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Future Scenarios for India

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An attempt to crystal ball possible Indias (far in the future) through rational thinking.

This article was made to contain a collection of rationally argued scenarios (both favourable and non-favourable) that may evolve & effect India's future. These are possible future scenarios founded on, and argued from, current facts/knowledge. It is said that - 'prediction is difficult, especially when it concerns the future'. Predicting the destiny of a complex and diverse nation like India is all the more difficult. Obviously, in spite of all our brain racking, there is no guarantee or measure of how close any of the points below will be, if at all, to the real future, as it unfolds before us.

Please feel free to add / improve / clean / organise into these topics. The only thing to abide - keep as rational analysis as possible.

Geo-Economic

  • Possible future energy advantage from India's geographic location - Far into the future, as technology develops cheaper means to harness clean/renewable sources of energy, the world will leave the "fossil-fuel age" (Figure-7 of [1] ) and (possibly, in an even longer run) the "nuclear-fission age" - to enter the "renewable-energy age" or the "fusion age" (if/whenever they become economically sustainable/viable) [2] [3] [4]. If the world enters a "solar age" [5], then being an economy in the sunny tropical belt, South Asia will enjoy having both high solar insolation [6] and a big consumer base density [7] at the same place. Also considering the energy consumed for temperature control (a major factor influencing energy intensity), cooling from excessive solar radiation will go on to be economically (energetically) cheaper than heating for the lack of it. Energy consumed by air-conditioners, per degree of cooling, happens to be considerably less than energy enpended per degree heating for same volume of air. If India could run its air-conditioners by harnessing/channeling solar energy, then it would be practically free cooling. However, as for now, solar cells are still not cheap enough to takeover the market. Also in long run, if Hydrogen economy is to usher in, it will be vital to produce it via energetically cheap means. One way of production could be by dissociation of ocean water using solar energy. India's long coastline in tropical belt and access to sunbathed Indian ocean could prove useful to make solar farms for production of Hydrogen, desalinated water, etc. These are indeed very long term possibilities. (Some solar India links: [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15])


Economic

  • Knowledge Economy -

Political Risk: (Outlook - Negative) The UNIDOW FIS downgraded the India's Political Outlook after critical review. The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is proved to be incapable of handling the complex and difficult situations in his government. The Singh's government comprising different parties with almost contrarian to his views. With executive powers - the top commander of the Indian Government has been under intense pressure. His ruling coalition federal government has failed to commence the important economic reforms, which took a considerable toll on the economy. Assembly elections specifically in Uttar Pradesh was the key event which changed the political theatre. The losing ground of two major political parties of the country, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), would definitely make India a battleground in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and is gain for anti-capitalist and anti-socialist regional political parties, which is not favorable for India economy. In 2011, the Indian government faced every month with a disapproval from the people, coming out on street in amass protesting against the government's inactivity on corruption and irregularities in the system.

Economic Policies: (Outlook - On Review) The UNIDOW FIS have downgraded the economic policies due to federal government's inaction on the subject of overspending and fiscal policies to stimulate the economy and command over the unbrookable inflation. The current fall in inflation is largely driven by change in base year and the key index for RBI - manufacturing index is restless. RBI is giving full concentration on the inflation problem, which is undermining the fragile economic growth and revised the policy rates by number of times to contain the rising risk of inflation in the economy. As per VMW's observation, RBI, alongside inflation concern, would think about the economic expansion of the country since the liquidity situation could get distressed and will put India's economic growth at risk. Moreover, the higher cost of credit will certainly have an impact in the corporate balance sheet, which will prevent the short term foreign inflows (i.e. FII inflow) in the country to finance the current account (CA) deficit. RBI might not be concerned about the CA deficit. However, VMW is not comfortable with the RBI's monetary stance. The overall aspect is that the further revision in policy rate is expected. Nevertheless, it is not in favor of the economy, and the VMW is constantly watching the economic situation and central bank's response.

Overall Economic Prospect: (Outlook - Stable but on Risk) Despite the rising risk of political and economic policies, the overall economic outlook of India in the long run is still intact. There could be a greater risk of high fiscal deficit followed by the increase in current account deficit due to sharp decline in Indian Rupee and rise in oil prices, which will increase reduce the revenue to the government. Tighter monetary policy and a modest reduction in the deficit will help cool demand somewhat. After moderating towards the end of 2010, inflation has veered up again and remains high. Moreover, inflationary pressures have become more generalized, with non-food prices accelerating.

