How to make India more competitive — reform distorted markets
India has directed investments well and made plenty of progress but distortions persist that could yet act as economic drags.
Over the years, India’s competitiveness has been marked by substantial progress on certain foundational socio-economic aspects. A lot has been said about the country’s development so far. The country has seen assessments of its past and projections of its future aplenty. A country’s competitiveness fundamentals constitute the bedrock of its society, and India has made significant strides in this arena. There have been notable developments in a range of sectors, including, inter alia, expanding access to education, infrastructure development and enhancing the quality of our business environment. With a massive expansion in the electricity network, the percentage of the population with access to electricity has jumped from 83.9% in 2014 to 99% in 2020, as per World Bank data. As compared to the period between 2007 and 2014, over five times electrification was achieved during 2014-21. Leisang village in Manipur became the last village to be included in the national power grid in April 2018. Further, the country has augmented its transport infrastructure extensively. Since the beginning of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, nearly 700,000km road length has been completed and 99% of targeted habitations have been provided all-weather road connectivity. Yet another competitiveness fundamental that has seen a substantial enhancement is education. From 2014 to 2020, the number of universities in India increased from 723 to 1,043. The gross enrolment ratio or percentage of students in the eligible age group enrolled in higher education stood at 27.1% in 2019-20 against 24.3% in 2014-2015. In the last five odd years, student enrolment in higher education witnessed an increase of 11.4%. Additionally, food production has registered a rise from around 252 million tonnes in 2014-15 to 316 million tonnes in 2021-22.
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