Can India Get “Superpower” Status? Checkout What Balaji Vishvnath Says
Answering a question, the balaji wrote his thoughts on quora which you should really read if your interested in this topic.
Our goal of “superpower” has to be unique and not just be a rehash of what US or Europe did.
- We have to redefine what superpower means. Does it mean the USSR of the coldwar era? If yes, I don’t want India to be a superpower. I would rather have it as a massive sized Singapore or Switzerland. We should be an elephant that neither eats other animals nor gets eaten by others. We should neither threaten nor be defenceless. We should strive to be a superpower in technology, education and lead the world in ideas just as we did from the start of human civilization. I would rather have India known for its Zero or Yoga rather than an India victorious in its massive showdown against China or Pakistan.
- We should look to leapfrog technologies. Just as we went into mobile phones without a landline revolution, we have to jump past many of the old technologies in the “old world”. What if we were the first to use Quora and other tech tools to replace Universities? What if were the first to make fuel cells for practical use to replace gasoline? Getting more ordinary, what if we skipped retail chain revolution to go full into ecommerce? What if we jumped on to Carbon nanotubes and skipped building massive Steel plants? (eg.) Or how about wireless electricity that Tesla pioneered? Our Indian Jugaad should help solve these problems and we have not invested enough in conventional technologies to worry about cannibalism or resource wastage.
We could do the following in the pursuit of our new definition of superpower.
- We have to attain 100% literacy while keeping a higher bar for counting who is a literate. In a knowledge economy, we cannot afford to have 300 million illiterates. The mobile phone & TV penetration has to be leveraged more. Literacy has to be a fundamental national priority.
- Build urgency to make broadband penetration to reach every Indian. Broadband can substantially improve education reach and bring India’s villages to Quora, Wikipedia and Youtube University. We have to understand that educating 1 billion people can’t be done through traditional universities (simply not scalable). We have to take lead in disrupting the education market by tools such as Quora. The government could sell BSNL (state owned telephony provider) and use the $30b market value of that to build a constellation of satellites and a network of optical fiber cables to achieve this. Just like what we did with mobile phones, we have to leapfrog the broadband revolution.
- Modernize the Police force. We have only 130 policemen for every 100K people. First increase that to world standards – 220/100K people. Second, cut off politicians from using massive fraction of police force. Third, train and equip them to handle modern law enforcement. Without adequate law enforcement we cannot grow our economy.
- Build new cities at an aggressive rate. Our existing cities have become slums and shanties unable to take the onslaught of migrants. We should look to build 500 new cities with 1-2 million population each. We have enough land to do that. Assuming each city requires 500 sq. km of land, we will need 250K sq. km (8% of India). But these new cities could hold 60-70% of our population with a relatively manageable density. The planned urbanization can put rocketfuel for the economy.
- Attain closure with Pakistan wrt Kashmir. A superpower cannot afford to constant bicker about a non-issue. LoC should be made the International border and India-Pak must move on.
- Indian economy has to grow really fast (at 10%+ rates for the next 20 years) to leave enough wealth to be shared around. At 10% growth rate, our per-capita GDP will grow to $10000/person/year by 2030. Not a great amount to brag about, but still sufficient to pull most people from poverty.
- India has to bring a big chunk of its 600 million odd agricultural workers into services bypassing the industrial revolution.
- Power reforms have to proceed at full speed and we have to get to the era of solar cell/fuel cell powered vehicles bypassing the automobile era.
Also, read a this on 99KDMedia related to this. Recommended to read.