Fifteen years back, India was seen as the fastest-growing economy in South Asia, while economists and pundits would continue giving lectures about how Bangladesh’s economy was struggling. Unfortunately, to most of the Indians Bangladesh was a poor country while to Bengali-speaking Indians, Bangladesh was a country dependent on India and few of them even did not hesitate in terming Bangladesh as a ‘beggar’. But things have changed drastically and thanks to the magnanimous leadership of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh is now seen by the economic experts as the fastest growing economy in Asia, leaving India behind and it is poised to emerge as the next ‘China’ in this continent – in terms of economic growth and prosperity.
Ever since the International Monetary Fund updated it’s World Economic Outlook stating India’s per capita gross domestic product will be lower for 2020 than in neighboring Bangladesh.
Commenting on it, Andy Mukherjee, a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services wrote in the Washington Post, “Ever since it began opening up the economy in the 1990s, India’s dream has been to emulate China’s rapid expansion. After three decades of persevering with that campaign, slipping behind Bangladesh hurts its global image. The West wants a meaningful counterweight to China, but that partnership will be predicated on India not getting stuck in a lower-middle-income trap.
“Consider first the exceptionalism of India’s growth. Bangladesh is doing well because it’s following the path of previous Asian tigers. Its slice of low-skilled goods exports is in line with its share of the poor-country working-age population. Vietnam is punching slightly above its weight. But basically, both are taking a leaf out of China’s playbook. The People’s Republic held on to high GDP growth for decades by carving out for itself a far bigger dominance of low-skilled goods manufacturing than warranted by the size of its labor pool.”
With the bad news of economic decline in India, there also is disturbing news about the fast increase in the unemployment rate, which may ultimately push the country towards a serious economic and social catastrophe within the next 2-3 years. Currently, India’s unemployment rate is 27.01 (source: Economic Times, India, May 2020) percent, which will be growing further by mid-2021, while Bangladesh’s rate of unemployment is expected to further decline from current 4.15 percent (source: Statista, October 2020). According to experts, India is going to witness a massive economic and unemployment crisis within the next one year, where the rate of unemployment may even cross 30 percent, meaning almost half the population in India will become jobless, even if India can successfully overcome the challenges posed by coronavirus pandemic.
With the alarming rise in unemployment, India will most certainly witness extreme poverty; with a radical-Hindu party in power, the current Indian government is focusing more on creating divisions motivated by their political agenda while focusing the least on India’s socio-economic priorities. Meanwhile, India’s neighboring nations – Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and even Pakistan are focusing on socio-economic progress; with China emerging as the new superpower, it is very likely that India’s neighbors will benefit from their friendship with China, while Indian leadership will, hopelessly, remain at loggerheads with China. The opium of Hindutva, which the radical-Hinduist Modi government has been feeding the nation for years will soon turn poisonous and will ultimately be rejected by the Indian populace. The Modi government has started a cascade of reactions that have gone beyond their control and may soon plunge the nation into a chaotic situation, where Modi may ultimately become another “Gorbachev”, and the Indian Union may disintegrate into new States; and this is exactly what India’s rivals, particularly China and Pakistan, would witness with celebration.