Colombo, January 16 (newsin.asia): With a World Bank projected growth of rate of 7.3%, the Indian economy will be the fastest growing economy in the world, said the Indian Information Technology and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Delivering the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Oration here on Monday, Prasad said that India had moved up 42 places in the Ease of Doing Business Index of the World Bank from the 142 nd. place in 2014 to 100 th. place in 2017.
In other words, this happened during the rule of Prime Minister Narenda Modi which began in May 2014.
Prasad also pointed out that India had got the highest level of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) – US$ 60 billion – in 2016-17. The country was placed at the eighth place in the FDI Confidence List in 2017 based on a comparison with 25 countries.
The Indian Minister attributed the progress made to the following factors: Democratic institutions as enshrined in its constitution drawn up in 1950; social empowerment accompanying political empowerment; keen political awareness of the people thanks to the vibrant media ; and peoples’ will to exercise their franchise to elect and eject governments.
Prasad attributed the empowerment of the people to the growth and acceptance of Information Technology and the digitalization of communication and a variety of other tasks.
The Digital Revolution that India is going through now has been triggered by Prime Minister Modi who believes that IT is the wellspring of advancement in all spheres, touching all classes and communities.
Modi’s slogan is IT+IT=IT, ie, India’s Talent + Information Technology= India Tomorrow, Prasad said. This formula is particularly relevant in India in which 65% of the population is 35 years of age or less.
Through his stress on the digitalization of all activities, Modi is trying not to miss the Digital Revolution, to make up for missing the industrial revolution, Prasad said.
Under the digitalization scheme, 250,000 grama panchayats (village councils) are being linked by a fiber optic network. India has 1.19 billion people with the “Aadhaar” digital identity cards. In a population of 1.3 billion, 1.21 billion have mobile phones of which 400 million are smart phones. In place of two mobile phone factories in 2014, there are now 108. The number of internet users is 500 million. Further boosting mass communication there are over eight hundred 24-hours TV stations, 200 of which are news channels.
Digital literacy is spreading in the rural areas and digital centers in far flung areas are rendering 270,000 services to the people of all classes.
The digital era is evoking an entrepreneurial spirit among the middle classes, with graduates of elite institutions now setting up their own businesses instead of looking for jobs in others’ companies.
“Job seekers are becoming job givers” Prasad said.
The aim of the on-going process of digitalization is: banking the unbanked; funding the unfunded; pensioning the unpensioned; securing the unsecured; and giving voice to the voiceless, he added.
The constitution of India has given the institutional framework for the progress of India, which the founding fathers expected to be “inclusive” and “non-discriminatory”, Prasad said.
The constitution is supplemented by the ancient ethos of the people of India which is secular, tolerant, moderate and non-violent. Secularism is rooted in India’s religious traditions and is encapsulated in two concepts: “All faiths are but different paths leading to the same destination – the truth”; and “the entire world is a family,” Prasad said.
Another stabilizing factor is the masses’ disdain for violence, terrorism, extremism and separatism, the Minister said, pointing out that no violent or extremist group has been mainstreamed in India ever.
The people throw out governments which have not delivered or which have gone to the extremes, he pointed out. This is irrespective of the power of the ruler, he added, recalling how the people dislodged Indira Gandhi in the 1977 elections.
The founding fathers of the constitution had difficulty in deciding whether the largely illiterate masses of India could be given the vote, and also whether India should be a secular state in the aftermath of the bloody Hindu-Muslim riots which followed partition of British India into a Hindu majority India and a Muslim majority Pakistan in 1947.
But they did the right thing by opting for Universal Adult Franchise as well as secularism, Prasad said.
(The featured image at the top shows laptop penetration in rural India. Photo: Every Life Counts)