This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Different Stages Of The Growing Indian Economy

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Ankit Varma:

I was born in an India which was on the edge of economic hopelessness, opportunities were hard to come by and dreaming was a luxury. Like a set of responsible middle class parents, my mother dreamt of the day her son will have a loving wife and kids and my father’s dream was of seeing his son work for the local Steel Giant. But in some corner of the North block in the capital city of Delhi, Mr. Mannmohan Singh had other plans for me and others who belong to my generation. He was drafting renovation plans for a near-dead economy but I’m not sure if he realized that he was unleashing a revolution. The ‘balance of payment crisis’ and I were born in the same decade. Although I was unaware of its existence till recent times, its extinction was something we should pay attention to. Dinosaurs’ extinction cleared way for humans to flourish, similarly the extinction of economic crisis paved way for hope. The economic reforms started in the year 1991 but little did a toddler know that he was going to be a part of the most exciting journey of India.

Far from the metros, the economic reforms reached the sleepy town of Jamshedpur (which can be equated with any other small-town of early 90s) very late. There was no or very little change in either the lifestyle or disposable income of the people. The only word that can precisely describe the life-style of the city was ‘simple’, no frills attached. Bajaj scooter continued to be the national transport and Maruti 800 a ‘head-turner’. I believe that this simplicity was not an attribute that they had voluntarily chosen, it was more of a by- product of an economy reeling under a debt-crisis and modest disposable incomes. But this was about to change. The economic reforms that had already romanced the big cities of the country were now aiming for smaller pastures.

In my head the year ‘Y2K’ is etched as the tipping point. The new decade started and brought with it new energy, fresh hope and most importantly high salaries. Although very young, I always had the sense of energy which was breaking the usual ennui of the middle class house hold. For a child who has barely learnt percentage and fractions, 6% growth didn’t make much sense. But thoughts of having an air conditioner or a car were clear indications that there was a shift. Away from the booming IT sector of Bangalore and NCR, I entered teenage. For a small town teenager, globalisation manifested itself in different forms, the most visible being Nike, Lays and Nokia. Unaware of absurdly high call rates, I loved playing the good old snake game on the Nokia mobile phone. The undisputed champion of the road Maruti 800 was now facing stiff competition from the Santro and the Indica. New cars were being introduced every day and were flying off the shelf. Scooters made way for trendy motor cycles .The quiet roads of Jamshedpur were swarming with vehicles of all shapes and sizes. As the country inched towards 9% mark, ambitions of people were growing at much higher pace. Ancestral homes made way for luxury apartments. The local market was now home to show rooms of International brands but for me they were just another brightly lit apparel shop which we visited once every year. All this changed on the advent of the satellite television. We got a glimpse of the first world. Steadily burgers and pizzas shunned their junk food tag. The staple attire of cotton pants and shirt were no longer in vogue. People of the developed world provided us with inspiration and guidance. Blue jeans and burgers were the talk of the town. ATM and credit cards were the new toys.

Ironically the education system remained uninfluenced, although I had no clue what I wanted to become in life, my parents were more than glad to make that choice for me. The occupants of an industrial town always have great amount of respect for engineers and the booming IT sector reinforced this. Slowly IIT and engineering became an obsession, coaching classes became manufacturing units. Every year the city honoured the bright minds that made it to the prestigious engineering colleges (but ignored the thousands who did not). Off beat career was unheard of and won no recognition and except for few (talents like Madhavan and Imtiaz Ali belong to this city) most sacrificed themselves to fuel the economy and fulfil their parents dream. Technology was reaching the shores of the city and my people were leaving the home shores in search of education and before I could understand I was part of the rat-race.

On the social front things were looking great. Our town now was now playing host to brands like Van Heusen and Ray Ban, shopping was now a weekly affair. No home was now complete without an army of electronic goods. LG and Samsung literally became the house hold names. Sky scrapers blocked the view of the skies but no one complained because no one these days was looking at the stars, TV made a great substitute. Internet and e-mail made the postman an endangered specie. People were spending generously on health care products which was unheard of till recent times like the much sought after fast slimming potions. Foreign education, luxury cars and villas top the wish list. We are living the dream.

Are we? I have asked this question innumerable times but never found an answer. Is money key to happiness? Are we becoming mere puppets in the hands of capitalism? Have we lost the power to differentiate between the living and non-living? I am sure that these questions have crossed our minds sometime or the other but we have drowned them in loud music or glittering lights. Is this anxiety about the future, cut throat competition, falling health and violence by-product of the economic growth? I don’t know and no one can tell because I belong to the generation which in some ways will be an experiment but what I can say with certainty is that people around me are no longer happy. Modern world offers a never ending supply of anaesthetics to suppress your emptiness. People ask if the rich are becoming richer and the poor poorer. I don’t know because I belong to neither. I have not made any bold decisions in my life so I have lost the right to complain. The economy is still very young and growing at impressive rates, I sincerely hope that it continues to grow for years’ to come. But at the same time each one of us should take time to think and to introspect the meaning of our lives.

Image: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2011/04/28/india-s-economy-growing-rapidly-and-unequally/

You must be to comment.
  1. krishna

    You got a point there. Does money really buy happiness ? When you are living amidst poverty , no not BPL ……..middle class of the 60’s and 70’s , the parents generation, money does seem to buy happiness. Only once you get it ie money to buy whatever you consider luxury, do you realize that it doesn’t necessarily buy happiness.

    They (the parents) never reached there…..ie. the ‘ disposable income’ stage.
    Its a big relief if you dont have to worry about money for your basic needs. Just ask the less privilleged kids what they will not do to get to your position be it doing Engg or becoming a Rocket Scientist .

    The not so bright kids of India too get into professional colleges only because of parents who are dead worried what their kids will do if they dont get a job.For people who have seen this agricultural economy which was at the mercy of the rains and gods the thinking will not get any bigger. Living near to the earth , easy life of a farmer are things we frustrated techies conjure up.Engg or any professional course gets you a job and it PAYS. Pays all your bills, luxury or otherwise.In anycase there is not enough land for all of us to turn farmers in this country of 1.1 billion.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By India Development Review (IDR)

By Ritwik Trivedi

By Prakash koli

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below