The next 40 years of development will be substantially different from the past 40 years
It has been postulated by many that the development process that India is likely to experience in the future would be very different from what it has been during the last few decades, in the post independence period. Though inter-regional differences with respect to the level of development exist, yet it has been argued that our country as a whole is on the cusp of change. This argument is usually based on the following premises:
- Though agriculture contributes least to the GDP even now, yet more than half of the country’s population is in one way or the other employed in the primary sector. In the coming years, a shift in this regard is likely to be experienced.
- Further a shift in the nature of agricultural produce from cereals to non-cereal and commercial crop production is expected in the times to come.
- Since the level of urbanization has been increasing, the pressure on urban infrastructure, viz. clean water, housing, sanitation etc. is likely to be more than rural infrastructure in the future.
- The Right to Education is likely to reduce the deficit in primary education, if implemented well. Thus more focus is likely to be on higher education in the future.
- Since lifestyle habits of Indians have been changing, there have been increasing instances of lifestyle diseases. As sanitation and food security situation improves, the instances of communicable diseases may come down. With focus on women and child health, the percentages of maternal and infant mortality are likely to decrease. Thus new diseases arising due to the urban lifestyles and old age problem may be the focus areas in the future.
- Focus on skill acquisition as an alternative to dole outs for removing poverty may gain more support in the future, as the national discourse changes and there is more acceptance of a liberalized economy as opposed to a centralized, socialistic, planned economy.
- Alternative sources of energy are likely to get more attention as opposed to imported fossil fuels.
- There may also be a change in our external sector as the importance of Asian countries for trade grows while that of OECD and Russia decline.
These changes are likely to be experienced in the next 40 years, thus changing our development process.