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Will the $5 trillion economy be possible for India by 2024?

By N.S.Venkataraman

After receiving massive mandate in recent parliament election and getting second term as Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi with his characteristic courage of conviction and confidence and with his capability to think beyond the present time , has fixed the target of 5 trillion US$ economy for India by 2024.

Year 2024 would be the period when Mr.Modi would complete his second term as India’s Prime Minister . This means that Mr. Modi has set the target for himself and the country to be achieved by the time when he would complete his second term.

Present Indian economy is estimated to be of size 2.74 trillion US$ at market exchange rate in 2018-2019. From the present stage to reach 5 trillion US$ Indian economy in 5 years, Indian economy has to grow at compound rate of 10 to 11% every year. India has never achieved economic growth at this rate in the past several decades including best performance year.

Many wonder whether this target is too steep and whether it would be possible to achieve and why Mr.Modi has set such target for himself and country by 2024. Mr.Modi has said that the target would be hard to achieve but not impossible.

This view is typical of the man who is presently in charge of guiding destiny of the vast populous country of around 130 million people , which is facing multiple, complex and inter related problems and issues.

Population growth

The recent UN report has said that India will emerge as most populous country in the world by 2050, when Indian population would touch around 1.54 billion people, out growing China which is another most populous country in the world.

One of the pre requisites to achieve such huge economic growth in India, which is not possible without social stability, is to control the population growth but there is no indication that Mr.Modi has applied his mind so far to the challenge of massive population growth. Does Mr.Modi think that more manpower would mean more muscle power , which would be a strength and not a weakness,

If so, is it optimism at extreme level or helplessness in tackling the population explosion issue?

Inefficient government machinery

There have been number of innovative and original ideas that have been thought about and introduced in 1st term of office by Mr.Modi . Such meaningful schemes include introduction of GST, construction of thousands of toilets for poor people ,promotion of non conventional energy such as solar and wind power, afforestation, rural electrification, opening of bank account for poor people, digitalisation, road construction projects, revival of sick urea fertiliser units ,clean India scheme and others..

For implementing such schemes, funds have been allotted and firm plans and actions have been chalked out. But problem is in the pace of implementation with the required level of commitment and efficiency by ministers and government machinery .While impressive gains have been made during Mr. Modi’s first term, progress is still inadequate to achieve the target that would meet the national needs.

The problems faced by Mr.Modi is that the government machinery at various levels are not moving with speed and dynamism that is expected by Mr.Modi. He is simply not able to make the government machinery to work in a way that is needed to achieve the target

Corruption continues to be the order of the day. Though corruption has been largely controlled in ministerial level directly working under Mr.Modi , there is still no wide spread fear of being punished for corrupt practices amongst the officials. Corruption have not yet been wiped out to make any significant impact in the national growth.

The corruption in state level also continues at ministerial level as well as in top, medium and lower level at unacceptably high level.

Without checking the corruption and syphoning away of the funds by the various officials and politicians in power, which results in the funds deployed for welfare , economic and industrial projects not providing the commensurate benefits,progress in India will be very limited.

It is not possible to achieve the target set by Mr.Modi for himself and countrymen , unless significant dent would be made in toning up the administration and government machinery and wiping out corruption at national and state level as well as in private sector and voluntary bodies.

India can not be one man show

Overwhelming majority gained by Mr.Modi in recent parliament election, in spite of vituperative campaign launched by the determined opposition parties , clearly indicate high level of confidence amongst countrymen that Mr.Modi commands.

People all over India, by and large, think that Mr.Modi can achieve great ends and they believe that if Mr.Modi can not set right things , it is extremely doubtful whether anybody else can do this in foreseeable future.

Mr.Modi seems to be fighting all alone and all by himself. Most of his “think tanks and lieutenants ” do not seem to be self starters and they look upto Mr.Modi’s guidance and largely derive inspiration from him. This dependence on Mr. Modi makes the burden on him more intense.

Certainly, there is no over night solution for India’s problems.

India is a country with around 25 percent of the population still living below poverty line, agricultural sector face distress conditions due to frequent monsoon failures and drought, research and development efforts not still being taken up in the technology front with the dynamism and dedication that is required, politics becoming a free for all with characterless people and family groups gaining vice like grip over national politics. Challenges facing Mr.Modi are very severe.

Mr.Modi , while setting target for himself and the country men said that target is hard but possible to achieve.

Mr.Modi , perhaps, thinks that such tough target will give the country men a firm sense of purpose, direction and goal, which is necessary.

It appears that Mr. Modi thinks that such tough target will pave way for striving hard . Even if 60 to 70 percent of target would be met , India would forge ahead significantly.

This appears to be the essence of Mr.Modi’s thought process.

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

Published Date: Monday, June 24th, 2019 | 09:07 PM

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