The Indian Century was a series of articles that Mint published in our Views pages in 2007. Here, we invited 25 influential political leaders, businessmen, civil society activists and writers to explain what they thought would be the main challenges and opportunities that India would face in the decades ahead, as it emerged out of poverty and moved towards prosperity.
In his opening essay, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote: “In the past four years, (the Indian economy) has grown at more than 8%. In the first half of 2006-07, the growth rate rose to nearly 9%. This is an impressive achievement for a democracy of over a billion people. Yet, this is not enough… We must work hard to make the growth process more inclusive and equitable.”
That statement unknowingly laid the terms of the subsequent debates in the series. How could India balance economic growth and social concerns? We had free marketers crossing swords with those who believed the government must do more to control the market. There were calls for a better system of education and more financial inclusion.
But the underlying message in most of the essays was one of hope.