Thursday, August 28, 2003
THE 'ONE' NATION : The Spirit of the Indian Nation
Jivha's effort to sustain his "It Happens only in India" category seems to have fizzled out, while Ankh has another post up on his version of "It happens only in India". :)
While the last post covered the social resilience of this great nation, this one covers our economic resilience.
Circa 1991 : India did not have any foreign reserves. At one point of time after the Iraq oil war, because of the burden of the oil prices hike, we didn't even have enough money to pay for more than 2 weeks of imports. Any economist will tell you how bad that is. If you can't get hold of an economist, mail Jivha who will wax eloquently about the mess we were in. To add to the foreign reserve crisis, our economy which was sustained by large exports to a large Soviet/Eastern block (which had then collapsed), was at it's nadir. Right through the '60s and '70s, the Hindu rate of growth for this country was projected at a abysmally low 2%. As a last straw, India pledged it's greatest asset, it's gold reserves, to the Bank of England for loans.
Circa 2003 : India's foreign reserves stand at $83.25 bn. These rank as no. 7 in the world. India paid it's last loans to the IMF in 2000. India's long term debt has been steady for the past 5 years. India is now a lender to the IMF, contributing $283 mn to the IMF for an African Nations reserve fund. As a country, India has used it's new found wealth to raise more people out of poverty in the past one decade than any other period in Indian history. India now has an GDP growth rate of 5%, though the IMF insists we can reach 8% as the Chinese economy has.
There have been some remarkable things about this Indian resurrection. Some of them being, the economic independence of India during all this. We opened up selected sectors, and didn't rush into it all, as is often done in a crisis. We retained our Indianness during all this.
In this story, we do have a lot of problems to be sorted out, a lot of corruption at all levels to deal with, a lot of poverty and mismanagement of funds to still work out. But we're on the way. And that, happens only in India.
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