Opinion | India – a perpetually ‘developing’ nation

Thursday, 25 February 2021



Opinion | India – a perpetually ‘developing’ nation

Subhasish Das | July 16, 2018 17:01 hrs

Notwithstanding its cultural superiority ingested through manifold experiences across centuries and the ability to withstand change continuously yet embosom new civilizations, India still languishes as a developing nation. A country that is the seventh largest in the world, has the second largest human resources, the world's 3rd largest standing army, a country that propels satellites into space, whose “Yoga” & spiritual way of life have emerged as the greatest healer in modern times, a nation that sends Mars orbiters at a cost lesser than an average Hollywood movie, doesn’t yet find itself in the league of developed nations. Isn’t it intriguing to know why such an ancient country with such enormous potential, still struggles to find its rightful place among the developed nations?

 As the country liberated itself from British control and embraced democracy in the last century, little did it know that several pernicious seeds had already been sown by the time the British left, and which would soon enlarge into massive trees of self-destruction acting as major impediments to the country’s development in the years to come. Let's discuss some of the major factors:


• Poverty: Poverty has been a major hindrance in India’s quest to be a developed nation. 70% of the country lives in rural areas in conditions that have seen little or no improvement since independence. And sadly, poverty is co-related with other social problems like illiteracy, over-population, malnutrition, unemployment, homelessness etc. It’s all linked together in a vicious circle thriving on each other.


Corruption: From schools to the parliament, corruption permeates the length and breadth of India. It has become a part of our system in a manner that it’s impossible to spend a day without some experience of it. Corruption has eroded the institutional capacity of governments as procedures are disregarded, resources are misused and public offices are traded like household items crushing democratic values like trust and tolerance. 


•  Religion: Religion has been more of a divider in this country than a unifier. And the reason for this is not just the people who follow it but also the unwanted political interference that has always existed and inveigled people whether educated or illiterate as per their convenience. 


Population: If there could be one single factor that has played the most significant role in decelerating India’s development march, it has to be its over-population. For a country that was ripped off all its treasures and wealth by the erstwhile British rulers, feeding its hungry and ever-multiplying population was always a Herculean task. The supply and demand equation has always been highly unbalanced, the latter far exceeding the former thereby creating irreversible imbalances almost in every sphere of living.



Illiteracy: India has the highest population of illiterate adults in the world at 287 million. Illiteracy in India is more or less due to the different forms of disparities that exist in our society like imbalances in gender, income, states, caste, technology etc. Even more worrying is the fact that illiteracy is directly linked to other social evils like poverty, child labour, child marriage, unemployment, social crimes etc that should ideally have no place in a developed society.


•  Caste system: The division of society into so many castes and sub-castes is sinful as it doesn’t allow upward mobility for persons belonging to the lower strata in society and is replete with gross inequality and injustice. Not just this, it has made a mockery of democracy and its values as people in this largest democracy vote on the basis of caste and religion most often overlooking merit, resulting in unfair selection of candidates throughout the country.


Terrorism: Be it Pakistan-sponsored, Maoist-sponsored or north-east insurgency, terrorism has slowed down the country’s development in more ways than one. A major portion of the country’s GDP gets diverted towards bolstering defence capabilities that could otherwise have been directed towards other development activities. A terrorist attack, in any part of the country has significant impact on the economic growth, investments, overall expenditure, not to mention the safety and security of the general people.


•  Brain drain: India has failed to hold back its talented youth and skilled workforce from migrating to developed nations. This has been a significant reason for the country’s non-development. The mammoth population, the iniquitous reservation system and the insane cut-offs for admission to top Indian institutes/colleges/universities that deny enrolment to even the deserving candidates, all play their part. Besides, better work opportunities, better pay packages, high quality of life and facilities tempt most of the students who go abroad to stay back in their host country thus triggering a prodigious amount of brain drain from India.

 Well, challenges of this complexity and magnitude cannot be solved by governments and ministries alone. To find out a solution to these issues, a collaborative approach that includes business leaders, members of civil society and academia, youth groups and social entrepreneurs as well would be required.

Isn’t it intriguing to know as to why such an ancient land, a country with such enormous potential, still struggles to find its rightful place among the developed nations?

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