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The major factor that has been linked with economic development of a nation is population growth. Apart from income inequalities, population can hinder a nation from economic development. This is because population growth can contribute to increased unemployment, poverty level and environmental issues such as pollution with its associated health costs. India had a population of 1 billion in 2001 but this has increased tremendously (World Bank, 2010). Population explosion in India is a curse because of its damage to the economic development. This is because of exploitation of the resources, thus, contributing to poverty and other associated problems of population. The population growth in India is caused by the major factors such as increasing birth rates and decreased death rates because of medical improvements. Additionally, it is caused by immigration because of employment opportunities and better political climate. Population growth is one of the major issues, which will hinder India’s economic development because of its associated problems such as poverty, unemployment and environmental pollution.
Environmental problems such as pollution and resource exploitation are among the problems, associated with population growth. Environmental pollution is one of the serious issues that have been affecting many countries and India is not an exception. This is because of rapid increase in population growth mostly in urbanized regions due to rural-urban migration. This adds problems such as high development of slums, contributing to congestions, hence, causing environmental related diseases like typhoid due to water pollution from industries. Moreover, pollution will increase as a result of industrial need for creating more employment opportunities to accommodate the ever increasing population. These industries may contribute to increase pollution because of the toxic substances, discharged to the near water sources, thus, increase water-based related diseases.
According the report from the World Development Indicators (World Bank, 2010), around 1.5 billion of people are exposed to dangerous air pollution. About one billion live under unclean water; two billions live under poor sanitation condition. These are those people, residing in the major cities of India. The increasing population is tending towards an alarming situation. This is because the population of India was estimated 6.5 in the year 2001 and is projected to increase to 7.82 in 2025 and 9.04 in the year 2050 (World Bank, 2012). India is the second largest growing nation in greenhouse gases production. Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi are among the most populated regions. It is approximated that two thirds of the city dwellers lack sewerage and a third of them lack portable water. India is a small nation but it’s populated and the population growth every year is moving closer to the equivalent of the New York City.
Moreover, India is one of the most degraded environments comparing to other nations across the globe. It is paying heavy health and high economic price for it, thus, affecting its economic development. According to the Chiang and Wainwright (2005), an economy will not develop in case it is producing more products at an increased cost. The World Bank study estimated the environmental degradation, and it was revealed that the urban environmental pollution of India costs them 1.3 billion U.S. dollars per annum. Water degradation contributes to health costs of about $ 5.7 million per annum. Thus, the environmental costs alone are approximated 60 percent of the total environmental costs. This is an indication that India would not develop economically because of the costs they are experiencing from the increased population growth (Acharya, 2004).
According to Meier and Rauch (2000), lack of services such as sanitation, water supply, disposal of untreated waste, and discharge of untreated sewage from industries as well as lack of clean water are all unable to keep the citizens pace with urban growth. All these factors contribute to environmental deterioration as well as poor health of human beings. This, in turn, forces the government to spend more money in provision of medical activities, something that may hinder economic development. Hence, instead of spending money on other economic activities, the government will be forced to spend money on medical facilities. This will hinder economic activities in other sectors. This is because the government will be required to spend more money on the health sector such as provision of more hospitals in order to accommodate the sick people.
Additionally, a healthy nation has the drive towards economic growth of a nation. Stiglitz and Walsh (2006) point out that a healthy nation will achieve or get more wealth. This means that health is a consequential for better economic performance. Many of the macroeconomists as well as the economic policy makers traditionally view the population health as one of the social indicators for better economic performance. This is because a healthy nation will improve and become wealthier, thus, quoted that ‘health is wealth’ (Meier and Rauch, 2000). A healthy nation is believed to drive economic development for various reasons. One of them is that a healthier workforce is a more productive workforce in an economy. Another one is that the healthier children perform better, especially in school and they have better recognition. The healthy children make the government to spend less on health care provision. Moreover, the healthy nation has higher saving rates and people save more for future expectations. Lastly, the healthy population attracts foreign direct investment, thus, accelerating faster economic growth in a nation (Stiglitz and Walsh, 2002).
