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India’s Economic, Social and Political Development

Discuss how India has changed economically socially and politically with respect to other parts of the world.

India is a developing country located in Asia; it is the second most populated country in the world. India in the past decade has changed economically, socially and politically. India has become an increasingly important part of the global economic landscape over the past decade. Its economy has become more open to international trade. Its workforce is growing strongly and the rate of investment has picked up following economic reforms. This essay will be aimed at the economic political and social changes in India with respect to other parts of the world.

Economic Changes

Looking back at the first decade of the 21st Century (2000-2010) we strongly consider that this decade certainly can be called India’s Decade of Development. The structure of the Indian economy differs in some important respects from that of most other developing economies, the population is growing and its economy has benefited from its working age population expected to grow till the next four decades. Mukesh Ambani states that “As long as we place millions of Indians at the canter of our thought process, as long as we think of their welfare, their future, and their opportunities for self-realization we are on the right track. For India can grow, prosper, flourish only if they grow, prosper, flourish. We cannot grow by any esoteric strategies. Our purchasing power, our economic strength, our marketplace all depends on the prosperity of our people” (n.d.). India’s economy has had a rapid change in real terms; the growth in per capita income has been modest over the past decade. In terms of constant prices, the per capita income which was Rs. 16,173 in (2000-01) rose to Rs. 24,295 by (2007-08) and to 26,618 in (2009-10). That is a rise of 64 percent over the decade. The per capita income would have been higher but for the global economic crisis which pulled down the country’s growth rate during 2008-09 to 6.8 percent from 9.3 percent in the previous year and 9.6 percent in the year before (Adam & Mark , 2010) (Nirupam & Jeffrey, 2011).(This can be seen in Table 1 below)

Table 1

s/n 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
1 Rate of growth of GDP 9.5 9.6 9.3 6.8 8.0 8.6
2 Rate of inflation % (average over previous year)
WPI 4.4 6.5 4.8 8.0 3.6 8.2
GDP deflator 4.2 6.4 5.8 6.7 7.5 9.6
CPI (IW) 4.4 6.7 6.2 9.1 12.4 10.0
3 Fiscal Deficit (% GDP)
Centre 3.97 3.32 2.55 6.04 6.39 5.1
State 2.33 1.82 1.49 2.40 3.00 2.62
Combined 6.30 5.14 4.04 8.44 9.39 7.72
-4 Current account deficit (% GDP) -1.2 -1.0 -1.3 -2.3 -2.8 -2.5*
5 Foreign Direct Investment inflows ($ Billion) 8.96 22.83 34.84 35.18 37.18 24.0
6 Foreign Portfolio Investment inflows ($ Billion) 12.49 7.00 27.27 -13.86 32.38 35.0*

Source: Economic Survey, various issues, Ministry of Finance, Government of India

Social Changes

There has been a rapid social change in India over the past decade. The social structures of India has transformed in over the last two decades. There has been an amendment in some areas like family, caste system, and marriage system.

The Indian family structure has changed due to the effects of modern social forces. There has been modifications in the way families relate and operate. The main structure of an Indian family is the joint structure whereby the family members live under the same roof in this type of family structure the eldest male is the head, he make the decision on behalf of the whole family. However, the properties and money belongs to everyone. In actual fact, the joint family system is losing significance and an urban family type is been practised thereby causing a causing a change to a nuclear family system (Mahesh, 2011).

According to (C.H Cooley) ‘When a class is somewhat hereditary, we may call it caste’. The caste system India has changed with the effects of modern education, industrialisation, social reforms, change in legislation, and the influence of modern communication systems. Hereditary social structure, fixed occupations and food restriction were prominent in India whereby you have to continue your family’s occupation and behaviour also there are different jobs for different caste types for example there is a certain caste to become a soldier. However, caste systems are losing their importance as modernisation and sanskritisation have changed the way people think and behave (Calicut, 2011).

There are four main types of marriage in India which are polygyny, polyandry, endogamy and monogamy. However, there has been a tremendous change in the marriage structure; monogamy is now the practised marriage system in India as a result of others been legally prohibited. Also the influence of parents in choosing their children’s partners has really reduced and children are now choosing their partners. In addition there has been alterations in the age of marriage and a man under 21 years is not allowed to marry while a woman under 18 years cannot marry (Mahesh, 2011).

International relations

The Indian economy has become more diverse and globally integrated, as the Indian economy benefited from the high working age population so as other countries benefited from this. The population in India has attracted a lot of investors due to the fact that labour is cheap and also political factors have also influenced the rate of foreign investors. Apart from this technological factors have also played a major role in the increase in investment as most electrical parts are exported from India however, India has become a resourceful location for electrical and technology companies

India is increasing its importance as a trading partner to countries, and there has been increase in the investment of GDP in India over the past decade. India is the world’s fifth largest oil refining country, it has a strong trading relationship with United Arab Emirate which is a major importer of processed petroleum products also India is a significant importer of precious stones which are mostly processed and exported to other countries. In addition, India is a good exporter of iron ore although iron ore has a low share of its total export due to the high export duty fees applied to promote growth in the country’s steel sector (Adam & Mark , 2010). (As can be seen in Table 2)

Table 2

Exports Imports
Processed petroleum products 23.2 Petroleum oil (crude) 64.9
Pearls and precious or
semi-precious stones 17.0 Non-monetary gold 23.4
Gold, silverware, Pearls and precious or
Jewellery 13.6 semi-precious stones 15.4
Telecommunications and
Iron ore 5.3 sound equipment 11.6
Total 176.8 Total 266.4

Source: UN Comtrade

In conclusion, during the past decade there has been a lot of changes In India. The Indian economy due to political changes has become very strong, there has been an increase in the GDP and India is now mentioned among the top four developing countries (BRIC).In addition, there has been a lot of social changes in India including factors like caste, marriage system, education and family structure; these factors have played a significant role in the changes recognised in India today. India is the second most populous country in the world with an estimate of 1.26 billion people (Statistics, 2014).As a result of this, the Indian economy will continue to grow as over 65% of the population is below 35 years old. India’s relationship with other countries has also been strengthened following necessary reforms and India now trades with a lot of countries also the rate of foreign investors has increased.

Finally it can be said that if developing countries like India, China, Brazil, Nigeria, Russia etc. continue to grow at this rate they would challenge the sovereignty of developed countries like the USA, UK, France, Germany etc.


Adam, C. & Mark , B., 2010. Economic Change in India. Bulletin, September, pp. 19-24.

Calicut, U. o., 2011. India society and Social change. [Online] Available at: http://www.universityofcalicut.info/SDE/BA_sociology_indian_society.pdf [Accessed 10 June 2014].

Mahesh, C., 2011. India Society and Social Change. In: H. Mohamad, ed. India Society and Social Change. Khozikode: Computer Section, SDE, pp. 15-38.

Nirupam, B. & Jeffrey, S. D., 2011. INDIA’S DECADE OF DEVELOPMENT. [Online] Available at: http://globalcenters.columbia.edu/mumbai/files/mumbai/content/CGC_WP4_Indias_Decade_of_Development_II.pdf [Accessed 19 June 2014].

Statistics, W. P., 2014. World Population statistics. [Online] Available at: http://www.worldpopulationstatistics.com/population-of-india-2014/ [Accessed 19 June 2014].



[i] Rs = India Rupee

Rs1 = £0.0097

(BRIC) = Brazil Russia India China

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