Economic

Knowledge Economy -

Economic Policies: (Outlook - On Review) The UNIDOW FIS have downgraded the economic policies due to federal government's inaction on the subject of overspending and fiscal policies to stimulate the economy and command over the unbrookable inflation. The current fall in inflation is largely driven by change in base year and the key index for RBI - manufacturing index is restless. RBI is giving full concentration on the inflation problem, which is undermining the fragile economic growth and revised the policy rates by number of times to contain the rising risk of inflation in the economy. As per VMW's observation, RBI, alongside inflation concern, would think about the economic expansion of the country since the liquidity situation could get distressed and will put India's economic growth at risk. Moreover, the higher cost of credit will certainly have an impact in the corporate balance sheet, which will prevent the short term foreign inflows (i.e. FII inflow) in the country to finance the current account (CA) deficit. RBI might not be concerned about the CA deficit. However, VMW is not comfortable with the RBI's monetary stance. The overall aspect is that the further revision in policy rate is expected. Nevertheless, it is not in favor of the economy, and the VMW is constantly watching the economic situation and central bank's response.

Overall Economic Prospect: (Outlook - Stable but on Risk) Despite the rising risk of political and economic policies, the overall economic outlook of India in the long run is still intact. There could be a greater risk of high fiscal deficit followed by the increase in current account deficit due to sharp decline in Indian Rupee and rise in oil prices, which will increase reduce the revenue to the government. Tighter monetary policy and a modest reduction in the deficit will help cool demand somewhat. After moderating towards the end of 2010, inflation has veered up again and remains high. Moreover, inflationary pressures have become more generalized, with non-food prices accelerating.

Cultural

  • Unity in Diversity of world view - The scale of multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious people trying to cohabitate here is unparalleled in the world. The subcontinent's long and diverse history has given it a unique eclectic culture, claimed to be one of its great intangible assets. It is also often associated with spirituality. India's diversity forces it to either evolve strong foundations of tolerance and survive, or face break-up. The Indian public is now also accepting western influences in their society & media - and what is emerging is a confluence of its past local culture with the new western culture ("Social Glocalisation"). For some futuristic social thinkers, the miscegenation of diverse ancient culture with modernity, spirituality with science/technology, eastern with western world-view is potentially making India a social laboratory for the evolution of futuristic global-unity consciousness [16] [17][18]. If, and only if, everything evolves right, then South Asia could emerge as a soft super-power, by being the biggest melting pot of human ethnicities, languages, cultures, religions, ideologies & world view.


Climatic or Environmental

  • Highly Polluted India ? - Urban air quality in India ranks among the world's worst. Of the 3 million premature deaths in the world that occur each year due to outdoor and indoor air pollution, the highest number are assessed to occur in India [19]. As development progresses Indian environment may become unbearably polluted. Or will clean technology bring and pro green market forces bring a new revolution?
  • Global Warming - South Asia like many other regions has to manage various kinds of disasters, but some might become very serious issues in the future. For example, today scientists are busy trying to predict possible repercussions that global warming may have on world climate [20]. Though humans are no where near in predicting what exactly will happen, but one of the possible effects may turn out to be a change in monsoons (weakening, aperiodicity or anything) [21]. South Asia heavily depends on periodic monsoon. Also the Gangotri glacier, among others, is receding [22] [23]. If it vanishes Ganga, amongst others, will become a seasonal river. 400-500 million people survive around the gangetic plains. Clean drinking and irrigation water is already a precious resource in South Asia. Some doomsayers are already predicting that, in the future, water scarcity may even incite a war in the sub-continent. Will South Asians join hands and invest in technology development for the long run (e.g. Solar Desalination etc.) to insure their safe future [24]?
  • Possible Ice Age - The last ice age ended 12000 years ago. Periodicity evidences of ice ages shows that we could be anywhere near to the border of the current warm period and the next ice age. The phenomena of excessive global warming, being created by humans makes the situation totally unpredictive. While it may seem that global warming should delay or nullify any possibility of ice age, but climate is not that linearly simple. World climate is a highly non-linear system with multiple feed-back loops. The North Atlantic Drift however while it may change weather patterns does not result in India being warmer than it would otherwise be, although it does mean that the British Isles has a climate more of that that would be expected 10 degrees nearer the Equator than it actually is, the North Atlantic Drift however merely transfers energy from the Tropics to North West Europe and given that if anything India is slightly cooled by Ocean Currents it could result in a warming in India if it stops for all anyone knows although the biggest risk is that it may affect where the Monsoon ends up, at what time of year and how strong it is. If there were to be an Ice Age (and all the Climactic Models say that quite the opposite is going to happen) India would be affected - people without Central Heating, without winter clothes, crops not adapted to frosts or snow - the effects would be disastrous, but this is improbable in the extreme. Will India, or South Asia in larger perspective, invest in development of technology that insures a safer future. India is already having water scarcity. It needs to think and act on ideas of water conservation and harvesting. In long run South Asians may even consider Solar sea water desalination, etc... technologies, some of which are, currently under research.

References

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