The second issue that is a result of population growth is increased poverty level. Poverty is one of the severe problems that are associated with increased population growth. The population explosion in India has contributed to increased poverty level. Poverty is one of the major obstacles to economic development. This is because poverty is the driving force for resource depletion, thus, hindering economic development. For instance, India’s local resources have been depleted in India because of increased poverty level. The population impacts the environment primarily through the exploitation of natural resources and generation of wastes, which are harmful to human health. Furthermore, the increased population leads to exertion of pressure, especially on the arable lands due to a need of expansion of more land for agricultural activities. For instance, many agricultural lands in India have been exploited and the forested areas have been cleared because of the need for agricultural practices. This is because of high demand of agricultural products, especially in cities.
Moreover, many people, living in an urban area of India, depend on agricultural commodities, which are transported to urban centers. Most of the industries, located in the major cities of India, utilize agricultural goods for further processing or manufacturing of other commodities. Thus, the ever increasing population has contributed to rural land degradation (Federico, 2005). This is due to the need for increasing agricultural fields for commodities to be transported to the cities. The land for agricultural activities has become scarce, thus, it cannot sustain the ever increasing population. The scarcity of land has consequently led to extinction of rare species. This is because of the need for more agricultural fields, thus, forests have been cleared in order to create more land for agriculture as well as for settlement. This has impacted the economy because some of the forests that have been terminated are the centers for tourism, hence, India’s foreign income, earned from tourism activities, may reduce. This has led to increased poverty level because once some resources have depleted, they are hard to renew. This contributes to inadequate resources, which is a hindrance to economic development.
The research reveals that India faces the most acute pressure on agricultural lands. Million hectares of land had been recently put under agriculture and it supports about 7.27 million people. In India, 43 percent of land is put under cultivation, which is among the highest nations, practicing agriculture in the globe. Over the decades, the proportion of the land under cultivation increased as a result of big population growth. The population increased three times, thus, making the total area of land, put under cultivation, to go up to 20.27 percent. For instance, the total area of cultivation land increased from 118.75 million hectares in 1951 to 142.82 million in 2001 due to higher rates of population growth (World Bank, 2012). Most of these agricultural areas have taken the expense of forested and grazing land. Despite the fact that most areas have been put under cultivation, agricultural land is still lacking to accommodate the large part of population.
Poverty is linked with the effects of environmental degradation. Gould (2009) reveals that the poor rely on natural resources more than the rich. Therefore, they deplete natural resources in alarming rate because they do not have real prospects for access of other types of resources. The poor people who are not able to meet their needs end up using common properties such as forest for food, rivers for water and many others. This contributes to economic problems, thus, making a country to lag behind. Moreover, the degradation of environment, accelerated by increased poverty level, is a threat to economic development. Due to absence of capital resources, the poor are directly depending on the natural resources in order to meet their basic needs. Although the poverty level dropped from 55 percent in 1973 to 36 percent in 1994, still, the absolute number has remained constant to 320 million over the past years. Population increase and poverty coexist, thus, seems to reinforce each other.
The population growth in India is caused by factors such as increased heath care facilities, for example, improved hospitals. This has led to decreased death rates and increased birth rates. Moreover, the governmental policies that favor population growth are the contributing factors for increased population. This has led to higher expenditure of the governmental resources for the increasing population (Bardhan and Udry, 1999). The government is unable to attain economic development because of enlarged poverty level. For instance, in the developing nations, where India is included, the actual birth rate was lower and the death rate was higher. However, due to increased and better medical services, the death rate is now anticipated to reduce as the birth rate will grow, thus, causing population growth with its associated cost. The figure 1 below indicates the demographic transition of developing nations. This illustrates the way birth rates in the future will be high and the death rates will reduce. However, this will lead to increased poverty level and other associated social costs in the developing nation. This will, therefore, hinder a nation from economic development.
India’s population growth rate has not met Malthus’s pessimistic predictions of human misery and mass mortality. Over the past decades, the population growth of China has been accompanied by unparalleled decline in mortality rates and an increase in income per capita. Malthusian model tries to explain the way exponential growth has created a negative impact on the environment (Stiglitz and Walsh, 2002). Additionally, the model considers the economic growth limit, and this model is similar to the Iron Law of Wages. The only differences is that Malthus’s theory predicts what will happen in the future generation, and the way populalation may impact the economic development in the future. The increasing consumption trends of big developing nations such as India may be impacted because of changes in income per capita. The poverty level will increase because of the changes in total income growth rate as indicated in figure 2 below.
