India's economy has come a long way, especially since the start of this century. It is impossible to ignore India's rise in every field. Every nation is keeping a close eye on India's growth story, and why not, India is on its way to become a superpower.
The Indian growth story began in 1991, when the India's current Prime Minister (who was a Finance Minister then), Manmohan Singh, came up with path-breaking budget and policies that sowed the seeds of growth that all of us are witnessing today.
In a recent speech delivered by Indian Finance minister, P. Chidambaram at Norwegian Nobel Institute, Oslo on 'India's Socio Economic Agenda: Development with Democracy', he laid down some hard facts and figures that give us a macro perspective of how fast India is growing.
Here are some of the interesting extracts from that speech:
The India growth story has been told and retold many times and all of you are familiar with that story. Allow me, however, to narrate some highlights of that story and bring you to the present day.
GDP at market prices has increased from US$ 20 billion in 1950-51 to US$ 912 billion in 2006-07 and is expected to cross a trillion dollars in the current year. In terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), India's GDP at US$ 4 trillion in 2006-07 accounted for 6.3 per cent of global GDP.
Average annual economic growth, which had been constant and tardy at 3.5 per cent during the first thirty years of Independence, increased to 5.7 per cent during the 1990s and, since 2003-04, the average rate has increased further to 8.6 per cent. 2006-07, in particular, was a splendid year with the GDP growing at 9.4 per cent.
This growth has not been jobless growth. During 1999-2000 to 2004-05, India added to its workforce about 12 million people each year. During this period, the rate of growth of employment was 2.9 per cent per year. India, after China, is the fastest growing economy of the world.
The proportion of people living below the poverty line in India has declined from 51.3 per cent in 1977-78 to about 22 per cent in 2004-05. But in absolute terms they still number around 250 million.
More than one third of our 1.1 billion people live on less than one dollar a day.
We have achieved an enrollment ratio of 95 per cent in primary education. Of the children in school, 73 per cent are now reaching Grade V.
The report also notes that India has helped in pushing the Asia Pacific region's overall enrollment rate to 94 per cent. India is also on target on elimination of gender disparity in primary and secondary education.
We have a guaranteed wage employment programme that assures to the poor work for 100 days in a year and provides them a wage of Rs 80 (or US$ 2) per day.
We are at the cusp of history being made and are lucky to be living in this day and age !