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With 1.

2 billion people and the worlds third largest economy in purchasing


power parity terms, Indias recent growth has been a significant
achievement. Since independence in 1947, a landmark agricultural
revolution has transformed the nation from chronic dependence on grain
imports into an agricultural powerhouse that is now a net exporter of food.
Life expectancy has more than doubled, literacy rates have quadrupled,
health conditions have improved, and a sizeable middle class has
emerged. India is now home to globally recognized companies in
pharmaceuticals and steel and information and space technologies, and
enjoys a voice on the international stage that is more in keeping with its
size and potential.

Today, historic changes are again unfolding, unleashing a host of new


opportunities to forge a 21st-century nation. Indias burgeoning young
workforce is the largest and youngest the world has ever seen. At the same
time, this vast nation is in the midst of a massive wave of urbanization, the
scale of which has few parallels in history. How India shapes its significant
human potential and reimagines its mushrooming towns and cities will
largely determine the shape of the future for the country and its people for
years to come.

India now stands at a critical juncture. It needs massive investments to


create the jobs, housing, and infrastructure to meet its peoples soaring
aspirations. Growth that lifts all boats will be key, for more than 400 million
of its peopleor one-third of the worlds poorstill live in poverty. And, many
of those who have recently escaped the direst deprivation remain
vulnerable to falling back.

In addition, inequity in all dimensions will need to be addressed. Poverty


rates in Indias poorest states are three to four times higher than those in
their more prosperous counterparts. Disadvantaged groups will need to be
brought into the mainstream to reap the benefits of economic growth, and
womenwho hold up half the skyempowered to take their rightful place
in the socioeconomic fabric of the country. In particular, the nutrition of
Indias children - whose well-being will determine the extent of Indias
much-awaited demographic dividend will call for concerted attention.

Although there are few blueprints for development on such a large and
diverse scale, India has pioneered a host of bold new initiatives to address
these and other challenges. For instance, the countrys flagship Skill India
initiative seeks to equip Indias growing young workforce with the skills
needed to compete in todays rapidly changing work place. The skills
program is complemented by the Make in India initiative, as well as with
efforts to ease the process of doing business. Both these programs aim to
ramp up the jobs available to meet the aspirations of the vast numbers who
enter Indias job market every year.

Next, with urban areas being the fountainhead of jobs and a better quality
of life, the Smart Cities and AMRUT programs focus on creating dynamic
urban centers in towns and cities across the country. At the same time,
India aims to put an end to open defecation one of its most intractable
challenges - by implementing the Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India
Mission) nationwide. In addition, the country has renewed its focus on
cleaning and rejuvenating the iconic Ganga which stitches together the
northern heartland and which is home to some 400 million people.

To ease transport bottlenecks, a string of inland waterways are being


revived, and modern facilities and navigation systems installed to handle
complex logistics operations. The Indian Railways, that stalwart of the
transport sector, is also being modernized, and transformational changes
such as the western and eastern dedicated freight corridors - being created
to revive the railways competitive edge. In addition, many of Indias states
are notching up successes in a range of development sectors, lighting the
way forward for the rest of the country.

In short, as India works to improve the quality of life for its citizens and lays
the foundation for a prosperous future, Lighthouse India is generating
many lessons on development which hold relevance for both India and the
world.