Lastly, unemployment is another issue that emerges due to increased population growth of a country. Unemployment arises due to big number of people in a nation. Many people have moved from other nation to India because of the better governmental policies that favors the political climate of India. India has a good political climate that encourages many settlers. Others migrate to India because they are looking for greener pastures. Moreover, many people in rural areas of India have been moving from rural to urban. This is especially the youths who move from rural areas to avoid agricultural activities. Therefore, they move to urban areas with an aim of getting a white collar job. However, due to cheap labor, many of them have been discouraged, thus, becoming jobless.
Additionally, due to increased competition on the available job sector, many individuals become unemployed. This is because of immigration from rural areas to urban areas in search for better life. This is what is described in Todaro’s model of economic development as migration decision as described in the table one below. The model is based on rural-urban migration and the main assumption of Todaro’s model is that migration decision is based on the expected income differentials, rather than wage differentials between rural and urban areas. This means that rural-urban migration can be economically irrational due to the context of high urban unemployment in case urban income exceeds the anticipate rural income. Therefore, the probability of obtaining a securing job is inversely related to the urban unemployment rate. High rate of rural-urban migration results to rural-urban imbalances. This is because one area, especially the urban one, may become economically developed, thus, leaving the rural area lagging behind (Todaro and Smith, 2006).
Table one: indicating Todaro model of rural-urban migration
From the above table, Todaro tries to explain the context of unemployment and employment in most developing nations, where India is included. The purpose is to reveal the way unemployment has become a serious problem in the developing economies. This is because of the impact they have on the economic development of the nation. A nation with high unemployment levels cannot economically develop, especially when other people such as youths depend on financial support. The distinctive concept of migration model emphasizes that some complimentary factors such as inadequate land in rural areas, government policies, and social system may contribute to migration from rural to urban areas. For instance, due to increased population in India, the land is becoming scarce, thus, forcing some people to move to urban areas in order to seek for other job opportunities, rather than depending on agriculture. On the other hand, some factors such as better education and income opportunities are attracting people to migrate to towns (Meier and Rauch, 2000). However, the consequences are higher costs of living such as high transport costs and opportunity cost, thus, hindering economic development.
Due to rural-migration, the economy may face challenges in distributing resources. This is when the problems of unequal distribution of health and education services arise. This comes up, especially when the nation‘s population increases, thus, making it difficult for the nation to distribute the scarce resources to all parts of the nation. They pose pressure on the few governmental services. The places, which benefit most, are those in urban areas but those, in the rural areas, does not get enough government services. This is because of the increase of people and continuous migration to the city for search of employment. Therefore, the government may concentrate to cater and provide needs on this increasing population within the cities, thus, may forget the people in the rural areas. Moreover, the government expenditure may enlarge because of the need to meet the living costs of people within the urban areas such as provision of clean water, energy sources, better education and banking system. This may create economic imbalances between urban and rural areas, hence, preventing economic development (Stiglitz and Walsh, 2006).
In conclusion, population growth is one of the major issues, which will hinder India’s economic development because of its associated problems such as poverty, unemployment and environmental pollution. Population is one of the major issues that will impact the economic development of India. This is because of associated problems such as environmental pollution. The nation of India experiences environmental problems such as pollution, land degradation and many others. This is because of the increasing industries, which emit toxic substance to the water sources. Thus, the cost of maintaining the environment is high and India is one of the nations that pay more costs for environmental pollution. Another issue that arises from increased population growth is poverty. Poverty is one of the severe problems that are associated with population growth. Poverty is linked with the effects of environmental degradation. Most of the agricultural land areas have been exploited because many poor people are the ones who exploit the environmental resource for subsistence needs. Lastly, unemployment is associated with increased population growth. This is where Todaro employs his model to explain the rural-urban migration. Thus, people make migration decisions to move from rural to urban areas in search for better life. However, all three issues of environmental pollution, poverty and unemployment result due to increased population growth, thus, impacting the economic development in different ways.