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Subhash C. Jain and Ben L. Kedia

In 30 years, India will celebrate 100 years of independence. Based on where the nation stands today, it is reasonable to assume that in 2047, it will be counted among developed countries. India’s economy is set to become the third largest in the world behind the United States and China. Indians, by and large, are enterprising people and have a fascination for technology. With dynamic leadership, India should be able to realize its dreams for the future. The country has a free road to travel. However, there are obstacles that India must cross, both external and internal. India is located in a tense neighborhood surrounded by expansionist China and unstable Pakistan. Internally, a number of potholes may derail India’s progress such as the Naxalite insurgency, the spread of populism in some states, widespread corruption, growing inequality among the masses and dire environmental decay. Even with these problems, India’s future looks bright.

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Subhash C. Jain and Ben L. Kedia

In 1950, after three years of independence, India became a constitutional democracy. The Constitution abolished untouchability, the centuries-old lingering issue. At the same time, while Hindi was identified as the national language, for the unity of the country, for 15 years English was accorded the same status to facilitate communication between non-Hindi-speaking states/people and those who spoke Hindi. Finally, following the Constitution, the first free election was held in 1952, a remarkable feat for a country without any prior experience in the matter. After five years, the second election was held in 1957, establishing the tradition of a vibrant democracy for the future.

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Subhash C. Jain and Ben L. Kedia

As India began its endeavors to develop the economy, it faced a variety of problems that created obstacles for smooth progress. Firstly, China invaded India in 1962. Then, Nehru passed away in 1964, temporarily creating a vacuum in leadership. Meanwhile, the continuing trouble with Pakistan took its toll. In addition, bad monsoon rains in successive years meant farmers were unable to feed India’s growing population. About the same time in 1965, the constitutional provision to make Hindi a national language after 15 years became a major issue, especially among non-Hindi-speaking states. The country was at a critical juncture whereby a mistake in this matter could split the country. Fortunately, Prime Minister Shastin took the bold step of extending the role of English as a national language while non-Hindi people were unwilling to accept Hindi. After Shastin died, Indira Ghandi became prime minister. In her initial years, Bangladesh was established as an independent country from Pakistan. More importantly, however, the country adapted Mexican high-yield wheat to Indian growing conditions, solving the country’s food shortage problem.

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Subhash C. Jain and Ben L. Kedia

The strategic thrust depicted in the previous chapters can only succeed if four foundational pillars are in place. These pillars or levers for action are: emphasis on technology; advancement of women’s equality; organized urbanization; and enhancement of education at all levels. India is fully aware of the importance of these factors, and the current government has been taking steps to advance its strategic thrusts. It has taken a number of bold initiatives, and it is hoped that the pattern will continue in the future.

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Subhash C. Jain and Ben L. Kedia

The chapter examines the strategic thrust that India needs to create enough jobs in view of its large population and grow at a respectable rate to provide a comfortable living for its people. One crucial aspect of this thrust is the promotion and encouragement of large companies to become globally competitive. This is feasible if all factors of production, that is, labor, land, capital and technology, are simultaneously addressed, making it easier for companies to take the risk, make investments and grow competitively. At the same time, India must encourage entrepreneurship to spread industrial culture far and wide, and open the door to innovation. India needs both large companies and small enterprises to create an industrial society for growth and prosperity.

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Subhash C. Jain and Ben L. Kedia

Until 1991, India continued to follow the model of economic development where state planning and public sector enterprises were the levers of growth. This model delivered a dismal growth rate of 3–4 percent. At the same time, regulations on all fronts prevented India from becoming part of the global economy. In 1991, the government, forced by a shortage of foreign exchange, liberalized the economy. The reforms had a tremendous positive impact, both economically and politically. The economy grew at a decent rate, creating opportunities in all sectors. Yet, considering the size of India’s population, many more reforms are needed on a continual basis. For example, inefficient firms must be eliminated. Corruption must be controlled. As India stands today, it looks to current Prime Minister Modi to take bold steps in leading the country to abolish poverty, and creating a substantial middle class.

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Subhash C. Jain and Ben L. Kedia

After independence, India successfully established a secular state with diverse cultures, religious traditions and languages. Independent India is unique and does not have the characteristics of a typical nation state. It represents oneness in the hearts of all people despite diversity of various dimensions. After independence, a major problem that the nation had to address was extreme poverty and economic development on all fronts became a major goal. While examining various development aspects, Indian leaders decided to seek economic prosperity through a planned effort. A new body called the Planning Commission was established to systematically create a five-year plan to undertake different programs for economic progress. It was also decided that public sector companies would play a major role in the industrial sector especially in the development of basic industries, such as steel, machine tools, aerospace and others.

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Subhash C. Jain and Ben L. Kedia

After independence, India had to promptly resolve three issues. First was the identity of the country, that is, what is India? Unlike other nations, India could not be identified by a religion or a language since its people belonged to different religions, spoke different languages and belonged to different castes. The leaders settled with the title Republic of India to encompass all people despite diversity. The second problem was the relocation of more than 8 million people who migrated from Pakistan. The third concern was the integration of more than 600 princely states into the Republic of India. Difficult as they were, all these challenges were successfully addressed and resolved.

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Subhash C. Jain and Ben L. Kedia

Political pundits and intellectuals, both in India and elsewhere, wondered if India could survive as a democracy given its huge diversity. But despite the challenges, it did. The chapter pinpoints major aspects of India’s success. Firstly, leaders who fought for India’s freedom continued to be active for a long time in post-independent India establishing a strong foundation for a democratic society with an appropriate institutional framework. Other factors include pluralism of religion, linguistic organization of states, administrative setup of the government through the selection of intelligent and capable individuals who kept the army away from politics, Hindi cinema and Bollywood movies which people enjoyed immensely throughout India, free mobility of people throughout the country, emerging communications technology and a common passion by Indians for the game of cricket. They have all been instrumental in maintaining the unity of the country.

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Subhash C. Jain and Ben L. Kedia

This book traces the history of India’s progress since its independence in 1947 and advances strategies for continuing economic growth. Insiders and outsiders that have criticized India for slow economic growth fail to recognize all it has achieved in the last seven decades, including handling the migration of over 8 million people from Pakistan, integrating over 600 princely states into the union, managing a multi-language population into one nation and resolving the food problem. The end result is a democratic country with a strong institutional foundation. Following the growth strategies outlined in the book and with a strong leadership, India has the potential to stand out as the third largest economy in the world in the next 25 to 30 years.