Viewpoint: An Optimal Development Strategy

04 JUL,2022 | MEDC


  • As far as India's socioeconomic development goes, the greatest gap at present is the absence of a coherent strategy reflecting administrative concerns, growth challenges and opportunities. This has to take top priority in the political agenda. Unlike military strategy, a strategy for socioeconomic development must involve the top levels of both the central and the state governments. It should also transcend general goals like sustainable development, and focus on tangible issues obstructing the growth process at the grassroots level.
  • Covid has strongly shone the spotlight on the development of an up-to-date healthcare system. There is clearly an inadequacy of affordable healthcare for the less affluent, and a lack of sufficiently professional diagnosis even for the well-heeled. There are, of course, exceptions, but healthcare is generally turning into a consumer product. Given this trend, policymakers could consider drafting data-protection rules that make it clearer to entrepreneurs, investors and consumers, what healthcare-related data can be shared with whom and how. The hospital-industrial complex – reinforced by the pandemic – is now here to stay, and India's public healthcare system needs to work around it.
  • Targets set at the national level mean little where local administration is ineffective. The key is improving governance at all levels. Minimum government with maximum governance should be more than a cliché. The choices most relevant today for formulating implementable strategies for national (and state-level) development are between policy alternatives. This means shifting the onus of development from the political to the professional platform, both within and outside the government. This adjustability is now particularly important for India as it is more tightly integrated with the global economy, which is becoming increasingly unpredictable.
  • Dealing with climate change needs to be on top of the official agenda. Counting the cost of global warming is difficult as no one knows really how much to attribute to climate change and how much to other factors. But a clear indication of its rising costs is the number of people affected by natural disasters. That figure is steadily rising. The poor are usually more vulnerable here than the rich. Flimsy housing and inadequate healthcare means that natural disasters of all kinds affect them more than others. The gains from the Green Revolution are already shrinking due to local pollution, global warming, and declining resistance to pests and disease. Climate change policy is no longer a simple choice between growth and ecological wellbeing – it now also has a multifaceted socioeconomic dimension.
  • Dominating global supply chains is not the only route to economic success. Technological change is expanding the range of exportable services, and providing more opportunities for workers in emerging economies to compete with their counterparts in the developed world. However, India needs to improve its education and vocational training system which still does not perform as well on learning outcomes as it does on measures of enrolment. India's sustained growth has the potential to change the world. A large English-speaking population and a democratic political system could allow India's hard and soft exports to wield more global influence than China's did at a similar income level. This is an opportunity we should not miss.


*Picture Credit: Google


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