set the goals of high growth, saturation of welfare and wellness as it charts the next phase of its journey as a green, clean, sustainable and reliable nation.

Circular economy

Some experts argue that lifestyle issues are posing challenges to the climate and the situation has been further complicated by a ‘throw away culture’ and consumerism. They call for transforming today’s ‘take-make-use-dispose economy’ into a circular economy.

The long-term outlook for the Indian economy is supported by a number of key growth drivers. An important positive factor for India is its large and fast-growing middle class, which is helping to drive consumer spending. IHS Markit forecasts that the country’s consumption expenditure will double from $1.5 trillion in 2020 to $3 trillion by 2030.

India is also well on track to achieve the export target of $650 billion for goods and services in the current FY22. The target set for merchandise exports at $45 billion can be accomplished, and the service sector should also push harder towards achieving the $250 billion target that was initially set, according to Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

UAE-India ties

The UAE-India relationship has never been as strong as it is today. Three state visits undertaken by Prime Minister Modi since 2014 underscores the top priority engagements between the two nations. Further cementing the ties will be the free trade agreement (FTA) that holds huge potential for both the countries to boost trade and investment. India-UAE trade was valued at close to $60 billion in 2019-20.

The UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner and the second-largest export destination after the US, with an export value of approximately $29 billion in 2019-20. The UAE is also the eighth largest investor in India, having invested $11 billion between April 2000 and March 2021.

India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is one of the biggest platforms that offers a golden opportunity to showcase India to the world and project the country as the next hub for growth and innovation
India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is one of the biggest platforms that offers a golden opportunity to showcase India to the world and project the country as the next hub for growth and innovation

Net-Zero India

A recent report from the World Economic Forum - Mission 2070: A Green New Deal for a Net-Zero India - outlines how India’s path to net zero will have an estimated economic impact of over $1 trillion by 2030 and around $15 trillion by 2070. In addition, India has prioritised cooperation, technology, and digitalisation as part of its efforts to support the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To finalise the blueprint for India@2047, individuals from outside and within the government, as well institutional experts are going to be invited to formulate and help. The Centre plans on starting right away on the 25-year targets. SGoS has been given instructions to identify the achievable targets within the stipulated time, set realistic targets, timelines and milestones for the 2047 plan, as these will act as the ‘foundation for future growth’.

So far, the key areas identified are agriculture, commerce, infrastructure, industry, urban landscape, security and defence, technology and governance. Among the first few suggestions are that India's defence acquisitions should be freed from foreign reliance along with a road map for ‘India’s space in the world in 2047’.

Restructuring and mergers

Looking at it from the Industry perspective, restructuring and merger of public sector banks along with a creation of three to four huge banks is being looked at. Likewise, developing three to four global champions in every sector of oil and gas by merger or restructuring of the companies, developing semiconductors to fill the shortage and showcasing India a hub, and a leader in Green Technology as well as development of skills are ideas that are currently undergoing discussion.

On the social sector side, some suggestions are that India can partner with foreign R&D organisations to build top 10 labs in the country, develop India into a skill capital and bring at least 10 Indian institutions amongst the top 100, globally.

The upcoming Union budget may set aside big bucks to support new capacity in solar, wind, and hydropower
The upcoming Union budget may set aside big bucks to support new capacity in solar, wind, and hydropower

Micro irrigation

A new age agriculture plan proposes that micro irrigation and organic farming, are flagship schemes for hilly regions that can help India position as a top exporter in identified streams. The development of urban infrastructure and ‘future ready’ urban space is the major area of focus along with making sure that villages have access to quality facilities in rural areas.

There have been roadmaps being sought to develop institutions, research centres and think tanks as global leaders along with facilitating both public and private sector in achieving the same.India will also need to continue making strides to increase competitiveness and the ease of doing business.

Structural reforms

In the past few years, major structural reforms have been launched by the Indian government to boost the long-term outlook of the economy. The government’s vision to accelerate India’s transformation is evident in the launch of several initiatives including the Gati Shakti National Master Plan and the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission.

The government has also announced the National Infrastructure Pipeline and National Monetisation Plan to boost infrastructure development.

Going forward, India will have to prioritise economic expansion and sustainability to maintain its trajectory of growth and influence.

Demographic advantage

India will also need to continue making strides to increase competitiveness and the ease of doing business. The country will also have to ramp up its infrastructure efforts, not just for roads and bridges, but for health and education too. Equally critical is the need to ensure that India’s demographic advantage becomes a dividend and that millions of young people entering the workforce every year gain meaningful employment.

During its next 25 years of journey, India will have to prioritise economic expansion and sustainability to maintain its trajectory of growth and influence. The country must continue to embrace transformational, rather than incremental change to shape an economic policy that supports rapid growth. This will require a continued commitment to wide-ranging and systemic sectoral reforms, with strong measures to restore fiscal balance and strengthen the banking system.

— issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


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