The Decade of Development: Goal Setting and Policy Challenges in India
The Government of India has proclaimed the new decade as a Decade of Development, during which India will meet bold targets for economic growth and social development. At his Independence Day speech, the Prime Minister announced that the government had set a target of doubling India's per capita income by the year 2010. This is an ambitious target, but one that we believe is certainly achievable. In order to achieve this target, India needs growth in GNP of the order of 9 percent per year over the next ten years. And in order to achieve this growth rate on a sustained basis, India needs a well-focused growth strategy. This paper outlines some of the key policy challenges in meeting these goals. We believe that India has a chance for a tremendous breakthrough in economic development during the current decade. A decade of opening of the economy has produced new dynamism, most dramatically in the Information Technology sector, but in others as well. The world is waking up to India's crucial role as the largest democracy and as a dynamic economy, if still a low-income one on average. The new technologies (especially information technology and biotechnology) give new opportunities for economic and social development. We suggest additional goals that India should set for herself, especially in the areas of health and education. These goals will help to galvanize domestic public opinion in support of the objectives of development, provide a gauge against which to judge the progress of policies, and help the world community to appreciate the efforts underway, and support them through increased flows of foreign investment. To make the first decade of the 21st Century a true Decade of Development will require a broad-based program of economic and social actions. We highlight some action areas in this regard.
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