MMA-KAS held a virtual discussion on the theme of the book, “Decisive Decade – India 2030: Gazelle or Hippo” authored by Mr Kiran Karnik, Former President, NASSCOM & Director, Central board of Directors, Reserve Bank of India.
According to Mr Kiran Karnik, the current decade up to 2030 is important for India. He said that the decade from 1991 was significant because of the liberalisation and the reforms announced. Then there was a slowdown in both the Indian and global economies. Moreover, the change of government, demonetisation and GST introduction put temporary skids on our growth. When things started stabilising, there was Covid, which put our economy and education back by two years. Therefore the decade up to 2030 will be very crucial for India.
The Significance of Gazelle and Hippo
India has always been associated with the elephant for its sheer size and steady progress. Later, the tiger became the symbol of the ‘Make in India’ movement. A hippo is a large animal generally slow in movement, but it charges at anyone going near it. It is not an animal that is liked by people. On the other hand, a gazelle is pleasing to the eyes, friendly and agile. How India charts its course in this decade will decide if it will become a gazelle or hippo by 2030.
Key Takeaways from the Q&A:
- There will be loss of many existing jobs, but there will be an overall increase in jobs requiring different kinds of skills.
- The demographic dividend will help India to be a powerhouse.
- A TFR (total fertility rate) of 2.1 is the recommended replacement rate for the population to sustain at the current levels. But we see a decline in TFR in many states and the population curve will flatten. Also, because of good healthcare, the people in the older age group are increasing and they need social care and other kinds of support.
The number of parliamentarians for the Lok Sabha was arrived at based on the delimitation exercise carried out in the 1971 census. This will need to be revised in 2026.
- Many of the aged people may be able to contribute to the workforce through gig jobs. Women also can contribute to the workforce apart from being a housewife, enabled by technology and models such as WFH / WFA (work from home / anywhere).
- The number of parliamentarians for the Lok Sabha was arrived at based on the delimitation exercise carried out in the 1971 census. This will need to be revised in 2026. There has been a sharp increase in the population of northern states as compared to the southern states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The future will be decided by 3Ds: Decentralisation, Devolution and Digitisation. In fact, digitisation will drive decentralisation and devolution of powers.
- If the number of parliamentarians is arrived at purely based on population of States, there is a possibility that northern states like UP and Bihar will have more number of MPs. The southern states may lose their voice in such a set up.
- However, it is hoped that our parliamentarians will discuss and resolve this dilemma in an acceptable manner. One option is to have Lok Sabha (Lower House) MPs based on population and Rajya Sabha (Upper House) MPs as a fixed number for each state, to overcome this anomaly.
- The future will be decided by 3Ds: Decentralisation, Devolution and Digitisation. In fact, digitisation will drive decentralisation and devolution of powers. This will happen not only in polity but also in manufacturing.
- Does ‘gazelle’ imply that India could become a prey for larger nations –like the US, China or Russia? It is possible, but India has to focus on being with allies or find an elephant behind which we can take cover.
- The government of Delhi has done a lot of good and visible work to improve the government school education by improving the infrastructure, painting the schools and creating a nice ambience, improving the teacher-parent connect, etc. Social organisations are also helping the government in this good initiative but they are in need of funds. There are some other states too which are doing well in school education. India needs to focus on this similar to the landmark institutions we have set up like IITs and IIMs.
- IT connectivity can help in developing the rural economy apart from agriculture based economy, and bridging the urban-rural divide.
- If India can come to some sort of understanding with Pakistan and China to freeze the borders as it exists now for 30 years till 2050, India can have peace and concentrate fully on development. However, this is just a hope. China did this earlier with its neighbours and fully focussed on its development for close to 30 years.
- India needs to concentrate not only on eliminating hunger but also on providing nutritious food, especially for children. Schemes like MGNREGA have helped in reducing hunger. Maybe, we can improve on MGNREGA and come up with more innovative schemes.
- India has been doing well in terms of alliances with other nations like QUAD and we can continue in this direction. It will be good if SAARC is revived and it becomes a force to reckon with and help us protect our borders. But it remains a dream as long as Indo-Pakistan hostility continues.
- India has progressed so well because of democracy. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen stated that India did not have famines because of democracy. Even in Covid, because of democracy and the criticism the Government faced in handling the situation, so many corrective steps happened so quickly, like in the oxygen supply, availability of ventilators, vaccination, etc.
- India’s spending on healthcare so far has been dismal. The silver lining from Covid and also from political compulsions is that the government is now working on trying to address this issue. The Delhi government which campaigned on health, education and safety could win by a massive mandate in the state elections.