Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Indian citizens optimistic about economy, not employment, in next four years: Report

A survey by LocalCircles finds that while citizens expect India's global influence to increase and the economy to prosper, job creation, bribery and social stability remain concerns

Samidha Jain
Published: Aug 22, 2023 01:04:17 PM IST
Updated: Aug 22, 2023 01:49:23 PM IST

Indian citizens optimistic about economy, not employment, in next four years: Report77 percent of Indian citizens are optimistic of India’s clout in the world improving in the next four years, Image: Shutterstock

On August 15, 2027, India will celebrate 80 years of independence. By then, it is expected to overtake China as the most populous country in the world. Not just that, many global economists believe that a number of factors will help India emerge as the third-biggest economy in the world, from its fifth position currently.

LocalCircles, a social media platform and pollster focusing on governance, public, and consumer interest issues conducted a survey to gauge citizens’ expectations for the country when it reaches 80 years of being a free nation. The survey, which received over 80,000 responses from citizens located in 376 districts of the country, highlights that 77 percent of Indian citizens are optimistic of India’s clout in the world improving in the next four years. While 14 percent of citizens believe it will remain the same, 4 percent are of the opinion that it will deteriorate. The survey highlights that 55 percent of citizens have expressed optimism that there will be growth and prosperity for most people by 2027.

As per a forecast by Morgan Stanley, an American financial services company, a shift in policy approach towards boosting investment, demographics advantages and the public digital infrastructure will make India the world's third-largest economy by 2027. The report further mentions a recent statement by HSBC India’s chief economist Pranjal Bhandari about the potential of the Indian economy to grow at 6.5 percent for the next 10 years. She mentioned that if digitisation of sectors like agriculture and MSMEs takes place, the growth rate can go up to 7.5 percent, consequently helping the Indian economy to become the third-largest economy by 2027.

The ‘Survival of the Richest: The India Supplement’ report, published earlier this year by Oxfam India, highlights the widening wealth disparity in 2022. The report reveals that a mere 5 percent of Indians now own over 60 percent of the nation's wealth, while the least affluent 50 percent of the population possesses a mere 3 percent of the total wealth. Despite optimistic predictions of India's GDP growth rebounding to 7 percent in the coming years, there is no guarantee that these improvements will be inclusive, especially considering the challenges posed by high inflation and an inadequate healthcare system.

On entrepreneurship

As per the LocalCircles report, a major challenge that the country is facing is employment generation. Although various institutions and the Indian government is promoting entrepreneurship and self-employment, there still remain a number of challenges to overcome, both domestically as well as globally. The survey asked citizens about the creation of job opportunities for people, and only one in three (33 percent) expressed optimism of India being able to create enough jobs or entrepreneurship opportunities in the next four years.

Also read: Why India will replace China as the world's growth engine this decade

On the fight against gender bias

On a global scale and within India, people have been directly or indirectly affected by a range of unforeseen circumstances, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, during which a larger number of women as compared to men found themselves jobless. Post the pandemic, numerous companies are taking steps to increase female employment, including facilitating remote work options, but significant gender bias against women still persists. This gender disparity is evident at a national level, where male literacy rates are recorded at 84.7 percent , in stark contrast to female literacy rates of 70.3 percent. Additionally, acts of violence against women and children, whether within households, workplaces, or schools (for both girls and boys), as well as incidents outside these spaces, continue to occur with alarming frequency, often going unreported. This imbalance is also evident in the underrepresentation of women in Parliament. The survey further inquired the citizens about their vision of India's ability to ensure a secure environment for its women and children over the next four years, and while 52 percent feel that the situation will improve going forward, 27 percent believe that it will remain the same as of today.

On corruption and bribery

India's ongoing struggle against corruption, whether it's achieved through measures like demonetisation, transitioning to digital transactions, or implementing contactless government services, seems to have not yet produced the intended results in terms of curbing corruption, as indicated by several studies. Despite the widespread conversion of black money into new currency notes following the 2016 demonetisation, instances of bribery and corruption persist in daily life. On asking whether the corruption and bribery situation in the country will improve for the better in the next four years, the report highlights the views of citizens being rather pessimistic. Only 37 percent feel that the situation will improve, while 38 percent don’t foresee things improving, instead expect the situation to be the “same as it is right now” and 22 percent citizens expect the situation to deteriorate.

On social stability

Caste, religion, and communal tensions have always remained a big concern for India. Over the past few months alone, significant communal clashes between two communities in Manipur, accompanied by instances of violence against women, have been deeply saddening for our society. Recently in Gurugram too, clashes between the Hindu and Muslim communities occurred causing a lot of havoc. In light of this, the survey aimed to gauge the citizens' perspective on social stability and as per the responses, 45 percent foresee the social stability improving in the next four years; 31 percent of citizens surveyed expect it to remain the same as it is today; and 24 percent expect the situation to deteriorate.

Also read: Budget 2023: Higher spending on job creation

What will be India’s biggest challenge in the next four years?

India is engaged in a dual effort. On one side, it's actively pursuing strategies to achieve elevated economic growth, with a focus on advancing infrastructure projects, enhancing agricultural productivity to augment both yields and farmer incomes, fostering a reputation as a manufacturing hub, and decreasing its reliance on imports while concurrently bolstering its participation in global trade. The successful realisation of these developmental initiatives is crucial not just for the well-being of domestic consumers, but also for positioning India as a significant global actor. However, the nation's dependence on imports for its fossil fuel requirements remains. Any escalation in the prices of crude oil and gas, as exemplified by the post-Russia and Ukraine war scenario, reverberates through the economy and directly affects citizens. To understand citizens’ views on the challenges being faced by the country, the report asked the citizens to list the top challenges that India will face in the next four years. The responses were:

  • 40 percent: Creating enough employment and livelihood opportunities
  • 18 percent: Driving economic growth
  • 14 percent: Maintaining communal harmony
  • 8 percent: Keeping inflation and price rise in check
  • 7 percent: Managing geopolitical issues
  • 4 percent: Containing terrorism
  • 3 percent: Handling of Covid and its effects on the population