Development Experience of India

Development Experience of India Introduction

In the preceding units, we studied the developmental experience of India in detail. We also studied the kind of policies India adopted, which had varying impacts in different sectors. Over the last two decades or so, the economic transformation that is taking place in different countries across the world, partly because of the process of globalization, has both short as well as long-term implications

for each country, including India. Nations have been primarily trying to adopt various means which will strengthen their own domestic economies. To this effect, they are forming regional and global economic groupings such as the SAARC, European Union, ASEAN, G-8, G-20, BRICS, etc. In addition, there is also an increasing eagerness on the parts of various nations to try and understand the

developmental processes pursued by their neighboring nations as it allows them to better comprehend their own strengths and weaknesses vis-à-vis their neighbors. In the unfolding process of globalization, this is particularly considered essential by developing countries as they face competition not only from developed nations but also amongst themselves in the relatively limited economic space enjoyed by the developing world. Besides, an

Demographic Indicators

If we look at the global population, out of every six persons living in this world, one is an Indian and another a Chinese. We shall compare some demographic indicators of India, China, and Pakistan. The population of Pakistan is very small and accounts for roughly one-tenth of China or India. Though China is the largest nation and geographically occupies the largest area among the three nations, its density is the lowest. Table 10.1 shows

Development Experience of India The population growth is highest in Pakistan, followed by India and China. Scholars point out the one-child norm introduced in China in the late 1970s as the major reason for low population growth. They also state that this measure led to a decline in the sex ratio, the proportion of females per 1000 males. However, from the table, you will notice that the sex ratio is low and biased against females in

all three countries. Scholars cite son preference prevailing in all these countries as the reason. In recent times, all three countries are adopting various measures to improve the situation. The one-child norm and the resultant arrest in the growth of population also have other implications.

For instance, after a few decades, in China, there will be more elderly people in proportion to young people. This led China to allow couples to have two children. The fertility rate is also low in China and very high in Pakistan. Urbanization is high in China with India having 34 percent of its people living in urban areas.

Gross Domestic Product and Section

One of the much-talked-about issues around the world regarding China is its growth of Gross Domestic Product. China has the second largest GDP (PPP) of $22.5 trillion in the world, whereas India’s GDP (PPP) is $9.03 trillion and Pakistan’s GDP is $0.94 trillion, roughly about 11 percent of India’s GDP. India’s GDP is about 41 percent of China’s GDP.

When many developed countries were finding it difficult to maintain a growth rate of even 5 percent, China was able to maintain near double-digit growth during the 1980s as can be seen from Table 10.2. Also, notice that in the 1980s, Pakistan was ahead of India; China was having double-digit growth and India was at the bottom. In 2015–17, there has been a decline in Pakistan’s growth rate.

Pakistan has a higher proportion of urban population than India. In China, due to topographic and climatic conditions, the area suitable for cultivation is relatively small — only about 10 percent of its total land area. The total cultivable area in China accounts for 40 percent of the cultivable area in

India. Until the 1980s, more than 80 percent of the people in China were dependent on farming as their sole source of livelihood. Since then, the government has encouraged people to leave their fields and pursue other activities such as handicrafts, commerce, and transport. In 2018

Indicators of Human Development

You might have studied the importance of human development indicators in the lower classes and the position of many developed and developing countries. Let us look at how India, China, and Pakistan have performed in some of the select indicators of human development.

shows that China is moving ahead of India and Pakistan. This is true for many indicators — income indicators such as GDP per capita, the proportion of the population below the poverty line, or health indicators such as mortality rates, access to sanitation, literacy, life expectancy, or malnourishment. China and Pakistan are ahead of India in reducing the proportion of people below the poverty line and also in their performance in sanitation.

However, India and Pakistan have not been able to save women from maternal mortality. In China, for every one lakh births, only 29 women die, whereas in India and Pakistan, about 133 and 140 women die respectively. Surprisingly, all three countries report providing improved drinking water sources for most of their population. China has the smallest share of the poor among the three countries. Find out for yourself how these differences occur.

