Fastest and fifth largest: India’s economy is unstoppable


It may be a coincidence, but it is nonetheless a deep satisfaction for every Indian that India has overtaken Britain to emerge as the world’s fifth largest economy in the 75th year of its independence from British colonial rule.

The achievement also comes at a time when Britain is scrambling to shore up its plummeting economy and tackle runaway inflation which has driven the cost of living to levels never before imagined by the UK, Europe and the West. Economists who have relentlessly criticized India’s economy are puzzled that they failed to foresee Britain’s woes, and indeed many of those in the West. To paraphrase French President Emmanuel Macron, the days of plenty are well and truly over for them. And they could barely start for us.

Bloomberg, which first announced that India was overtaking Britain to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, contextualized it in colonial terms of a colonizer left behind by its former colony. The Emperor has long since been stripped of both empire and glory; over a period of time, Britain shrank into Little England; but its economy remained strong and the UK firmly maintained its place in the list of the top five economies. As offensive as the colonial reference in the Bloomberg report undoubtedly was, it also underscored how a country that had been battered, bruised and bloodied by its British rulers in 1947 had steadily risen to recover what had been lost: the economic prosperity and influence.

It would be good to recall that the British colonization of India essentially concerned the economic exploitation of this country and the transfer of wealth from India to Great Britain. Seventy-five years ago, when the Tricolor replaced the Union Jack on August 15, 1947, India’s share of world GDP had fallen from 24.4% in 1700 to a meager 3%. Britain prospered while India was pushed deeper into poverty. It is important to remember these figures to understand India’s meteoric rise over the past eight years, which has seen Prime Minister Narendra Modi make major policy changes to put the national economy into high gear and catch up with the lost decades when successive governments lingered with Soviet-era state control and grossly underestimated the potential of Indian business, choosing to ignore aspirations for restrictions.

In 2014, Prime Minister Modi buried the past and launched a future that would meet the many aspirations of Indians, unlock their potential and set this great nation on a growth trajectory while ensuring that the last person in the last row benefits of a richer and more prosperous India. These eight years have seen the impact of constant changes made by Prime Minister Modi, making India’s history the most relevant in the world. Statistics by themselves tend to tell a partial story. India has become the fifth largest economy in terms of nominal GDP with 13.5% in the first quarter of fiscal 2023. If we were to take purchasing power parity into account, India’s GDP makes it the third largest economy in the world, behind the United States. and China. All available indices and projections suggest that while the GDP of others will stagnate or decline, India’s will continue to rise. Which means that India will maintain its lead and accelerate the pace of closing the existing gaps.

The two consecutive years of the Covid19 pandemic have severely affected the Indian economy, as they have around the world. These were years of adversities which PM Modi converted into opportunities. His foresight prevented India from going the way of others by splurging and wasting resources. Instead, he opted for a safe and cautious approach, targeting spending on job-creating infrastructure projects and promoting incentive programs to get the industry back on track.

The production related incentive scheme worth Rs 2 lakh crore has started showing results. These measures came against the backdrop of PM Modi ensuring vastly improved ease of doing business, political stability, revised labor laws and a hugely popular and world’s largest digital payment system, in addition to leveraging of the Indian technology pool, to encourage start-ups and unicorns. , and engage directly with global investors and industries.

While the focus was undoubtedly on getting the economy back on track and promoting a rise in GDP that had been battered during the years of lockdown, Prime Minister Modi did not forget those who have borne the brunt of the pandemic – the poor and disadvantaged. The world’s largest free food program with nearly two-thirds of India’s population receiving free rations, coupled with the world’s largest Covid19 vaccination campaign, has helped India’s economy recover from the ravages of the pandemic and gain both speed and scale.

In 1947, India was a deprived nation. As we enter the 25 years preceding the 100 years of freedom, “Amrit Kaal” of our nation, we are stronger and more prosperous. Today, India is the world’s largest consumer of smartphone data, it ranks second in terms of internet users and it is the third largest consumer market in the world, ranking second rank of the Global Retail Index. The very fact that India is the third largest consumer of energy highlights its booming economy. Since the importation of products from Lancashire 75 years ago, there has been a dramatic increase in Indian textile exports. We are now strong players in global trade, surpassing previous export records and touching Rs 50 lakh crore this year. Our export of goods crossed Rs 31 lakh crore. A country that once lived at the mercy of PL 480 now exports food around the world.

The list of achievements of the Modi government is long. Suffice it to mention that over 100 billion dollar companies have been created and new companies are being added every month. The valuation of unicorns created in the last eight years is Rs 12 lakh crore. Under the tireless leadership of PM Modi, India has grown from a few hundred to 70,000 start-ups. Yet growth and prosperity have not been uneven: 50% of start-ups are in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Much of this success is due to India’s digital revolution ushered in by PM Modi. In 2014, India had 6.5 crore broadband subscribers; today there are more than 78 million subscribers. The introduction of the GST has served entrepreneurs well while plugging the gaping holes in tax collection.

But India is not just about chrome and glass shopping malls illustrating its growing prosperity. No one understands this better than PM Modi. So he focused on poverty reduction, which is happening. A recent study by the IMF shows us how extreme poverty and consumption inequalities have fallen sharply. Housing and health care for the poor have had a remarkable impact on social development indices, as have a host of programs ranging from the provision of subsidized LPG to the poor, to bringing clean tap water to every rural household. Mudra loans and other related programs have given impetus to self-employment opportunities that not only create micro-enterprises but also generate jobs. Compared to global energy price increases, India is in a better position; post-pandemic turbulence had the least impact on quality of life.

PM Modi’s vision of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat’ has slowly but surely taken shape. It is a vision that involves both the government and the people – a joint effort, or ‘Sabka Prayas’.

This Bharat is self-confident and “atmanirbhar”, ready to take up challenges and overcome adversities. Crossing the double milestone of emerging as the fifth largest and fastest growing economy is undoubtedly a stupendous achievement for India and Indians. From this moment, we begin our journey on the path to achieving PM Modi’s goal of creating a $5 trillion economy. It can now be said with confidence that India will also take this step in the next two years. That happens.

(Anurag Singh Thakur is the Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Union Youth and Sports, Government of India)


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