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posted on 03 June 2015

Indian Economics: Modi's 1st Year

Written by , GEI Associate

India is still a relatively young nation (only 67 years since its independence from the British Raj), and every year the country seemingly becomes more developed. This month marks the one-year anniversary of Narendra Modi being elected into office as the Prime Minister of India. Looking at the rapid growth within India, how much of the the current growth is attributable to Modi?

Prime Minister Modi was previously the Chief Minister of Gujarat, for where he is praised for his effect on economic growth.

Strong economic growth was anticipated by the Indian people with Modi, and this is why he won. Modi is considered by many experts as being well educated and experienced in economics. He has voiced regularly that his main focus is towards the economy flourishing in India through infrastructure, foreign investors, as well as domestic private equity. Another one of his major goals has been centered around Indian nationalism, and trying to reduce the nation's dependence on imports. Currently, he is trying to spark this change through the coal industry.

The fall in oil prices in India, for example, have contributed to the improvement of India’s economy as it frees up moneys for other trade. Supporters claim Modi’s methodologies are not meant for quick and immediate change, but are rather more long term and gradual restructuring.

Since Modi has been elected into office, he has made a concerted effort towards building relations globally, reaching out to Japan, China, as well as to the United States. This is a progression that was expected from Modi, and is part of a methodology of creating a long term future for economic growth in India.

A major cornerstone of Modi’s economic vision is related to land acquisition for infrastructure. Unlike China, much of India's GDP comes from the private sector and not from government infrastructure development for roads, homes, utilities and ports. India is infrastructure poor in most areas. Without a modern infrastructure, India can advance only so far. A new bill which makes it easier for the government to acquire land for infrastructure is meeting opposition. Some of this opposition comes from agriculture which is a major industry in India, making up 50% of the workforce, but only 15% of the national GDP.

Many believe that India’s economy was meant to improve drastically whether or not Modi was in power - so there is always a question of how much of the current improvement seen is attributable to Modi. But even if he does contribute, Modi is constrained as a national leader in making changes. The jury is still out whether he can be successful.

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