‘India emerges as global economic power’: The Wall Street Journal
Till a few years ago, India was talked about for its oppressive regulatory mechanism and red tapism and poor infrastructure, but today the country is talked about, especially its economy, in glorious terms, said the Wall Street Journal in its recent report.
“In fact, 2023 could be the year India finally emerges as a global economic heavyweight. For that, thanks to the cumulative effect of solid economic growth, microeconomic reform and a changed geopolitical environment that has the West more eager than ever to draw India into its orbit,” the US-based business daily said.
Demographic transition and its impact on economy
For this change in economic status, the daily terms India’s youthful population as one of the factors. With over 1.4 billion people, India is the most populous country in the world, and the size of its consumer market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. This presents a huge opportunity for both domestic and international businesses looking to tap into the country's vast consumer base.
“The bullish case on India always starts with demographics. This year, it is expected to officially surpass China as the world’s most populous country, and one that is much younger than China and most of the West,” the Wall Street Journal said.
The US-based business daily also highlights the declining number of poor people and India’s growing economic clout. “The economic clout that comes with population has been muted in India’s case because it is so poor—but it is steadily getting less poor.”
Since 1995, India’s nominal GDP has jumped more than 700%. It has also achieved one of the highest poverty reduction rates globally, with over 160 million fewer people living in extreme poverty in 2015 than in 2000. And now, according to a report by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC), India is set to overtake the US to become the second top economy in the world in 2050 after China on the basis of GDP at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).
The Wall Street Journal also presents the same narrative about India. “The International Monetary Fund says India’s annual economic growth will average 6.5% this year and next, the fastest among 30 major economies, resuming a two-decade trend of solid growth. Last year, India displaced the U.K. as the world’s fifth-largest economy in current dollar terms and could tie Germany for fourth place by 2025,” the reputed business daily said.
Role of infrastructure in improving lives of people
Without solving infrastructure related problems, the economy cannot have such an impressive performance. “In recent years, numerous new expressways have been built or are under construction. From 2014 to 2019, national highway kilometers expanded by 45%. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in 2014, the number of airports has doubled and the total of rural roads has increased 85%. Electricity plant capacity has risen 66% and blackouts have become much less frequent,” the Wall Street Journal said.
Infrastructure, both physical and digital, has also improved the lives of ordinary Indians. In the past three years, “the number of homes with piped water has roughly tripled to 108 million,” the US business daily said.
Ease of doing business through digitization
In the digital field, India is making rapid progress. “The digitization of public services has made it possible to carry out countless tasks online, such as tax appeals and Covid vaccine appointments,” the Journal said, while praising India’s startup and unicorn sector. “India’s vibrant startup scene, which now includes more than 100 unicorns—new business valued at more than $1billion,” the American business daily which is also published in Chinese and Japanese language edition, said
Improving business environment
Prime Minister Modi has been praised for prioritising India’s “notoriously burdensome and inefficient business environment with a new bankruptcy law to speed up the resolution of insolvent companies and a goods and services tax that has boosted the number of taxpayers and simplified collections.”
This is not all. The Wall Street Journal has eulogized the Modi government for its continuous effort to improve the business environment in India. “Thousands of minor technical and procedural defaults have been, or are being, decriminalized, a longstanding demand of business,” the American daily said.
India wears significant appeal on its sleeve despite some flaws in its democracy. “The Biden administration has clearly concluded that while India might be a flawed democracy, those flaws don’t diminish the appeal of having such a large and influential economic power in its corner as the geopolitical contest with two true autocracies, China and Russia, heats up,” The Wall Street Journal said.