Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid out the thrust areas for economic development and the growth of the Indian economy in his Independence Day speech from Red Fort. The move towards becoming a developed nation is likely to be fueled by growth in specific sectors that will drive the economic agenda. A major theme of the speech has been that India will attempt to break the shackles of foreign dependence be it the energy space or even defence procurement. At the same time, India will increasingly look to build on its strengths and become a global player in more sectors.
A major point of PM Modi was on respecting women and creating an atmosphere where their contributions are encouraged. This move by itself can prove to be a big driver of economic growth. With a low work participation ratio by women in India, there is a loss of potential talent from half of the eligible population. This focus even if it leads to higher participation by women in the workforce can change the nature of the Indian economy providing it with a growth impetus that will spur all-round economic development.
Defence production has been one area where India has remained a big importer but slowly things are changing and this area will continue to receive more support and attention. Locally produced equipment be it tanks or submarines and other defence equipment will be the key to reducing reliance on other countries. Increasing participation by the private sector will be a regular feature here as more opportunities open up. At the same time, other manufacturing sectors also are crucial to building a robust supply chain that is not easily disrupted and the production-linked incentive schemes are meant to achieve higher local production. The scale and ambition are huge including the production of semiconductors and while the initial results on the PLI front have been encouraging it is going to be a tough task in making Indian manufacturing competitive globally.
Information technology and telecom services have changed the way Indians actually live their lives. The Prime Minister has laid emphasis on this point with respect to using it, even more, to improve services when it comes to healthcare and education which are crucial areas in social development.
The spread of these services will bring down the gap between rural and urban areas and also between those who are in different economic groups as opportunities become accessible for more part of the population.
On the energy front, the Prime Minister has tried to balance India’s specific position with its global role. The world is facing climate change challenges and India has a major role to play in the years ahead on this front. With a focus on renewables like solar and wind and green hydrogen to replace the highly polluting coal and oil as sources of our energy, the aim is to reduce the climate impact and at the same time provide for the rising energy requirements of the country.
The Prime Minister mentioned how the Indian information technology sector has become a global player and the same story can be repeated across different service areas. It is likely that areas like tourism, medical services, education, professional services etc will occupy centre stage and the world will look at India in a holistic way. Apart from the warmth and hospitality of India, it is this country’s value system and rich culture that make it an attractive destination for people as well as businesses from across the world.
The aspirations of Indians, especially youngsters, are high and this poses a big challenge as traditional opportunities especially for jobs will be inadequate as the world economy is transformed. Corruption and nepotism make the situation even worse as the youth feel disillusioned. The Prime Minister knows that employment and economic opportunities remain a key concern for people and this is why the economic agenda and its actual delivery are key in the years ahead.
Arnav Pandya is the founder of Moneyeduschool.
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