Population is the strength as well as the problem in India. With vast population below poverty line, India continues to grow. We see Indian CEO s of US based MNCs more because India is a major market now. India never faced a World War nor a great civil war. The population of 30 s and 40 s grew at a nominal rate and due to lack of alternative entertainment, just copulated. A family had 5 children at minimum and even growing to 10 or more. Most of them married and had the next level of growth. One member in family earning can fuel the household growth, as food and housing inflation was unheard of. More hands available to work in a agriculture based economy also made sense then. India never faced a shortage apart from some brief periods during the regime of Nehru. Add the partitions and huge amount of inflow of other communities with some of them feeling that population increase will make their sects more powerful. With several communities co-existing, religion became a factor of identity and with that became the spread of population exponentially.
I always say that India is a very sex obsessed country. They love reproduction and have intercourse more than any country with a single minded purpose for bringing on the next generation . We have instances where a father and his son had their sons together. So the mother and the new daughter in-law both became pregnant around the same period. We have instances where due to reduction in female population, marriage within relations were permitted. This is rampant in south of India. We have all sorts of anomalies to grow the consistency model of population. After all Kamasutra had taken birth in India and then we had temples of Khajuraho and Mahabharat epic. Within a conservative culture legitimate sex flourishes. We continue to produce babies, though the recent hard times have put a ‘slam on the brakes’ culture. India also disappoints in not having a political will to curb population growth like China.
This vast amount of population on the other hand gives some strength also. But effective channelization is not easy. Where babudom is the social icon, harnessing for skill development for creating blue collared jobs is not easy. The tropical climate and the lethargy that it brings adds to the lack of skill development. The average intelligence is more and hence that gives a deep rooted apathy for indulging in work constructively for labour which has low dignity in the eyes of society. Individuality rather than group work is held in higher esteem and hence the preference for official jobs.
I was in Virginia ( US) for a while for a project. Apart from getting excellent tobacco, Virginia has vast greenery and you can see miles and miles of undulations without sighting a single person. Quite unheard of in India even if you go to Ladakh. Just stand one day in front of Churchgate station in Mumbai at 10 am and at Sealdah Station in Calcutta at 10 am and in front of New Delhi railway station at 9 am – where you see tsunami of people coming out and going in. They all aim for a better living and rising aspirations making this the largest market for lifestyle products. However they don’t want to change the colour of their collar and hence are stuck in the circle of reason which keeps on creating paradoxes.
Politics in India have always encashed the facts of vast population, rural based economy and lack of education. They have played caste based and religion based politics for hundred years and will continue to do so. Only in the last 5 years when the electorate has become younger and increased in awareness due to technology intrusion, we do see a change in emphasis on governance. Who cares about governance in India ? India is all about individual identities and not group identity. Hence as long as my family is ‘well – off’ it does not matter whether it is the Adani model, Yedurappa model or Vadhera model. We have vey intelligent politicians in India. Probably a Kapil Sibal is more intelligent than Barack Obama. Add Chidambaran, Jaitley, Rajnath, Karunanidhi, Yechury, Biman Bose, Surjeet Sing and Pawar to it. The mass of intelligence we have is second to none . Some of them are home-grown like Mamta and Mayawati. But they understand the importance of the population , religion , caste and sect. Hence they do talk a lot on governance but effectively don’t do anything drastic. They know they can’t change the current economic conditions much but governance is a nice song that electorate likes to hear when they are trying hard to make their ends mean. The most BJP can do is throw some politicians and bureaucrats to jail but reducing corruption has to begin on the road. That is impossible with the strong belief of individual identities of Indians. Politicians just play along the mood swings of the population. Times are hard and India economy is going down. Most of the world economies are worst off. Education, Skill development and employability is a challenge if political will is absent and in the current economic context. Over last fifty years we have created an ineffective bureaucracy, thanks to the civil services culture. Over the years we have too much of corruption into the system. ‘Not doing anything’ is also a highly regarded culture which brings laurels where upgradation of the system is based on seniority and efficiency rather than effectiveness.
So, India have created a new formula for exponential growth or exponential decay thanks to the two factors of population and politics. Population is the independent variable and politics is dependent on the population.
X ( t) = X(0) ( 1+ r) t + C
where x0 is the value of x at time 0, r is the growth rate which may be negative or postive. Right now it is negative. ‘ t ‘ is time at discrete intervals – 0, 1, 2, 3 etc. And C is the exogenous variable – which can be the amalgamation of all the factors like ‘ political will’, ‘ corruption’ and ‘ political models of growth.’ C overweighs the normal exponential equation and creates x(t) as negative. This is the paradox. For brief spells we have a positive x(t) measured by economic models but the social change will always be negative unless we change the way we live and avoid being a identity centric country. I do not see that happening in the next two decades and we will continue to be plagued by the factors mentioned herein, though economically we will continue to grow the country.