Currently, only 3% of India’s GDP goes into education
While modern technologies can help drive India’s economy over the next 25 years, the country should also invest in meeting the basic needs of its population, experts said at the India International Science Festival (IISF).
India is the fifth largest economy, behind the United States, China, Japan and Germany. The country has the potential to become the third-largest economy, said Rajesh Arya, head of the Laser Electronics Division, Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology.
The country needs to improve infrastructure, agriculture, imports and exports, education, innovation, and the like, the all-male panel of experts stressed. The theme of the discussion was ‘Vision for Indian Economy in Next 25 Years: A New Age Technology Perspective’.
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Rohan Paul, assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, stressed the need for equity. Technology should also help people who are at a disadvantage, he added.
Disabled people, for instance, have different needs. “We must be humane and figure out mechanisms to ensure their needs are also met,” Paul highlighted.
Other experts said energy was crucial to India’s development. It is the engine of our economy, Ajay Kumar Kushwaha, associate professor, IIT Indore, noted. “Consumption is directly related to prosperity,” he added.
India’s energy use on a per capita basis is under half the global average, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Arya also agreed to this. He explained that electricity is required to improve critical sectors, such as infrastructure, agriculture, exports and imports.
Over 80 per cent of India’s energy needs come from coal, oil and solid biomass, IEA data showed.
“We have to increase the share of renewable energy. We can march ahead if 50 per cent of electricity comes from renewable (solar and wind), 20 per cent from nuclear, 20 per cent from fossil fuel and 10 per cent from hydropower,” Arya estimated.
The country should consider development in all spheres — from design to fabrication. Paul explained that India’s value diminishes if some country designs a product and we are merely involved in fabrication.
Since value is tied to wealth, the revenue generated goes down consequently, he added.
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In the next 25 years, India should channel its investments into projects that will help meet its population’s basic needs, said Shailendra Kaddre, product analytics lead at HP Inc.
Some 26 per cent of the population is below the international poverty line and 24 per cent are still illiterate, he highlighted. “We have to invest in hunger eradication,” he said.
Education, too, should be the focus. Education all over India is very poor, Kaddre pointed out.
Currently, only 3 per cent of India’s GDP goes into education. We should be spending a trillion dollars annually, the expert said, adding that we may be able to achieve this by 2047.
India’s economy stands at $3.17 trillion. Conservative government estimates suggest that we might become a $20 trillion economy by 2047.
Even then, he said, we’ll be a middle-income country. “We must work very hard to become a rich country,” he explained.
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