By Vipula Wanigasekera –
The recent visit of the leader of the NPP to India has garnered significant attention due to his high-profile meetings and discussions focusing on exploring Indian models for development strategies, particularly in poverty alleviation, state administration, energy reforms, agriculture and water management, infrastructure enhancement, industrial growth, investment, healthcare, and women’s empowerment. Colombo Telegraph has carried a couple of opinions already and here is another perspective.
The JVP’s pragmatic strategies for development while honoring the debts (should they come into political power), remain subject to further discussion, but the crucial takeaway lies in understanding India’s successful practices that have propelled her into an economic giant in the globe which need to be fully comprehended by Sri Lankan politicians aspiring to take over in the future.
Sri Lanka has plunged into economic and political destruction where long standing parliamentarians are said to be incapable of reenacting the system into a growth mode. The analysists can write books on the root causes. This sentiment has overshadowed the historical context of the JVP’s involvement in the events in 1971 and 1988 through which the JVP had been sidelined except for a short period of a collision Government, experience of which has probably made them shunning away from partnership unless they are forced to do so.
However, the JVP appears to have re-emerged from the 3% obscurity, demonstrating a learning curve over time and gaining traction among various segments of the population, particularly women, as a possible political alternative. India seems to have recognized this trend more than any other country, apart from the USA and China. The objective of this piece is to underscore the importance of understanding the key drivers behind India’s sustained economic growth over the last two decades.
India’s economy has developed significantly during the past ten years, marked by strong growth, structural changes, and sectoral diversification. This change has been fueled by a number of variables, making the nation’s growing economy one of the fastest in the world.
Comprehending these elements is essential to understanding India’s economic development and its outlook. It is in this context why JVP leader’s visit to India seems crucial knowing that India’s geopolitical strategy for Sri Lanka needs to be understood, not to mention the fact that unlike in the 80s, India too has learnt lessons where Sri Lanka’s wellbeing would be in their best interest too.
India has implemented significant economic liberalization policies, such as deregulation, privatization, and fiscal reforms, since the early 1990s. The business environment has been improved and has drawn both domestic and foreign investments because to reforms including the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the simplification of tax structures, and improvements in the ease of doing business.
India’s economy has been supported by her sizable and youthful population. The nation benefits from a strong labor force, which boosts productivity and consumption-led growth, with a median age of about 28 years. The demographic dividend has been amplified by investments in education and skill development, which have also promoted entrepreneurship, innovation, and a knowledge-based economy.
The internet’s widespread use, the emergence of e-commerce platforms, and the spread of digital technology have completely changed India’s economic environment. Particularly in rural areas, initiatives like Digital India, which promote digital literacy, online governance, and digital payments infrastructure, have made it easier to access services and encouraged financial inclusion.
Increasing economic growth and competitiveness has depended heavily on investments in infrastructure, which includes energy, transportation, and urban development. Trade, investment, and industrialization have been supported by projects like Bharatmala for road development, Sagarmala for port-led growth, and programs to improve connectivity through trains and airports.
Thanks to a supportive government framework known as Startup India, a culture of innovation, and easy access to venture capital, India’s startup ecosystem is expanding rapidly. Startups across a variety of industries, including as technology, healthcare, and finance, have boosted economic vibrancy, global competitiveness, and job creation.
The transformation of rural economies has been greatly aided by agricultural reforms that seek to increase production, infrastructure, and market access. The Soil Health Card Scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY), and the electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM) have improved farmer income and agricultural efficiency.
India’s engagement in international value chains, trade agreements, and FDI have all contributed to its economic progress by bringing it closer to the global economy. Resilience and competitiveness have increased as a result of export diversification outside traditional industries like IT and textiles and into industries like pharmaceuticals, automotive, and engineering.
It’s obvious that Sri Lanka cannot copy paste India’s strategies due to fundamental demographic disparities. However, it’s prudent to seek guidance on policy implementation, as Sri Lanka’s historical challenges have always stemmed from execution rather than policy itself. The JVP’s decision to humbly engage with India reflects astute diplomacy, even as they maintain their stance on scrutinizing Indian interest in Sri Lanka.
*Write is former Diplomat, Tourism Official and Currently a lecturer for ECU