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Economic Harmonization: India's Crossroads to Inclusive Prosperity

Bedanga Chutia:

In the grand tapestry of global dynamics, India emerges at the crossroads of economic transformation. Beyond the unconventional exports like cow dung, India claims its stature as the world's foremost exporter of human potential, with over 30 million seeking new horizons abroad. The quest for a brighter future propels these individuals across borders, shedding light on the intricate challenges faced by the nation in ensuring a dignified livelihood for its citizens. This journey reflects not just a national narrative but a universal exploration of aspirations and the pursuit of prosperity against the backdrop of a world teeming with possibilities.

In navigating the complex terrain of global geopolitics, India finds itself at a crucial juncture with profound moral implications. The contemplation of responding to Israel's plea for construction workers goes beyond the realm of a mere labour exchange, delving into the intricate layers of a century-old conflict in the Middle East. Tel Aviv's decision to terminate Palestinian work permits not only exacerbates economic crises in Gaza and the West Bank but also places Indians on a historical precipice distant from their own struggles. The geopolitical intricacies underscore India's need to tread cautiously, steering clear of unwitting entanglement in a charged scenario.

Furthermore, beneath these layers, a disconcerting racial dimension emerges, evident in Israeli officials' derogatory remarks towards Palestinians. As India, a nation priding itself on rich diversity, contemplates its role, the protection of economic migrants from encountering disrespect on foreign shores becomes paramount. It is essential to note that India's historical stance on non-alignment and its commitment to a just and equitable world order should inform itsdecision-making process. Leveraging diplomatic channels and international forums to address the plight of economic migrants becomes imperative.

India, despite its vast global diaspora, grapples with pressing domestic challenges, notably evidenced by a surge in citizens renouncing their citizenship in recent years. The seemingly optimistic data from the National Sample Survey, proclaiming a diminishing urban unemployment rate, collides starkly with the harsh reality confronted by millions, thereby dismantling the narrative of a flourishing job market. This disjuncture challenges the once-celebrated economic strides under Dr. Manmohan Singh, prompting a critical reassessment of the current administration's 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' (Collective Effort, Inclusive Growth) slogan. The disconcerting truth of rampant unemployment, particularly among the youth, stands in stark contradiction to India's demographic advantage, compelling a profound re-evaluation of the nation's economic trajectory.

In light of these challenges, it is pertinent to underscore the urgency for policy recalibration, emphasizing skill development and job creation initiatives. According to recent reports by leading economic analysts, the youth unemployment crisis necessitates targeted interventions, transcending political rhetoric. Renowned economist Amartya Sen aptly remarked, "The true wealth of a nation lies in the well-being of its people," urging policymakers to prioritize comprehensive strategies that address the root causes of unemployment. Moreover, international comparisons with countries successfully navigating similar challenges offer valuable insights. Germany's vocational training model and South Korea's emphasis on technology-driven industries serve as compelling examples worth considering in India's quest for sustainable economic growth.

In the midst of the government's fervent push for self-employment and startups, a looming concern over substantial job creation casts a

shadow over India's economic landscape. Initiatives such as the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana and the surge in start-up registrations provide glimpses of positivity, yet the true depth of their impact remains uncertain. Despite India's position as the world's fifth-largest economy, the nation grapples with nominal GDP rankings, necessitating a critical examination of prevailing economic policies. The backbone of India's workforce, the informal sector, faced catastrophic consequences during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. The implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2017 further compounded the challenges faced by this sector. Notably, renowned economist Raghuram Rajan emphasized, "Economic development is a marathon, not a sprint," underscoring the need for sustained, comprehensive policies.

Prime Minister Modi's decision for partial demonetization in November 2016 stands as a pivotal moment in recent economic history, resulting in the loss of millions of jobs and leaving a lasting impact on the overall employment rate. To address these complexities, a holistic approach is imperative, incorporating targeted support for the informal sector and fostering an ecosystem conducive to start-up growth. Drawing parallels with successful models, such as China's proactive industrial policies, offers valuable insights for India's economic rejuvenation. Moreover, the global community's attention to the Indian economy hinges not only on its GDP figures but also on the inclusivity and resilience of its job creation strategies.

In the dynamic canvas of the global economic stage, nations wield the power to reshape their destinies. The remarkable ascent of China to the position of the world's second-largest economy and Indonesia's remarkable leap from the 27th to the 16th largest economy stand as beacons of transformative potential. In this symphony of progress, India, boasting a vast pool of skilled individuals, holds the brush to paint a parallel narrative. The key lies in a strategic reallocation of resources, steering away from conventional paths toward endeavours that hold the promise of fostering widespread prosperity.

In a visionary proposal for India's future, the strategic reallocation of resources emerges as the cornerstone for progress. Advocating a departure from opulent endeavours and grand monuments, the nation stands at a pivotal juncture where channelling investments into education becomes paramount. N.R. Narayana Murthy's ingenious recommendation to allocate a billion dollars annually for the recruitment of retired global educators, specifically in STEM fields, unveils a transformative path. This audacious strategy not only ensures the development of a highly skilled workforce but also positions India on the trajectory to emerge as a genuine global leader.

In the crucible of India's evolution, the imperative lies not only in navigating the global terrain but, more crucially, in crafting a narrative of resilience and empowerment on its home soil. As the world witnesses India's trajectory, it is not merely an account of economic milestones but a testament to a nation's determination to conquer its internal challenges. The resonance of India's success will not only echo across international arenas but will reverberate within the hearts and minds of its diverse populace. Today, India stands at the crossroads of choice - a moment where the shadows of unemployment can be eclipsed by the dawn of inclusive growth. The ink on India's future is yet to dry, and the world, with bated breath, awaits the unfolding chapters that will shape the destiny of a nation and inspire generations to come.

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