The world view is that India at present stands at cross roads with prospect of it becoming a major power in coming years as nations of West become wary of China and look for another country to fill the vacuum thus created. India has many advantages, a large pool of trained manpower, fertile land and ability to adopt modern tools of production with digital revolution showing early signs of adoption in day to day business.
Agreed Covid has hit India hard by slowing its economy during long periods of lock down. As a country we have also been hit by rising price of crude and high inflation. The rise of dollar has led to depletion of our foreign exchange reserves. But at the same time, India has shown ability to meet current challenges by growth in exports which have risen by about thirty per cent. Our large stocks of food grains and sugar have become source of strength with world-wide rise in prices of agricultural products.
India also continues to attract foreign investment with prospect of making a variety of products for exports. We have shown ability to become a pharmacy for the world by showing our ability to produce vaccine during Covid epidemic. We have ability to produce not only vaccines but also variety of drugs. India’s ability to make and sell drugs at low cost helped many countries in third world to deal with AIDs.
India is being looked as important partner in Indo-Pacific region and countries like Japan, Australia and USA are looking to it to keep the region safe and open for navigation. India has also made great strides in reducing dependence on imports to equip our defence forces. The army is expected to meet all its requirements indigenously in near future. India is also going to make warship and fighter planes to equip our Navy and Air force. One area where we have made good progress is in making missile system where we are not only meeting local requirements but also getting export orders.
The biggest challenges facing us is to increase the income of farmers, who can produce not only for our needs but also for exports. With rise in input costs, particularly fertilizers, the price of products will go up. There will be some transfer of riches from urban areas to rural pockets but we have to make sure it does not go out of hand by improving storage and marketing facilities.
India has great future in producing organic products in field of fruits and vegetables. In urban areas the biggest challenge is unemployment as we are producing large number of youth who are unemployable. We need more plumbers, electricians , mechanics and people engaged in maintenance instead of simple graduates. In the war between faster progress and forces which are pulling us down, there is need for right policies which will maintain peace and improve education system to improve skills.
There is time when emphasis should be more on improving governance by delivering services like good roads, power, sanitation and above all education. Promising freebies like free power, doles and gadgets like mobiles phones or laptops may look attractive but they will not help in building better future. There is also tendency to seek votes in name of caste and community whereas emphasis should be on development.
In the next few years India has an opportunity to emerge as a major power and a strong economy. In case we miss this opportunity we may go the way of our neighbours. The worst examples are of Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Pakistani rupee at one stage was at par with India but now it is half in value in terms of dollars. We should realise that good governance and democracy are essential for nations progress.
Political uncertainty, conflicts or army rule are a recipe for disaster and we can see many examples of it around us. Indian democracy , good governance is our strength and we must preserve it to achieve greater heights in future.