The Bharatiya model of economic development is a counter-narrative to unbridled capitalism and static communism
India has seen a shift in its economic policies since 2014. Reuters
Traditionally, the overall approach to economic development and distribution has been limited to two models of economic prosperity: communism-socialism and capitalism. The Western world champions the cause of capitalism, which is based on free growth of capital directed by the individual, an unregulated market economy, its philosophy of free trade, maximum profit and minimum state interference. In contrast, communism is a state-controlled economy where the state not only regulates the economy but also manages it.
Communism has collapsed and the contradictions inherent in the capitalist world make it weak, fragile and unsustainable. Beyond this binary, however, there is a path which is the Bharatiya model of economic development, which is a counter-narrative to unbridled capitalism and static communism. This Bharatiya model is an Indianized path to economic development and prosperity. This model has its roots in Indian culture and it was adopted in a consistent form by the post-independence Indian thinker, Dattopant Thengadi.
India has witnessed a change in its economic policies since 2014. The economic policies followed by the current regime are ideologically guided by the Indian economic ethos which is noticeably and contrastingly different from the binary of the capitalist-socialist model. This Bharatiya economic model has started to pay its dividends which are reflected in major economic indicators such as GDP growth rate, India’s emergence as an economic superpower and massive welfare distribution measures. So much so that an almost impossible miracle of reaching the $400 billion export target was achieved in March 2022.
Some of the salient features of the Bharatiya development model are:
- It is neither a capitalist model of economic development nor a communist-socialist model of economic development. Both models evolved in Europe and are Eurocentric in nature, reflecting the specific economic conditions and development of Europe. For example, the exploitation of colonies by European countries greatly influenced these economic models, while the aspiration of material wealth in colonized countries like India affected the economic prosperity of colonized India.
- To initiate economic changes, these must be preceded by subjective changes in economic institutions and their perceptions. Dattopant Thengadi argues in his book that “no material objective transformation can succeed if it is not preceded and accompanied by an appropriate subjective psychological transformation”. So to follow a Bharatiya model of development, a thought process of being a Bharatiya has to be there.
- The Bharatiya model of economic development has its cultural roots which evolved and flourished in the Indian subcontinent. Many of the economic ideas, principles and thoughts of the Bharatiya model of prosperity have stood the test of time. Moreover, this model has been successfully followed in the Indian subcontinent and has been the purpose for the prosperity and material well-being of Indian civilization. Since the days of the Indus-Saraswati civilization, India has been known for its superior quality products and manufacturing sector.
- Avoiding the weaknesses of capitalism and communism, he instead advocates an indigenous and sustainable path with particular emphasis on environmental preservation. It is pertinent to note that the emphasis on sustainable development is conspicuous by its absence in both the capitalist and communist model. So, in a way, the Bharatiya model gives the green light to the much-talked-about green economy. It emphasizes economy without compromising ecology.
- This is Aatmanirbhar Bharat where the emphasis on local products is not directed against global products; instead, local products are globalized. Thus, without being restrictive on imports, we are export oriented. Today, India is heading towards self-sufficiency, but that does not mean that India talks about being an island economy.
- Patriotism was by no means against internationalism, rather the two can co-exist. Swadeshi is the outside and the practical manifestation of Bharatiyata and atmanirbarta is not incompatible with international cooperation, provided that there are fair conditions and equal opportunities at the global level.
- True to Indian philosophy, the emphasis is on novelty, naivety and creativity.
- The Bharatiya model is not only wealth creation but also wealth distribution. Regarding the distribution of economic resources, he talks about Antyodaya, which gives benefits to everyone starting from the bottom of the economic ladder.
- Regarding the role of the state in economic development, he emphasizes minimum government and maximum governance. Instead of the government being a co-producer, the government should be a regulator. The main task of the government is the distribution of social assistance.
Economic analysts look for economic indicators such as benchmarks in exports from two perspectives: temporary phenomenon or structural change. The Bharatiya model has been running since 2014 and is approaching its full potential. This has brought about structural and fundamental changes in the economy. It also stimulated “economic sentiment” which gave Made in India marks a global perspective. This record $400 billion export feat is being achieved despite the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, uncertain world order, war in Central Asia and other domestic issues. This averages an export of $46 million of goods per hour, $1 billion of goods are exported every day, and $33 billion every month.
In addition, the export basket has diversified, with exports of engineering goods, petroleum and chemicals increasing in February by 32%, 88.14% and 25.38% to reach 9.32 billion dollars. dollars, $4.64 billion and $2.4 billion, respectively. Furthermore, the social safety net program of distributing free food grains to 80 million people is the distributive aspect of the Indian model which has benefited all targeted sections of Indian society, especially those at the bottom of the poverty pyramid. It is clear that the Bharatiya pattern is showing its true strength now and this is the right way to go.
The author is a freelance columnist. The opinions expressed are personal.
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