Visiting India this week, renowned journalist Fareed Zakaria, CNN, expressed his optimism about India’s growth and development. Zakaria is bullish about India’s future, crediting a series of revolutions that have significantly impacted the country’s economic prospects.
Fareed noted that the Aadhaar revolution has provided 99.9% of adult Indians with a unique digital ID, enabling them to open bank accounts, access government payments, and more, with minimal corruption. This publicly owned and operated system differentiates itself from Western private monopolies, allowing entrepreneurs to build businesses on the platform without excessive fees.
The Jio revolution, led by business magnate Mukesh Ambani, provided affordable phones and data packages, catapulting India to the forefront of per capita mobile data consumption globally. Over 700 million Indians are now connected to the internet, with smartphones serving as their primary computing devices.
Lastly, the infrastructure revolution has seen significant government spending on roads, airports, train stations, and other projects. This increase in construction and connectivity is transforming India’s economic landscape.
According to Fareed, to fully capitalize on these revolutions, India must address its greatest challenge: inclusivity. Visionary architect of Aadhaar, Nandan Nilekani, envisions using the platform to provide loans to millions of small businesses, creating jobs and opportunities for those on the economic, social, and political margins. Another crucial aspect of inclusivity is empowering Indian women, whose labour force participation has fallen to 23%. Closing the gender gap could boost India’s GDP by over 30% within three decades.
By fostering inclusivity, India can celebrate the nation’s pluralistic democracy. With a focus on not only the quantity of growth but also the quality of its values, India has the potential to become a true global leader.
Fareed Zakaria’s recent visit to India left him thoroughly impressed by the nation’s progress and potential. The Aadhaar, Jio, and infrastructure revolutions have created a strong foundation for India’s future growth, enabling the country to emerge as a global force. By addressing the challenges of inclusivity and embracing its pluralistic values, India is poised to demonstrate a unique blend of economic prowess and social progress. Zakaria’s optimism serves as a testament to the remarkable strides India has made and the bright future that lies ahead.