India @ 100

The Union government will shortly unveil a development plan to make India the world’s third largest economy after the US and China by 2047, when the country celebrates its 100th year of Independence. “We are coming out with a new strategy document, ‘New India at 75’. It starts off by saying that India must aim for and can become the third-largest economy by 2047 and then we go on to break it down to steps to achieve this goal,” Rajiv Kumar, vice chairman of federal policy think tank Niti Aayog.

Although the goal is set for 2047, Kumar said the government will strive to reach the landmark much ahead of the timeline.

Efforts have been underway since the 12th five year plan ended in 2017 to have a comprehensive development plan in which states will play a dominant role.

The blueprint will suggest ways to attain less carbon-intensive and more technology-driven growth, while also narrowing income inequality. The plan will come ahead of the national polls early next year and showcase Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea of laying the foundation for a new India.

India overtook France to become the world’s sixth-largest economy in 2017, according to the World Bank’s updated figures published in July. India is now a $2.597 trillion economy, just above France’s $2.582 trillion. Japan, Germany and the UK occupy the third, fourth and fifth places. India’s economy is expected to overtake UK’s next year.

However, due to its large population, India lags developed economies in terms of per-capita income. The country’s per-capita GDP is a fraction of that of France, which is still roughly 20 times higher, according to the World Bank.

State governments and central ministries have given detailed suggestions for the new plan, which will set out targets and reform measures for various governments.

Kumar said the goals, as well as the measures, reforms and policies, needed to achieve the target will be spelt out in the document.

He said the average fertility rate in several states is either less than or equal to the replacement rate of 2.1 (children per woman) and, therefore, is not a big worry. “The issue of population growth is not an all-India issue, it is confined to a few large states, which require a focus on this issue.”

According to Kumar, with digital connectivity improving, gram panchayats getting optical fibre network and the implementation of Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme for 100 million families, there will be less incentives for migration from rural areas to urban centres. “This means the people living in rural areas will be completely connected to urban centres and they can contribute from there. This may result in less migration than in the past.”

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