Many people who are passionate about India’s progress and development have said that India is already a developed nation!!!
I disagree with that completely – as of today, I believe India is not a developed nation..yet. Opinions differ from person to person and I started thinking about the reasoning behind my opinion.
When can a country be considered as a developed nation?
There are different metrics used by different groups:
1. GDP: Some use Gross Domestic Product as an index
2. Poverty Level: Some claim poverty levels should be used as a measure.
Wikipedia has many more details on the ways in which ‘Developed Nation’ is defined. While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) classifies India as a ‘Emerging Economy’, I liked Kofi Annan, the former UN General’s definition of a Developed Nation:
“A developed country is one that allows all its citizens to enjoy a free and healthy life in a safe environment.”
It is widely accepted that US, Canada, UK and Western European nations, Israel, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are considered as developed nations.
I use ‘Standard of Living’ provided by the Government as a key metric in defining whether the country is a developed nation or not. If the standard of living improves automatically everything else improves and hence the growth of the country on the whole – thus leading it to become a developed nation.
Standard of Living is a phrase used to define how the infrastructure is and how the living conditions are. This is directly tied to how the government running the country or the state has accomplished to provide to the people living in that country or state.
Some of the primary elements that contribute to the standard of living are:
- Good Government School System
- Good Roads
- Good Public Transportation System
- Electricity and telecommunication facilities such as telephone, internet, etc
- Adequate Water Supply
- Proper Drainage System
- Good Government Hospital
- Well connected key emergency services such as Police, Fire and Medical Emergency services
- Good Utility Services
Some of the secondary elements that contribute to the standard of living are:
- Low Corruption Levels
- Low Discrimination levels – Equality without caste, race, etc.
- Organized Grievance System to address concerns of the public
- Easy access to elected representatives
- Good economic planning and implementation to encourage trade and commerce
- Adequate vocational training institutes to promote self employment
While the primary list consists of permanent improvements, the secondary list is purely a variable that can swing up or down based on the government that is in power.
There could be many more added to this list.
Due to the presence of MPMLA.IN website, there is a very good source of information that is available to see what are the facilities that people feel is lacking in their areas.
The plan is to come up with a ‘Standard Of Living’ Index for each constituency which will also help people to compare how well a consitituency is performing when compared to others.
As of today, I am not aware of any constituency in India that has provided even 50% of the primary elements mentioned above.
Here are some examples of reality today:
- Every single person in India wants to send their kids only to private schools and no wonder school business is flourishing in India. Why? This is because the Government schools are far below the standards of the private schools.
- The same is the case with private hospitals in India. Why are people afraid of Government hospitals?
- How many people do you know who are in the middle class or above, but go to a Government Hospital or Government School in India?
- How many places in India have good roads? Cities, may be. Villages? forget it – if we have
- Public Transportation: Thank God for the past 100 years of our railway network, we can claim to have one of the biggest public railway system in the world. Besides that, our roadways are just average.
- Electricity: There are still many villages which do not have electricity
- Corruption: Are we aware of one area in India where corruption is not present at the grass root level?
The above items are just examples of the issue that is widespread across many areas listed in the primary and secondary items above. Once the above items are taken care of, the country will flourish and there will be improvement at all levels of life. What we see today in India is just based on the fact that ‘Rich is getting richer and poor is getting poorer’.
If you feel you can do some thing to change this, please feel free to contact me and together we can do something.
Due to the above reasons, I still believe India is not a developed nation, but sincerely hope that with efforts of good willed citizens like Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam, we will soon be one.