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India at 70: The good and bad of India’s growth

It has been more than 70 years since India’s independence in 1947 and the country has come a long way in terms of economic and social indicators. India’s nominal GDP has risen from $30 billion1 in 1950 to $2250 billion in 20162, a 75-fold increase. While at the same time, US GDP grew only about 60-folds from $300 billion in 1950 to $18,500 billion in 20163. This is a significant achievement considering the fact that our rulers bled us dry and left the country. However, growth should not be just measured in terms of GDP. It does not convey how the situation has changed at the grassroots level. Achieving a 74% literacy rate from a mere 12% in 7 decades is no mean feat1. Improvements in policies, laws and administration can be seen from improved rankings in ease of doing business Index. Impressive healthcare reforms have shown results as our life expectancy has doubled over years4. However, at the same time we need to take cognizance of the failures along the way and the challenges for India’s future. India accounts for about 17% of world’s population but accounts for only 3% of world’s GDP2. The large population has always been a big concern for the economy and the heavy subsidies puts a strain on the country’s finances. One of the major concerns for India has always been the small contribution of secondary sector, which is a serious anomaly when compared with other developing countries and now we realise the importance of manufacturing sector on the economy and jobs, hence the onset of ‘make in India’ campaign. India definitely needs to improve on a lot of grounds like gender equality, income disparity, social security but in no ways can these undermine the phenomenal development India has made in the recent years.