India: Imminent changes round the corner

India is going through a transition with huge government expenditure in infrastructure, rural development schemes, financial inclusion, spread of telecom and mobile phones, and the establishment of fibre optic network across the country. Prof. Chander Sabharwal writes
India: Imminent changes round the corner
India: Imminent changes round the corner

India is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2024 and be home to more than 1.5 billion people by 2030 and 1.7 billion, by 2050. India has more than 50 percent of its population below the age of 25, and more than 65 percent below the age of 35. By 2020, the expected average age in India, will be 29 years. Over 70 percent of the population lives or is linked to over 640,000 villages in the country, contributing 50 percent to India’s GDP. The 18 percent of population lives in 7,834 towns contributing 25 percent to GDP. The 12 percent population lives in 44 cities {Census 2011}. The iconic Pyramid {Prahalad}, has expanded in its middle, creating a “diamond”, by the increasing “Climbers” entering, the lower/middle classes in both urban and rural areas.

Since the turn of the 21st century, more so, from the last decade, the rate of change of development in both urban and rural areas, has accelerated rapidly. This has been the impact of huge government expenditure in infrastructure, rural development schemes, financial inclusion, spread of telecom and mobile phones, and the fast establishment of fibre optics network, across the country, facilitating internet connectivity, even in remote villages and geographies, of the country.

This impetus is fuelled by digitalisation of media, communications, and skill building programmes, through widespread penetration of formal and informal educational forays, through schools, colleges, universities and specialised training institutes. Technology and Information accessibility and adoption across all strata of socio -economic households, has resulted in a multiplier of aspirational thrust at village and semi urban levels. Agriculture, both farm and non-farm, is seeing fresh visions from the Government of “Doubling Farmers Income by 2022”, albeit, through solar energy penetration, use of modern practices using improved mechanisation such as, new farm equipment, tractors, drones, satellites, fertigation and many diverse regional initiatives, though public private partnerships, and Agri Start-ups.

Indeed Agriculture, thus far a neglected sector, will likely see land reforms ; streamlining of Commission Agency system ; build up of Cold chains and storage infrastructure for post-harvest crop protection ; much higher Minimum Support Prices(MSP) than ever before for growers ; a robust farm to retail value chain, aided by e-Markets such as National Agricultural Market (NAM) and variety of e-commerce solutions, that may eliminate many redundant members of the channel of distribution, thus, delivering, higher price to farmers for their produce.

e-Governance, mobile wallets, cashless transactions through internet, and banking infrastructure are likely to reduce the menace of corruption and exploitation. Animal husbandry, dairy farming, poultry, fisheries, and aquaculture will get linked with new agribusiness models, that usher in an era of inclusive growth, through PPP’s, FPOs and KVKs, thereby, giving a boost to productivity, disposable incomes and increased spread of services into travel, entertainment, healthcare, insurance, banking, tourism, retail, and industry. A robust GST and taxation regime, operated through technology, Aadhaar, and e-Governance, will result in increased tax base, revenues, investments, and consumption of goods and services – the essential requirements of economic multipliers, that are poised to propel India to +8-9 percent GDP in the future years. Spread of electricity to villages, record food and milk production; LPG connections; and “Make in India” impact, are factors, that cumulatively are likely to generate employment, especially in small towns, thus encouraging reverse migration. Digital transformation is forcing everyone to change, the way future living will emerge, riding on a wave of political stability and a whole new set of aspirational surges.

Such economic, technological, and social reforms, all managed through political focus, are bound to result in “Imminent changes” for all sections of society. Women, especially from rural areas, will see more and more empowerment, and opportunity to raise their head and demand employment, products, and a more meaningful place, in family and society. Hitherto their contribution to nation building was minimal; in the future their contribution to income generation, adoption of new social order, and becoming significant players in Services, Retail, and Agribusinesses, will inevitably add to national growth. Women from semi urban and urban areas, are already playing leadership roles, in participating in diverse sectors and carving their place in the world. They will want a place on the driving seat.

Agriculture will see technological impact, higher exports of fruits and vegetables, more GM crops, new vertical farms and a whole new emerging way to produce and package food. Agribusiness start-ups are the new beacons of change.

Smart cities, towns and villages, as they stabilise, will open up exposure of the youth, to contemporary lifestyles, better health, and layers of different thinking and outlook towards domestic and global issues. The acceptance of India by the world, as an emerging economic super power, will enable vastly increased levels of economic growth and social development. The youth, now educated, will gradually have a different mindset, and demand quality and leadership, to satisfy their aspirations.

Indeed, there are winds of imminent change. India and Indians have come a long way from being a country of servants being ruled; their finest hour is ‘now’; their future, verily in their palms. How we, as a vast diverse nation, learn to weave these changes into a tapestry, that gives us happiness, health and safeguards our culture, traditions and values, will be challenges galore! Surely, we must take pride when we call ourselves “Indians” and keep our heads high, and let the world, for a change, die of envy!

(Prof. Chander Sabharwal is the Managing Director of ISK Biosciences India. Prof. Sabharwal holds over a 5-decade long professional journey in the agrochemical industry; from molecularisation to product development to bringing into the farmers’ fields. Prof. Sabharwal has also been teaching at Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad and Amity Business School. Views expressed in the article are author’s own.)

Copyright: Chander Sabharwal

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