Is India's Economic Growth Sustainable?
Mentor:Solomon Namala, Associate Professor of Economics, Cerritos College
The United Nations' Brundtland Report defined sustainable development as a process that "fulfills the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" in 1987. Currently, the Indian government is neither fulfilling the needs of 700 million of its people who live under $2 a day nor is it setting up a system that would benefit future generations. Therefore, in its present state, India’s growth is not sustainable. Belief in economic growth has come to be seen as a solution for all India's social and political problems, including poverty, social issues and environmental degradation. This also explains why the rapidly growing economic growth rate is the only indicator of progress that most Indian politicians take into account. What the politicians aren’t acknowledging is that India cannot keep up an express-train economic growth speed of close to 9% because its economic engine will quickly overheat. Recent years have brought high inflation, growing disparity, inequality and widening gaps between the rich and the poor. The research shows that despite the growth rates, India’s growth will not be socially, economically, or environmentally sustainable without major changes implemented by the government in all three areas. India needs a more socially inclusive and ecologically sustainable model for development. Inclusive development requires better employment policies and greater development of human capital of people from all classes of society. Sustainable growth requires the conservation of nonrenewable resources such as land, water and atmosphere and minimal environmental damage cause by pollution and natural phenomena. In order for India’s growth to be sustainable, the new policies have to serve the ultimate goal of human well-being for all as well as facilitate economic activity.