Modi’s “Dream of a Developed Country in India” is hard to come true

  On the occasion of India’s 76th Independence Day on August 15, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi followed the old tradition and delivered a speech at the Red Fort in Delhi, claiming that “we must turn India into a developed country within the next 25 years, within our lifetime. Nation”, put forward five determinations for India’s development. 25 years later, the year 2047 marks the 100th anniversary of India’s independence.
  Indian politicians have never lacked dreams and confidence, and “talking about soldiers on paper” is a distinctive feature of Indian democratic politics. Twenty years ago in 2002, Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee, also from the BJP, said in his speech on Independence Day that India would enter the ranks of developed countries by 2020. But today’s reality is that despite India’s $3 trillion economy and per capita income rising to $1,800, India’s HDI hasn’t improved much.
  Although Modi is a more pragmatic political leader in India, he cannot get rid of the characteristics of “big talk”. In his Red Fort speech in 2016, Modi promised to double farmers’ income on India’s 75th Independence Day. To this day, he seems to have forgotten to honor his previous promise. In the Red Fort speech in 2018, Modi also proposed that India should achieve a GDP target of US$5 trillion by 2025, and develop it into a GDP of US$4 trillion by 2022, the 75th anniversary of independence. Economy. The core goal of Modi’s tenure is to “catch Germany and surpass Japan” and become the world’s third largest economy. But the reality is that India’s economic size in 2022 is still far from 4 trillion US dollars, and by 2025 India will certainly not achieve the goal of 5 trillion US dollars in economic size.
  The other side that needs to be acknowledged is that under the leadership of Modi, India’s economic development performance is still quite good. Excluding the outbreak of the new crown epidemic in 2020 and 2021, the average annual growth rate of India’s GDP since 2014 is about 7.3%.
  Through Modi’s ninth Independence Day speech, what should be seen more is Modi’s ambition to reshape India’s country and society. Among the five resolutions, in addition to building a developed country, Modi also called on people to get rid of the colonial mentality, to enhance national pride and self-esteem, and to be proud of India’s historical heritage. Modi even called “India is the mother of democracy”, and the implication was to criticize the US and the West for pointing fingers at Modi’s national governance and human rights issues. At the same time, he called for a united and united India, instead of the past Indian leaders who took pride in emphasizing India’s pluralism.
  However, Modi did not give a specific plan for how to make India a developed country in the next 25 years. On the surface, India has the possibility of achieving economic take-off. India’s huge market, growing middle class, cheap labor, and relatively dazzling economic growth have led many multinational companies to expect India to become the world’s factory like China. However, the historical course of the past 30 years has shown that the gap between China and India is growing, not getting closer.
  The continuous rise of the Indian economy is facing hard constraints from a series of factors. After Modi came to power in May 2014, he did carry out some “dramatic” reforms in economic policy, tax law, labor, land and other policies, but by the end of 2018, the Modi government’s tendency to “domestic protectionism” became more obvious. Moving from an import substitution policy to a “self-reliance” policy, raising tariffs from an average of 13 percent to 20 percent. The Indian government has also carried out various “economic blackmail” against foreign-funded enterprises on the grounds of national security and tax review, and adopted various methods to disrupt, crowd out, and extort foreign-funded enterprises, resulting in the collective withdrawal of foreign-funded enterprises from India, or the reduction or modification of their presence in India. investment plan.
  In recent years, India has increasingly questioned the correctness of “opening”, especially the “globalization” participation without “protection” in the past. The core reason for this regression is that openness is not the consensus of all political forces in India. India’s reforms since 1991 were not the result of India’s active pursuit, but a passive choice made under the pressure of the upheaval in the Soviet Union and the East and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The collective consensus on promoting development through openness has not laid a solid foundation in India. The characteristics of India’s electoral system also make it difficult to overcome the drawbacks that may harm the disadvantaged in the process of economic opening.
  In addition, although India has a good demographic structure, the demographic “dividend” can only be effectively exerted when it is combined with economic development. This is why the Modi government is trying to promote “Make in India”, trying to solve the employment problem by developing labor-intensive industries.
  However, after several years of efforts, little success was achieved. There are two main reasons, one is that India has missed the best period to embrace globalization. In the 1980s, China leveraged its comparative advantage in labor by introducing labor-intensive manufacturing. At that time, the Rajiv Gandhi government directed the development of India to service industries such as electronic software, and achieved the current “World Office”. The difference in the original path of economic development has led to path dependence in subsequent development. It is not easy for the Modi government to readjust. On the other hand, the advantage of the population is not the same as the advantage of the quality of the population. India has serious deficiencies in the basic education and medical system, coupled with the lack of education and labor skills training, it is not easy to expand employment. The development of artificial intelligence will also offset India’s advantage in population.