The nation is poised for a major power status; but the crucial question is: whether India will be able to achieve that status, because of internal and external constraints. Several reports issued by international agencies in recent times have projected a major power picture for India. But is India progressing in that direction? Twenty-five years ago, in the year 1995, the U.S. Commerce Department declared India as a ‘Big Emerging Market’. Since then American and global investment and eagerness for India increased. India is playing a more active role in global politics and the economy. Perception about India has changed, but the big question remains: is India on the road to a major power tag? This article aims to discuss this question and search for possible answers, on the eve of the 74th Independence Day.
Challenges to Emerging Power Tag
Constraints are there, both internal and external. Internal constraints like poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, health care, transportation et. al. are known and have been discussed several times. Admittedly, lacunae in these areas need to be strengthened significantly if India wants to be on the road to big power. But I will not harp on these issues again. Rather I will prefer to talk on issues not frequently discussed in relation to India’s big power ambitions. To begin with, India must walk the way to become a manufacturing country. Currently, the Indian economy is more reliant on the service sector. The Indian Service sector contributed more than 55 percent of GVA (Gross Value Added) to the economy, whereas the manufacturing sector contributed only 29 percent of GVA in 2019 – 20 (Govt. of India, “Economic Survey, 2019 – 20”; https://www.prsindia.org/ report-summaries/economic-survey-2019-20). There is nothing wrong with the development and growth of the service sector, but the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the overall growth of the Indian economy must be augmented in the near future. We must concentrate on setting up manufacturing industries in the near future. This may save valuable foreign exchange and generate employment in the country. In this context, the “Atmanirbhar” concept of the present Indian government is a laudable plan. But industrial growth must not be pursued at the cost of developing social sectors like health and education. Budget allocation for social sector development must also be increased.
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