By Srishti Chauhan:
Indian economy is suffering from the typical transition faced by most economies as they tread from being underdeveloped toÂ developing and finally to developed. Most economies tend to shift from an agricultural sector to the industrial sector followed by a very large service sector. The Indian economy, in its transition, has shifted base from an agricultural sector to a more pronounced service sector- thus leading to the problems that we face today.
India suffers from what is typically called in economics to be a problem of surplus labour and deficit capital. In simple words, it means that while manual labour is large and easily available in India, the capital required for a robust industrial growth is majorly missing. Many economists are of the opinion that this might the cause of the lopsided growth that we currently exhibit.
In India, more than 54% of the GDP comes from agriculture. Many economists are of the belief that the transition from agriculture to industry is not happening as expected or required and hence the best thing that can be done at the moment is to slow down the transition from the agricultural sector to other sectors.
Most farms in India are being converted for use as other things. The land, being short in supply, sells for huge sums and most farmers tend to sell the farms and move to the cities to work as day labourers or in jobs as such.
The idea that is being considered as a potential turnover is that the government should sell stakes for these farmlands to big business houses and make it profitable to be a farmer. What it means is that the agricultural land can be used to grow organic foods- which are labour intensive and hence costly- and India can become an exporter of the same. The world demand for organic foods is on a severe rise and it is predicted that with the number of sucrose injected foods in the market at present, this demand is set to rise exponentially.
India can convert itself into a potential exporter of the organically produced foods. This shall not only absorb the high levels of unemployment that persist in the economy but shall also ensure that we maintain the 33.33% green cover that is mandatory.
Post the green revolution decades ago, India is yet to see another surge in production of food. Being a nation with the second largest population, food security is a big threat.
Practically this idea seems to be fairly feasible to most people. Reliance has already stepped into the food market by opening up Reliance Fresh. If given enough boost by the government, this sector may well develop to be one of the potential massive GDP earners in the future.
The current trend of a shift from rural to urban areas is picking up pace due to rural areas being deprived from all sorts of facilities like electricity and roads. With the entry of private sector into this arena, it may spell development for the areas as well. This is because to induce private sector to invest, the government would have to undertake the task of providing amenities. And this task- unattended as of yet- shall spell development finally seeping into the roots of the country.
The Achilles’ heel that we suffer from right now can be used to our advantage by undertaking labor absorbing techniques- and this may be one of them.
The writer is a Senior Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz and a student of University of Delhi.