In dealing with or making judgments on such questions, however, we should also note a problem while using the human development indicators given above with conviction. This occurs because these are all extremely important indicators, but they are not sufficient.

Along with these, we also need what may be called ‘liberty indicators’. One such indicator has actually been added as a measure of ‘the extent of democratic participation in social and political decision-making,’ but it has not been given any extra weight. Some obvious ‘liberty indicators’ like measures of ‘the

development strategies In appraisal

It is common to find the developmental strategies of a country serving as a model to others for lessons and guidance for their own development. This is particularly evident after the introduction of the reform process in different parts of the world. To learn from the economic performance of our neighboring countries, it is necessary to understand the roots of their successes and failures.

It is also necessary to distinguish between, and contrast, the different phases of their strategies. Though countries go through their development phases differently, let us take the initiation of reforms as a point of reference. We know that reforms were initiated in China in 1978, Pakistan in 1988, and India in 1991. Let us briefly assess their achievements and failures in pre- and post-reform periods.

Why did China introduce structural reforms in 1978? China did not have any compulsion to introduce

Development Experience of India reforms as dictated by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to India and Pakistan. The new leadership at that time in China was not happy with the slow pace of growth and lack of modernization in the Chinese economy under Maoist rule.

They felt that the Maoist vision of economic development based on decentralization, self-sufficiency, and shunning of foreign technology, goods, and capital had failed. Despite extensive land reforms, collectivization, the Great Leap Forward, and other initiatives, the per capita grain output in 1978 was the same as it was in the mid-1950s.

It was found that the establishment of infrastructure in the areas of education and health, land reforms, the long existence of decentralized planning, and the presence of small enterprises had positively impacted improving the social and income indicators in the post-reform period.

Development Experience of India Before the introduction of reforms, there had already been a massive extension of basic health services in rural areas. Through the commune system, there was a more equitable distribution of food grains. Experts also point out that each reform measure was first implemented at a smaller level and then extended on a massive scale.

The experimentation under decentralized government enabled the assessment of the economic, social, and political costs of success or failure. For instance, when reforms were made in agriculture, as pointed out earlier

By handing over plots of land to individuals for cultivation, it brought prosperity to a vast number of poor people. It created conditions for the subsequent phenomenal growth in rural industries and built up a strong support base for more reforms. Scholars quote many such examples on how reform measures led to rapid growth in China.

Development Experience of India Scholars argue that in Pakistan, the reform process led to the worsening of all the economic indicators. We have seen in an earlier section that compared to the 1980s, the growth rate of GDP and its sectoral constituents have not yet improved.

Though the data on the international poverty line for Pakistan is quite healthy, scholars using the official data of Pakistan indicate rising poverty there. The proportion of poor in the 1960s was more than 40 percent, which declined to 25 percent in the 1980s and started rising again in the recent decades.

The reasons for the slowdown of growth and re-emergence of poverty in Pakistan’s economy, as scholars put it, are agricultural growth and food supply situation was based not on an institutionalized process of technical change but on good harvests.

When there was a good harvest, the economy was in good condition; when it was not, the economic indicators showed stagnation or negative trends. You will recall that India had to borrow from the IMF and World Bank to set right its balance of payments crisis; foreign exchange is an essential component for any country and it is


Development Experience of India What are we learning from the developmental experiences of our neighbors? India, China, and Pakistan have traveled seven decades of a developmental path with varied results. Till the late 1970s, all of them were maintaining the same level of low development. The last three decades have taken these countries to different

levels. India, with democratic institutions, performed moderately, but a majority of its people still depend on agriculture. India has taken many initiatives to develop the infrastructure and improve the standard of living. Scholars are of the opinion that political instability, over-dependence on remittances and foreign aid along with volatile performance of the agriculture sector are the reasons for the slowdown of the Pakistan economy.

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