Is India’s Economy Competing with China’s?

India’s economy is growing on an unprecedented scale. Most recently, the country has initiated several campaigns to showcase itself as an economic powerhouse. When India hosted the G20 leaders last year, its stock market soared to new heights, not to undermine the many economic plans it outlined at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The country has already surpassed China’s population, and it has a vast, young, and energetic workforce that’s hardly comparable to China’s. Nevertheless, you might wonder if India can challenge China’s economy. Although this isn’t a surmountable challenge for India just yet, there are several strategies the country needs to carefully weigh out before it can do so.

What India Needs to Do

Based on the most recent statistics, China’s economy is roughly five times that of India. The average citizen of China makes much more per year than an Indian citizen. That’s because China has a solid economic strategy that allows it to market and promote itself effectively. On the other hand, India needs to start opening up its economy not only for political gain but also for its economy.

Although India’s young workforce gives it an economic advantage, it needs to work on its workforce. The rate of development across the nation is unequal. Unlike China, women in India do not have equal access to education, employment, digital access, and various other empowerment tools that men and boys have. That alone can affect the economy; to truly reap the benefits of a robust economy, India needs to work on gender equality.

Although the country has several technological investments with a dizzying number of tech start-ups, it needs to include marginalized communities and avoid segregating Muslims. Relegating Muslims as second-class citizens has detrimental consequences for the country’s economic growth. After all, a diverse nation increases the workforce and enhances the movement of labour, services, and goods.

India’s Economic Growth

India’s economy is currently in takeoff mode. It is already branding and promoting itself as a digital powerhouse, creating a digital bonanza of sorts. The digital transformation within the country has been a game changer. 

Digitizing the economy has reduced friction, allowing people to purchase products and access welfare programs with ease. For example, in 2009, India launched the world’s largest biometric database, which covers most of the country’s population. That has allowed the government to counteract corruption by reducing theft and other loopholes within the welfare system. 

India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) allows citizens to make payments by simply scanning a QR code. Indians from all walks of life have embraced this, allowing the government to save millions of dollars to flow into the local economy.

The Make in India campaign, spearheaded by Modi in 2014, was a public invitation to potential partners, investors, and stakeholders to invest in India’s economy. The goal of the campaign was to portray India as an economic powerhouse. However, the campaign has been stuttering since its inception. Nevertheless, many global companies have a solid footing in the nation. Multinational firms like Goldman Sachs have more global staff working from India than any other country in the world. 

Locally, some of the country’s biggest investors, like Mukesh Ambani, are spending billions of dollars on 5G clean energy, promoting India as a sustainable nation. This is a far cry from the empires built years ago on the back of traditional industries like fossil fuels, for example. The country’s local factories have a stalwart share in producing Apple iPhones and other high-end tech products that were once hardly ever made in India. 

A Role Model for India

India isn’t underestimating China’s power, that’s why it sees it both as a competitor and a role model. The country has already heeded China’s example by investing heavily in its infrastructure, heeding the ever-growing public cry to fix its highways, railways, and airports to improve its supply chain and enhance its connectivity.

India has already quadrupled its annual spending on roads and railways to promote its reliability. This will allow more international firms to work in India and give local companies and firms significant reasons to expand their operations locally.

Nevertheless, with any growth spurt, unpredictability looms. To counteract that, India must focus on its manufacturing industry. When problems arise, it needs to outsource its own solutions and strategies to mitigate them. After all, no two countries ever follow the same path of economic growth and development; each one must stand alone! 

David Messiha | Staff Writer 



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