According to a recent International Monetary Fund report on the Indian economy, Bangladesh’s GDP is set to surpass India’s by per capita income.
This has led experts and laypersons alike to question for where it is ‘Vikas’ has left, whether ‘he’ has packed his bags for the first train to Dhaka.
The numbers certainly are not painting a good picture.
The Indian economy is slated to be among the steepest declining economies in the world. After Italy and Spain, which were the first European countries to get affected by the coronavirus, India’s economy will suffer the most, reaching almost a 10 percent decline.
Bangladesh is a key benchmark to assess India’s growth in the context of the political environment between the two nations, as a strong ally of India, relations have been touchy at best, particularly with the Citizenship act training its focus on migrants from the country.
In terms of development indices, namely the global hunger, gender development index world happiness and infant mortality, India lags behind Bangladesh. As it has been traditionally ahead on per capita GDP, this is a significant development, as it basically signals that as a people, the average Bangladeshi would be richer than their Indian counterpart.
Regardless of whether this change in equation is a mere blip on the radar, or the harbinger of something more long-term, India would be best off not underestimating the export powerhouse that Bangladesh is morphing into, one which India’s other, more ambitious neighbor, China, is looking to form key strategic alliances with.
So the question on everybody’s mind is how much of this decline can be attributed to the pandemic and how much to bad policymaking predating it?
Recent policies have delivered body blows to Indian industry and it is without doubt that India has entered a protectionist phase, with lessening trade, increasing fuel prices and mass unemployment. A severe cocktail, if ever.
One thing is for certain, India can be better off to not display any sense of hubris, when it comes to either its economic heft or its geopolitical influence. If these developments according to the IMF report are anything to go by, these are warning signs of both on the wane.
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