Even after 66 years of independence, India is still labeled as a developing country. I think as a nation, we have miles to go. The question of whether or not India is a developed or developing country is not so simple. To understand the real India, we need to look at many other indicators, such as health and education too. I think the level of development in a country is directly proportionate to the way we choose to treat our children, elderly and the disabled. As far as India is concerned, we might score very highly in terms of growth of physical infrastructure, but most of the public places are inaccessible to people with disabilities. As per the 2011 census, India has about 2.7 million people with disabilities, and only a handful of those enjoy education and/or employment. We are spending less than 4% of our GDP on important areas of education and health. Almost 12% of our children (between 5 and 15 years) are identified as child labor, and we have about 2.4 million people living with HIV/Aids.
Almost 25% of my Indians are poor – in the same India where millions use smartphones. Within India, there are many different countries. There is no doubt that in some areas we are a developed country and, as far as people with disability are concerned, we have created facilities and a support system. But in many areas we still have long way to go. Now I leave it to you to decide whether you perceive India as developing or not! We have to focus on the “safety of women” and “corruption”. Corruption has mired growth to a great extent, and past and present governments have so far been unsuccessful in finding a permanent solution. The young Indian faces challenges stretching from a poorly administered education system to the lowest average wage rates in the world. The youth of India today lives in a society defined by multiple languages, religions, ethnicities and political thought, among other things. Yet they define their own generation, which is starkly different from their fathers and grandfathers. This puts them in a unique position to take their country towards positive growth and development.