Asserting that the Indian economic juggernaut is on a roll, the country's top envoy in the United States on Friday said that conditions are right for India to be a global superpower of the 21st century. "The Indian economic juggernaut is on the roll and conditions are right for it to be a global super-power of the 21st century," India’s Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, said in his address to the students and faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School.
In his keynote address "Next Phase of India's Growth and Development,", he said that India took nearly 60 years after independence to reach the 1 trillion mark economy. But it has taken just 12 years since then to take it to 2.0 trillion and only five years, from 2014-2019, to take it from 2.0 trillion to 3.0 trillion.
"The Prime Minister of India has set a goal of achieving the 5.0 trillion mark by 2025, and we are all working diligently to achieve that goal," he said.
"India's growth story is based on its fundamentals. While accelerating growth, we have also achieved macro-stability, inclusive and sustainable growth. We have achieved high growth, maintaining social cohesion, democracy, and rule of law," Shringla said.
While inclusion can be the biggest failing of rapid growth across the world, he said that India has managed it remarkably well! Income Inequality has been a problem in many advanced economies, but India has managed to pull millions out of poverty ever since growth accelerated following the liberalization of the 1990s, he added.
Social Inequality in India, he said, has been addressed through affirmative action and improved opportunities for the disadvantaged groups who were systematically left behind by the travails of history.
Spatial Inequality, he noted, has been dealt with by redistribution of financial resources through the Finance Commission set up once every five years and through the mechanism of centrally sponsored schemes and investment incentives for the backward areas.
Asserting that India's Constitutional democracy is exemplary, he said the country has survived and prospered while several other nation-States post the world war have fallen.
"Our Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all our citizens with an independent judiciary to enforce them. Together with growth and development India’s sociopolitical and institutional framework has promoted social cohesion and helped build a fair and equitable State that is run for, by and of the people!" he told the audience.
Shringla said India would soon have the largest market base (population), and with rising per capita incomes, it will go on to be the largest market in the world.
By 2030, one in two households is expected to be middle class. By then, India would also be an upper-middle-income country as per the World Bank classification.
"This essentially means, by the middle of the 21st century, India would be the largest market on earth, a country which no power would be able to ignore, and whose economy would be closely linked to product markets around the world through global value chains and to the factor markets through investment capital and skilled workforce," he said.
Foreign Direct Investment in India is flowing in record numbers. India achieved record FDI flows of US USD286 billion between 2014-15 to 2018-19, making it one of the most attractive FDI destinations across the world, he said. Massive efforts are being made to improve the infrastructure, he added.
India's ranking in the world bank's ease of doing business report has improved from 142 in 2014 to 63 in 2019, a jump of 79 places in a short span of five years, he said.
India is the fastest-growing digital economy and has the third-largest Start-up ecosystem in the world. This, combined with a large pool of skilled professionals, will make India the technology incubator of the future world, he said.
"India is not just growing, but growing responsibly," Shringla said. India, he said, is committed to cleaning up the environment and making its growth sustainable for both its citizens and the world.
"India is already the fifth largest economy in nominal terms and the third largest in purchasing power parity terms. As India inches towards the 5.0 trillion target, it will become the third-largest economy in every possible way," Shringla said.