It is estimated that by 2050 the Republic of India will have the world’s third largest economy, alongside a population of 1.5 billion people, thus usurping the PRC as the most populous nation on earth. The future looks bright, therefore, for a country that had a literacy rate of only 52% a decade ago and successfully made the transition to a market-based economy during the mid-1980s.

Now, with news of Coca-Cola’s ambitious $2bn dollar investment into the country’s already burgeoning Food and Beverage industry, it appears as if the subcontinent’s golden child is going from strength to strength. But is there trouble beneath the surface of the nation’s rapid ascension to global economic prowess?

…desire for wealth and power that has drowned out a myriad of calls for environmental and demographic protection. 

Irrespective of estimations and success stories, it remains evident that if India is to actually reach its predicted potential, society as a whole must change. One such cause for concern is the disconcerting prevalence of corruption, a carcinogenic malaise on Indian society that stretches to the highest echelons of the country’s political and financial systems. As highlighted by recent troubles regarding the Goan mining industry, it is the burning desire for wealth and power that has drowned out a myriad of calls for environmental and demographic protection. Illicit mining activities have clearly taken precedence over the wishes and interests of Goa’s landscape and people.

This type of tumultuous market environment is certain to afflict the nation’s poorest…

Such disregard for the fastest growing population in India could most definitely leave its mark on future generations, already manifesting itself in the form of increased respiratory illnesses among children. Even Goa’s once stable Tiger population now faces more and more difficulty as industrial encroachment threatens the state’s already small reservations.

Comparatively, however, such problems are trivial when one takes in to account increasing inflation and a 3% decline in the country’s annual growth. The central bank has raised interest rates over ten times in nearly two years in a desperate attempt to curb rising prices, a measure that appears to be painfully ineffective given the ever increasing cost of food and fuel. This type of tumultuous market environment is certain to afflict the nation’s poorest, most deprived citizens, thereby widening the already colossal wealth disparity that permeates the very foundation of Indian society.

Infrastructurally, too, there must be a complete overhaul if the republic is to progress. It is estimated that roughly 600 million citizens have no electricity at all, alongside a lack of running water that effects even the most urbanised of areas. Even with the third largest road network in the world, less than 70% of these are actually paved.. While India may be a dormant super power, it will never reach its full potential without drastic reform. Straddling the Asian continent with booming industrial growth, space programmes and nuclear capabilities, India must first rectify the most basic of societal problems if it is to become a major player on the world stage. 

 

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Modern Languages student at UCL with an interest in Current Affairs and Sport.

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