22 April 2016

India - are we ready for this?

Six years isn't a long time; about the same amount of time that one might spend in secondary education. I use the term "might" because I didn't actually spend that time myself in secondary education (more fool me) but the point is that it is still not a long time. And in six years, the population of India will be greater than that of China.

Any country with a population growing at 13 million people per year is encountering an extraordinary pace of growth which could boost GDP, spending and investment. But this growth is predominantly taking place in the north - particularly in the teeming states of Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh where 45% of the population manage to create only 30% of the GDP. Contrast this with the lucrative southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh and Karnataka where 21% of the population generate 29% of the nation's GDP you can see that there are some challenging times ahead for India's politicians.

Perhaps unsurprisingly it is not just the contribution to GDP that separates north from south. The literacy levels in the north are significantly poorer with 3 in every 10 north Indians being illiterate. Critically, even the gender balance is more favourable in southern India than in the north where there are 901 women for every 1000 men. With elections looming next year, there are challenging times ahead for Modi and his BJP party but six years to be bigger than China - surely we all need to be paying considerably more attention to the power house of tomorrow!

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