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Modi's Vision 2032: Will every Indian really have a home, AC and car?

Neeraj Thakur | Updated on: 25 April 2017, 8:29 IST
(Arya Sharma/Catch News)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a vision: to turn India into a fully developed country by 2032, with each citizen having a home, a toilet, vehicles, power, air conditioners and internet connectivity.

The vision was presented by NITI Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya to the think tank's governing council, chaired by the Prime Minister, on 23 April.

The 'India 2031-32: Vision, Strategy and Action Agenda' also envisages 100% literacy, with universal access to healthcare. Like today's developed nations, the country will have a modern network of roads, railways, waterways and air connectivity, and cleanliness, where citizens would have access to quality air and water.

Under the vision, the per capita income would increase three-fold to Rs 3.14 lakh in 2031-32 from Rs 1.06 lakh in 2015-16.

The country's GDP would also rise more than three times to Rs 469 lakh crore in 2031-32, from Rs 137 lakh crore in 2015-16.

Is the grand vision achievable?

Pronab Sen, former chief statistician of India, who also served at the erstwhile Planning Commission as a senior resource, said: “A three-fold increase in the GDP in 15 years requires an average growth rate of about 8%. This is pretty achievable, provided how the government plans it.”

Sen added: “Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in the 10th plan (2002-2007), gave us a one-line vision. He said we need to double the per capita GDP in 10 years. The current government wants to triple the GDP of the country in 15 years. In a sense, it is the same as the 10th plan.”

Sen explains that at the core of the strategy in 10th plan was to push up the rate of savings and investments in the economy. “This could only be done if public savings could be brought to positive from negative. That is why in 2003, the Financial Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act was enacted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his vision 2032, has already set a target of providing housing for all in the country. His government has also announced various sops for low-cost housing projects, to encourage private sector developers to build affordable homes in the country.

Possible hurdles

Pinaki Chakraborty, faculty member at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, said: “Our maximum growth was achieved post 1991-92. That was the time when all the economies were opening their borders for free trade. But today, the scenario is exactly the opposite. So we must ask ourselves whether it is possible to grow at the envisaged 8% for 15 years in the current global scenario?”

In 15 years post 1991-92, when India and the other world economies began trading freely, India's per capita income at constant prices, the per capita income rose from Rs 15,748 to Rs 30,805 (about 1.9 times).

Chakraborty quoted the data to suggest that in the post-Donald Trump era, if there is increased protectionism in world economies, achieving 8% growth will not be easy, and would depend on the growth of domestic economy.

Jayati Ghosh, a professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, however, critiqued the whole idea of looking at per capita income or the size of GDP in preparing long-term growth plans.

Growth in per capita income means nothing for the poor in the country. The government should rather aim at increasing the wages of the bottom 20% of the population. They should get better health and education facilities. Unless we incorporate this vision in our planning, it does not make sense whether the economy's size doubles or triples in the next 15 years,” added Ghosh.

First published: 24 April 2017, 22:26 IST
Neeraj Thakur @neerajthakur2

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