Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

Last weekend, the Indian capital of Delhi played host to a joint conference between the country’s Finance Department and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The purpose was to examine the current position of India in the world economy and identify ways in which its socioeconomic situation can be improved to keep up with its economic growth.

India is one of the world’s fastest growing large economies and has the youngest, most populous workforce. This sole fact would put India streets ahead of any other country in terms of competitiveness. However, India is still a developing nation and faces huge societal problems such as poor corporate governance, rising inequality and an inefficient health care system.

Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, made a speech outlining the foundation’s interest in India’s issues and the foundation’s pledge to help. “Our investments from the philanthropic point of view are focused on the needs in terms of poverty and inequality.” They realize that, although India may have a demographic advantage, economic opportunity must be created for everyone so that the true dynamism of the country can be captured and turned into prosperity for all.

India is 25 years into its structural reforms but statistics show that income inequality has actually worsened in this time. In defense of this, Prime Minister Modi said that “the reforms put in place in 1991 do not reflect the complex, global realities that we have today.”

As we are now globally interconnected, India is affected by volatile markets and capital flows, drops in commodities and geopolitical conflicts, but is it really as equipped as its more developed counterparts to deal with these issues?

At present, India is growing 3 times faster than its advanced neighbours. Nevertheless, this isn’t being translated into returns for the primary and manufacturing sectors because monetary and price policy are incompatible.

Thankfully, it seems that this is ringing home to the current Government. Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his address that “India will make a big shift in corporate tax rates to remain competitive.”

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi
Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
This will mean big concessions for service focused foreign companies, which will create jobs until the country is able to strengthen agriculture and factories.

This short term easing of monetary policy will at least mobilise the massive population eligible to work and allow them to internalise all of the opportunities that this global, interconnected market brings.

India is at an extremely decisive moment. It has all of the opportunity but also many obstacles. Initiatives such as that put forward by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are essential to begin to fill in the cracks of this fragmented social base.
Voices of change like Horyou are important to bring the country into the global conversation. However, most importantly, multilateral cooperation from those in power is needed so that every person has the best chance of being a productive member of their society and the potential of India as a global growth market, is truly harnessed.

Written by Dearbhla Gavin

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By Vincent Magnenat

While traveling through India, Vincent from Horyou’s Geneva team decided to devote part of his trip to positive action. With his fellows Krishnamoorthy, Jagan and Vijay from Auroville/Pondicherry, they decided to set up a volunteer expedition to the steep, isolated mountains of the southern Tamil Nadu in order to provide some school furniture to the Kavunji School. This modest institution teaches children from seven neighbouring villages. Most of the time, the students have to walk 5 to 10 kilometers to reach it. After a 14-hour drive, the team arrived at the school, where a daily yoga-like exercise took place.

The team screened two Horyou documentaries. English wasn’t easy to understand for some of them, so they were asked in Tamil what they thought about the films. Regarding the one about Green Bronx Machine, the answers were astounding; they really grasped what this organization was trying to do. One student replied, “It’s about urban farming in order to teach children from the cities to understand and respect the nature and themselves. We should do the same here!”

Then the teachers started a contest among the children. India’s schools have a strong sense of competition as a means to stimulate the students. Ten children were selected to draw how they see their home. Those who didn’t manage to win a prize were given a pen and a piece of caramel. Vincent said the smiles were wonderful and will occupy his mind for years to come. Moreover, in the following two days cruising around the local villages, a host committee was always there to say hello.

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Horyou soutient des initiatives innovantes qui s'inscrivent en résonance avec les Objectifs de Développement Durable des Nations Unies. Ainsi, nous sommes heureux de partager...