“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.”
Growth and development have been the central ideas of discussion in the economies of the world. Central to this has been the model of economic growth, which is to be adopted by a nation to meet its goals. India, at the dawn of 15th August 1947, achieved its independence from the shackles of British colonial rule. India, both as a nation and an economy, was in a state of great distress. The Government of India was posed with dual challenges. One challenge was regarding the restructuring of the nation encompassing overall regional, social, and human aspects. The second challenge was to save the nation from falling into the trap of neo-colonialism through global enterprises.
The dilemma faced by India was “Which economic model was to be adopted? Whether it has to be purely socialistic, capitalistic, or a mixed one? Whether to go for import substitution or encourage export promotion, Whether our focus must be on the agricultural sector or heavy industries. Whether the state should take responsibility for everything from industrial development to social welfare, or industrial development must be in the private sphere?” All these aspects were shadowed by the problem of the refugee crisis, communal issues, low rate of literacy, poverty-ruined industries, capital crunch, and lack of entrepreneurship.
Indian political leaders, even before independence, had made their minds clear regarding planned economic development. The idea behind the planned development process was to have realistic goals, and along with this, they wanted to have accountability for the development process. The primary accusation against the planned economy has been that it was imported from socialist ideology or the Soviet Union.
Post-independence, the Nehru government, at the union level, had set up the Planning Commission, which was assigned with the responsibility of making plans for the economic development of the country. The union government launched Central plans and schemes to meet the goals of development. The Five Year Plans were the most important ones in the aspect that they were draped with the aim to clearly chalk out the details of the development process with marked goals to be achieved.
The First Five-year plan in independent India was based on Harrod Domar’s model with a focus on the agricultural sector along with irrigation and power projects. During these plan years, India’s focus was to create wealth by focusing
on the agriculture and energy sectors. The prime idea had been to meet the needs of the masses, but the model that depended on this plan had been the concentration of land in the hands of the failure to achieve its desired goals. The main cause regarding the failure of the nation’s wealthy few and setbacks to land reform policies.
The Harrod Domar plan was followed by the Mahalanobis model, which focused on rapid industrialisation with heavy industries as prime drivers of the economy. This plan was inspired by the Soviet nation model, where heavy industries were the prime mover of the economy. Indian planners thought that this would have a trickle-down effect and would enable other sectors to flourish.
These plans were, according to Indian needs, but failed because of some inherent problems and some head-on problems that India faced. In the decade of the 1960s, India faced three wars that had an adverse effect on the Indian economy. The five-year plans were put on hold, bringing in annual rolling plans which focused only on sustaining the economic crisis. in the post-1970s, India followed policies that were completely influenced by Russia. The closed economic model which India pursued brought India to the brink of the Balance of Payment crisis. Subsequently, India opened up its economy, implementing liberalization, privatization, and globalization (LPG) policies. The changes were brought into the economy as the term of the agreement for IMF’s bail-out process.
The process of economic liberalization and opening up of the Indian economy to foreign investment opened up the floodgate investors, and the Indian economy was revived. But this process has a cost, as the Indian economy made a leap directly from the primary sector to the tertiary (service) sector without maturing the Secondary (manufacturing) sector. As far as economic aspects of concerned. India has seen many ups and downs. But it has managed to emerge as the fastest-growing major economy world in recent decades.
India is a country where more than 50% of the workforce is engaged in the agriculture sector, and the development of this half population is directly associated with the growth of agriculture. Hence, a popular country like India can never become prosperous without making the largest employable sector efficient.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Machinery has its place; it has come to stay. But it must not be allowed to displace the necessary labour.” These words of Gandhi are most appropriate in a country like India, where employment is as important as the growth of the economy. So, the policymakers need to take care of this; that exact replication of the Western model will not be applicable in the Indian context because our nation is much different from many perspectives.
The manufacturing sector, which was neglected earlier, is now a hotspot and can bring the desired benefits and efficient results when skilled manpower is there. In this regard, Skill India, Start India, and Standup India programmes are supporting schemes to the larger scheme ‘Make in India”. This is going to boost the MSME sector, which contributes a lot to the GDP and provides employment in good numbers.
Growth is not just about the economic aspect, but it also encompasses within itself the social, regional, and human aspects Recent development in the Indian planning process can be seen through the establishment of NITI Aayog. NITI Aayog is meant to replace the erstwhile Planning Commission, and it is more of a think tank that seeks to work with a decentralized approach. It is also focused on developing the process of discussion, debate, and discourse to promote Catholic federalism. The idea of cooperative federalism is to rec;fy d regional imbalances as the solutions are tailor-made according to the needs and strengths of a particular state or region. As far as the social aspect is concerned, India committed itself to work.
which states that a minimum of 5.3% or 70.6 million Indians live in extreme poverty. Also, there are instances where people are denied access to basic amenities of life, like healthcare, education, and livelihood. There are innumerable instances of people dying because of a lack of healthcare facilities nearby or a lack of healthcare professionals. To rec;fy the shortcomings in the health sector, the Union government has come up with the Ayushman Bharat scheme to provide secondary and tertiary healthcare insurance on a family basis. In the field of education, the government came up with the Right to Education Act and made primary education a fundamental right. Along with providing free and compulsory primary education, the government is providing a mid-day meal to make children healthier and increase the required gross enrolment ratio.
Cultural and medical tourism is one of the strong arenas in which India has much more potential when compared to any country.” The recent mass campaign of Swachh Bharat has brought into the limelight the behavioural aspect of people. This mission has a holistic vision targeting the problem of open defecation, cleanliness, hygiene, and the spread of communicable diseases. Cleanliness might be a minor issue in the complete picture, but in the long run, it has the power to benefit the masses and the economy as a whole.
MGNREGA scheme providing 100 days of assured work to the skilled labourers, has been an enabler in providing livelihood and assured income to the people. This MGNERGA scheme has been hailed as the best livelihood scheme in the world. India, being the second most populous country in the world, is struggling with the problem of job and skill mismatch. This has resulted in educated, jobless people.
In a move to resolve the problem of skill mismatch, the government came up with the Deendhayaya Grameed Kaushalya Yojana to solve the twin problem of joblessness due to lack of required skills and to reduce the dependence on the agricultural sector.
Cultural and medical tourism is one of the strong arenas in which India has much more potential when compared to any other country. These areas need proper attention and nourishment to help India emerge as a world leader. The promotion of Yoga Day and schemes like PRASAD and HRIDAY will definitely contribute a lot by creating job opportunities and increasing the forex reserve.
The emphasis has also been on MSMEs, which are labour-intensive and have the ability to drive the nation holistically. The government’s commitment to reviving the economy with an overall focus on social and regional aspects is also evident from the recently launched schemes like Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, SAMPADA Yojana, National Policy on Electronics, Smart City Mission, Vidyanjali Scheme, etc.
The recent announcement by the Prime Minister in his 73 Independence Day Speech regarding population control, the end of single-use plastics, and respect for wealth creation is a welcome step in the right direction. This shows an Indian way of moulding ideas that suit Indian conditions.
Looking at the growth in its quantitative value is only a partial or shortsighted view. Growth in the economic aspect, where India has been somewhat successful, is incomplete without cultural upliftment and environmental upgradation. India’s growth strategy needs to be an inward-looking process where India has its own set of problems, and the solution to them lies in developing indigenous models. The Indian growth model has never been completely a Western model, as is evident from the Constitution itself. India has been open to leam from the various existing ideas in the world and moulded the same according to its strengths and weaknesses.