India’s Economic Development – A Myth
India is prospering, Indians are not. (Mani Shankar Aiyar)
While India is ecstatic over its nine percent economic growth rate; it remains indifferent to its alarming unemployment. Neither the Indian government nor the opposition seems to care about this grave situation.
According to statistics quoted by ‘Times of India’, nearly 30 million Indians are unemployed, 26 million are officially underemployed, 40 million want additional work and 35 million are looking for better job. In another report, published in ‘The Millennium Post’ stated that 30,184 applications were received for an advertisement for 22 casual labourers (Beldar) posts in India. Three among them were law graduates and thousands were art, science and commerce graduates and post-graduates.
These candidates had apparently approached the Member of Parliaments (MPs) of their area to recommend their names for these positions. The posts were completely contractual, daily wage basis. A casual labour paid around Rs 236 per day, which comes to a maximum of Rs 7,100 per month. Unlike developed countries India doesn’t have any record of unemployed. This absence of data abet the number/percentage about unemployed would have further mottled the otherwise declining growth that is expected to be below 6% this year.
According to sources, India will soon ink defence deals worth around $ 35 billion with Russia, including two mega ones for 42 more Sukhoi-30MKI fighters and 59 additional Mi-17V5 armed helicopters. It seems quite astonishing that Indian Government is increasing its defence budget without bothering about common man. Two third of India’s i.e. 1.1 billion citizens continues to live on less than one dollar a day.
The people living below the poverty line have nothing to do with the defence spending. In the past five years, India had spent as much as $25.5 billion on military imports, making it amongst the largest arms importers in the developing world. India is a country which bullies neighboring countries and has no direct threat of aggression from any country, so it can not justified its massive defence spending.
The socio-economic indicators of Indian society do not allow India to have a huge defence budget. The poor condition of the agriculture, education, unemployment etc has exposed its fake economic progress. Paradoxically, there is only a false sense of economic growth in India which is divorced from ground realities. According to a survey conducted by ‘BBC World’ almost half of all Indians feel that their country’s economic ‘miracle’ has done nothing to benefit them or their families. The survey revealed the growing sense of division in Indian society between the newly affluent middle classes and the socially disenfranchised rural poor.
The percentage of inflation is much higher than what is projected at the national level by the Indian Government. For common man, inflation means rise in prices of wheat and flour. The poverty stricken people are committing suicides in the country. The Indian Government failed to provide employment to its vast population. According to the Minister of Labour and Employment the enrolment by the job seekers in the Employment Exchange in 2010-11 was 79 Lakhs against the average of 58 Lakhs during past ten years.
The quality of education is also not satisfactory, which is indicative of Indian government’s ignorance towards this sector. According to a study, 38 percent of the children who have completed four years of schooling cannot read a small paragraph with short sentences meant to be read by a student of class II. The number of people living in slums in India has doubled in the past two decades. The ballooning slum population is also an evidence of the Government’s failure to build enough houses and other basic infrastructure for its urban poor, many of whom live without electricity, gas or running water.
It is worth mentioning that India is in negative growth mode. Industrial production is down for the first time in two decades. Export fell by 20 percent and at least 1.5 million officially employed workers are expected to lose their jobs within this quarter. Apart from the industrial sector, the agricultural sector despite being the back bone of Indian economy viewed a decline. The agricultural growth of 3.2 %observed from 1980 to 1997 decelerated to two percent. This was due to low investment, imbalance in fertilizer use, a distorted incentive system and low post harvest value.
India claims to be the biggest democracy of the world and is embarked upon a way to assert her dominance and significance. It uses any fair or unfair means to remain in the limelight and portrays itself as the World’s fastest upcoming economy and a developing country after China. Indians continue to portray as a very strong nation to the West through the media and Bollywood which is an effective tool of their projection. Ironically, only a false sense of economic growth and modernization cum development is being spread while hushing up ground realities. There is a need that India should first provide basic amenities such as clean water, food and housing to its citizens in order to become a truly global player which seems not possible in near future.(Afia Ambreen)