Dr. Devendra Kothari
Population and Development Analyst
Forum for Population Action
The Modi Government must meet the expectation of people who gave it the first majority in 30 years.
The Modi Government completed its first year in office on May 26, 2015. One year is too short a time period to reach conclusion on the performance of the Government and its impact, however, it is time to review the emerging scenario so appropriate lessons could be taken.
A recent opinion poll conducted by a prestigious national newspaper- Times of India - gave the Modi government a 66 per cent approval rating (other polls also gave a more or less similar rating), which means it is still retains considerable political capital. However, the work of delivery on the ground needs to begin now.
It is because 76 per cent of India’s population lives on less than US$2 per day (at purchasing power parity rates). Further, India ranks at the bottom of the pyramid in per capita-level consumption indicators not only in energy but in almost all other relevant per capita-level consumption indicators, despite high rates of growth in the last decade. Also, India accounts for the highest estimated number of undernourished people in any single country, with an estimated 195 million, or about one in every four such people in the world, as revealed in a report called State of Food Security in the World 2015 released by UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation. The global number of malnourished people fell by 216 million in the early 90s and 2015, from over a billion to 795 million. However, India's contribution in this reduction has been small as her number fell by just 15.5 million. This has led to India overtaking China, where numbers fell from 289 million in 1990-1992 to 133.8 million as per recent estimates, as per the Report. In addition, India ranks among the countries having one of the lowest productivity. Productivity, a measure of the efficiency of the human capital, can be measured by per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP). India has become the tenth largest economy in the world in terms of GDP but still has a very-very low per capita GDP. The country placed at the 148th position among the 187 countries in 2013, as per the World Bank. This is perhaps the most visible challenge.
So people have lots of expectations from the Modi Government. So what should be done?
To be concluded....