Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 31 July 2023

India’s superpower dream

Source: By The Statesman

FirstIndia has surpassed China to become the world’s most populous nation. India’s population is expected to increase for at least the next 70 years, according to the UN. By 2090its decrease might recur. But the statements are valid only if one makes the assumption that awful occurrences like warspestilencesfamines, etc. do not take place. But China’s situation is unique in that a reduction in its population is anticipated.

Additionally, that will also last until 2090. Thus, there will be a growing population gap between these two nations. Second, Krishna Srinivasan predicted that the Asia-Pacific area will become a bright star on the world economic map in the near future during the most recent IMF meeting.

Growth of between 3.8 and 4.6 per cent has already been confirmed. It is also predicted that the Asia-Pacific region will control roughly 70 per cent of world growth. Just two nations – China and India – will be responsible for close to half of this growth. India (in FY23, India’s GDP grew by 7.2 per cent, above both market estimates and the RBI’s estimate of 7 per cent) will earn 15.4 per cent, and China 34.9 per cent.

And this is where the ideas of the average person are challenged. The assertions made by the UN and the IMF appear to be at odds with one another. Contrary to what the Malthusian theory claims, population expansion does not cause food shortages or other difficulties.

History demonstrates that increasing populations have always sparked industrial revolutions, which have subsequently contributed to growth. Western nations serve as a good illustration of this. It is true that inflation will ensue, economic inequality will widen, democracy will suffer, and people’s lives will first be disrupted. However, it is still true that people will eventually have the chance to live better lives. And that will help the nation overcome its difficult circumstances. Let’s use some probable situations to show the issue. Fifty-two per cent of Indian citizens are under the age of thirty at the moment. Any economy would benefit greatly from having these young people. This can be a great labour force.

Also they are the future’s consumer class and are at the peak of their working lives. The larger economy is actually supported by both of these combinations. When they have kids, they’ll become fervent shoppers and expand the market. If Japan or China don’t keep excellent relations with India, they’ll lose this battle, since in those countries, the ageing issue has already peaked. When examining the old age dependency ratio, this becomes clear. It places a heavy responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the young. Here, India is in an excellent position. However, India has two fundamental issues: a dated educational system, and unemployment. Middle-class teenagers with education wander around but cannot find employment.

And the primary cause is that their educational system is out of date for the twenty-first century. An unemployable generation has been produced by useless degrees, as the title of a recent newspaper article argues. India must therefore address this issue first.

The question is: Can India’s unemployment problem be solved just by modifying education policy (NEP)? The answer is no. On the other hand, India will not be able to benefit technologically from the current state of affairs since it lacks that edge. India’s basic research capacity is likewise constrained. In the future world, where artificial intelligence and the digital economy will play a crucial role, India won’t be able to compete. What then is the way out? The way is to rely on China and Japan in this regard, because they too will compromise with India for the consumer market and the workforce.

It is because of this mutual cooperation that Asia and the Oceanic region have come up in the judgment of the IMF. India has already opened itself up as a manufacturing institution. Human resources and mineral resources of the country are the real horses here. And India is trying to run them in this direction. India is eager to establish itself as a semiconductor hub. Separately, the Indian government unveiled a website with the same name. Even a $10 billion budget for incentives was announced. India is unwilling to fail at anything this time around, unlike in 2006 and 2013. There was a global scarcity of semiconductors during the pandemic.

Taiwan is the country where 90 per cent of the world’s premium chips are produced. Taiwan is crucial to both China and the United States in this situation. The US-China dispute over Taiwan as a result is getting more complex. And by making the most of this chance, India hopes to become a major semiconductor producer. Semiconductors are necessary for 5Gquantum computing, and artificial intelligence.

As a result, the nation’s economy will undoubtedly develop in order to satisfy that demand. However, India’s tax structure and lack of any commercial production capability are significant barriers. As a result, the Indian government is currently altering both in order to position itself favourably. It’s also vital to note that India suffers from unjustified hostility against China. Additionally significant are ties to AustraliaJapan, and the United States. Because Australia provides resources like silicagallium, and indium, the US has excellent design firms, and Japan has some of the ideal gases utilised in semiconductors. Maybe India will proceed with them in mind.

Arms production and export are further factors. India was not included in the top 25 exporting nations in the SIPRI survey. However, there is no need for despondency. In fact, the global economic crisis and pandemic have caused a 5.1 per cent fall in the armaments trade. Africa saw a 40 per cent decline in India’s top customers, Asia and Oceania saw a 7.5 per cent decline, and the Middle East saw an 8.8 per cent decline. Additionally, the United StatesRussiaFranceChina, and Germany have taken up around 90.7 per cent of exports. India is not listed for this reason.

There should surely be some adjustments. Non-governmental organisations export only 21 per cent of India’s weapons. In that aspect, encouragement is also crucial. India might have made progress on that project. India’s exports of weapons nearly doubled between 2016–17 and 2022–23. The Ministry of Defence reported on 1 April that India now supplies weapons to 85 nations worldwide. India used to be known for importing, but things have changed.

Count on more. India will view population expansion not as a weakness and burden, but as a strength and ally if it frames itself as a manufacturing hub in many respects. It’s also true that India has some undesirable political instabilitycorruptiongangsterismmafiaeconomic disparity, and other issues. For them to be resolved, efforts from all sides must be made; otherwise, political isolation and selfishness will tighten the noose around the nation’s neck and attempts from all sides will not produce results. And dreams will not come true.

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