The Economy of India is the eleventh largest in the world by nominal GDP and the third largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). Over the years, following these strong economic reforms, the country's economic growth progressed at a rapid pace with very high rates of growth and large increases in the incomes of people. India today is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. There is a scope for positive change in the Indian governmental and economic plans. Today, India is unfortunately poised as a nation with strict Red Tapism where establishing a business takes approximately 220 days to process. The rigidity of our Labor laws are impeding efficiency and hampering production.
Engineering marvels like the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation have brought India into the league of the elite nations. Today, the Indian Railways is the largest rail network of the world and has won many accolades across the globe and it's a cheap mode of transportation for the people, but there is scope for improvement –especially when it comes to provision of services.
Earlier, development was painfully slow because the developmental activity was taken up by the Public Sector but slowly this has prompted the government to partially open up infrastructure to the private sector allowing foreign investment and most public infrastructure, barring railways, is today constructed and maintained by private contractors, in exchange for tax and other concessions from the government. Monopoly of the government in few key sectors is far outdated and is yet to go. Experts believe that this might be because the government continues to believe that it is solely responsible for people's welfare, health and education. Is this really true?
India and China are often considered to be the world's rising economic powers, yet if China's growth has been led by the state, India's growth is often impeded by the state. China's authoritarian leaders have built world-class infrastructure; India's infrastructure and bureaucracy are both considered woefully outdated. Take the example of Gurgaon that borders the Capital city of New Delhi: To compensate for long power outages, Gurgaon's companies and real estate developers operate massive diesel generators capable of powering small towns. To compensate for water shortage bore wells are drilled. Companies employ hundreds of private buses and taxis as the Public Transportation is not sufficient. Delhi scored an edge over Gurgaon when it comes to transportation and developmental activities by introducing the Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System (DIMMTS) and 'Bhagidari' scheme which is a Citizen-Government partnership program to boost development. This clearly shows us that the nation is progressing and at a rapid pace. But why still is there dysfunctional governance?
Our founding fathers embraced a socialistic society because they presumed that capitalism resulted in colonialism and therefore led to economic exploitation of India by the British. In some way, it can be safely termed an experiment conducted on our economy. Nehru laid big plans for the country with visionary motives. However, he failed to foresee that a Centralized planning economy might lead to rampant corruption.
Our economy has boomed. Despite witnessing the rapid development of peers such as Japan, South Korea and Malaysia, we decided to stay behind and not be the early fore-runners for globalization. Things did change once we began liberalizing our economy by 1991. Brands such as Infosys, Bharti Airtel, Birla Group, Future Group, Aravind Eye Hospital were created and they've grown to become extremely popular and successful. They set a benchmark – one that clearly hinted that the time for a governmental monopoly was over.
Today, we are expecting a second set of reforms to begin, as promised. The government is trying to get out of the sector where its services are no longer required. It is trying to become the umpire and regulate rather than decide the players and the team - allowing private sector to take care of all the services that is needed for the country's development and for the people's welfare.What does all this have to do with the future governance of our country?
Are these feasible solutions?
What is hindering their implementation?
What are the challenges and what is the work-around?
What is the future?
To answer this, we intend to invite policy-makers across all major fields to talk about how we can build the nation and possibly brain storm different methods of achieving our goals. The session's objective would be to raise awareness amongst our youth about governmental policy frameworks (that is outside their academic syllabi) so that they can understand where we are going wrong today and strive for the building of the nation that they dream to live in.