India 2020: New hopes

The country needs to overcome the serious problems with agriculture, job sector, economy, international relations and internal social disharmony

India 2020: New hopes
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NH Web Desk

As India witnesses a new decade, new challenges and hopes await us.

India needs to overcome the serious problems with agriculture, job sector, economy, international relations and internal social disharmony.

Agrarian crisis: Agriculture, forestry and fishing -- together clubbed under the head of agriculture -- comprised 21 per cent of GDP in 2004-05. It has dropped to around 13 per cent in the past 15 years.

Agriculture employs nearly 55 per cent of the workforce in the country. An estimated 26 crore people are working in the sector.

This translates into dependence of about 55-57 per cent population on agriculture, which is in distress for far too long and needs to be worked upon in 2020.

Unemployment: Of 136 crore estimated population of India, 67 per cent is in 15-64 years bracket. This puts the job-seeking population over 91 crore.

The promise of 2 crore jobs annually coupled with the slogan of "achhe din" (good days) had brought Narendra Modi government to power in 2014.

Twin-disruption caused by demonetisation and one-step roll out of the goods and services tax (GST) - government called them course correction in economy - led to massive job loss instead.

Official figures for unemployment rate, leaked to a newspaper earlier this year, said the joblessness was at a 45-year high in 2017-18 -- with an average unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent.

Reports suggest that weekly as well as monthly unemployment rate have been hovering to record low.

India needs to give impetus to employment in 2020.

Plugging loopholes of economy: The all time low GDP of 4.5 growth indicators point to deeper problems.Private consumption and investment have slowed down drastically.

Data of automobile sales, rail freight, domestic air traffic, petroleum product consumption and imports indicate an alarming slowdown in consumption.

Key indicative sales -- of cars, two-wheelers, and tractors -- have been falling.

Non-oil, non-gold, non-silver, and non-precious and semi-precious stones imports, another good indicator of consumer demand, have shrunk in the past four months.

The public sector banks are in bad shape on the account of non-performing assets (NPAs).The current economic situation requires an out of the box solution 2020

Reaching out to Muslims, minorities: Recent unrest over protests over CAA show there is an unease among a section of minorities, particularly Muslims.

Incidents of atrocities against Muslims all over the country have added to the prevailing sentiments.

In 2020 government must ensure "sabka vishwas" (trust of all) besides "sabka saath, sabka vikas" (collective efforts, inclusive growth).

Pakistan and terrorism: India's relations with Pakistan is not a simple case of diplomacy.

It involves many other aspects including the issue of Kashmir and also the question of religious harmony. India will have to deal with urgently with long term solutions.

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