Dec 26, 2010
'For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance' (Mat 13:12). India is one of the developing and emerging global economic powers of the world. Everyone eyes India as it rightly projects to West as an economy generating power. Most companies tend to or at least aspire to base their business outsourcing firms in India.
There are loads of call-centres and BPO's spread across the country. And of course, these firms do raise job opportunities. As I walk the streets of London I feel proud to be an Indian because everyone thinks Indians have money. Newspapers report about the latest economic figures as improving at faster level as opposed to British Economy. Is this true? Are we as rich as 'India' or only some of us are rich in India? Does the world know that at least 38% of the population lives below the poverty line? Does the media and business world show the slums in Mumbai or just the multimillion house of Mukesh Ambani?
It is all irony for me when I tune into news channels. I am sure there are so many issues that India as a nation should be responsible for when showing the world that we are emerging economy. Look at our neighbour China, Do we really know the economic status of China in exact figures? Every tiny or large material I touch in the market is Chinese made or assembled in China. Why does not China showcase its economic power?
Let us do some in-depth enquiry into the economic well-being of India. I am proud to be a part of an emerging global economic power, but my question is, do we really need to showcase it when we have so many other issues being swept under the carpet? Our GDP is pretty consistent and there is significant growth at $1,235 trillion (nominal) for 2009, and GDP per capita income is $1,032. Our GDP growth rate as of 2010 is 8.8%. GDP per capita income is necessary to measure the wealth of the people in a country. Now this is measured, as you may know, by averaging the GDP of the country.
I am apprehensive about the whole business of averaging. How can someone average the total wealth of a whole country where there is a giganitc gap between the rich and the poor and proclaim that it is the wealth or income of the People? Does it give us genuine figures when there is such a huge gap between the poor chaiwala and the rich Ambanis?
Now the misery of the low income earners is doubled since there is a significant growth in the inflation rate. In September 2010, inflation rate stood at 8.62%. Does inflation add to misery of the poor? Price of rice (staple food for most Indians) going up by even 5% will result in foregoing a meal among the poor. I am sure people around the world can figure out these figures, I am no mathematician. Therefore, digital figures that appear in the international business news cast a shadow on the poor and the marginalized resulting in projecting India as an emerging global power. This might curb our access to the International aids and funds that help developmental projects.
A month ago Guardian (British newspaper) had a whole page dedicated to showcase Mukesh Ambani's expensive house in Mumbai. Some patted on my back saying 'well done Indians.' It was rated the most expensive house in the world. I was thrilled to read that India has the 4th richest man in the planet but I am also fully aware that India has the poorest person in the world too. I used to work in the slums in Ramwadi in Pune where people struggled to make their ends meet. They lived in absolutely miserable conditions, along the sewage canal. The stench and mosquitoes brought deadly diseases like malaria, dengue, cholera and so on. Their children would succumb to sickness because of malnutritions.
On the other hand, there were huge multimillion buildings like Gold Adlabs, McDonalds, ect right next to the slum. How can one stomach this? I don't think I need to blabber on after giving a short but clear glance at the reality of India.
Therefore, are Indians really rich? Does the world read India in its real form or a glamorous haven bubbling with wealth? I would emphatically say that a few Indians are rich but a majority of them are poor and many of them live below the poverty line. When Obama made trade deals with India everyone was fascinated with the idea. How does the new trade deal of America help the poor people in the slums and remote villages? For instance, the deal includes jet aircraft - do we think an ordinary person can afford flying in India?
'Grass is greener on the other side of the fence' is what many of us seem to feel. This can stray us away and stunt the growth of our economy. Gigantic international firms might replace our traditional domestic industries resulting in further poverty. Let me leave it at that allowing you to ponder over it.