Source: Divya Bhaskar (Gujarati), Apr 7, 2022

Last week, I discussed India’s abysmal ranking (below 120) in per capita GDP worldwide despite being among the top five economies by size. We must address this issue instead of celebrating our position among the top five global economies. Over the past decade, the total size of the economy has improved significantly. However, without improvement in the per capita GDP, it’s unlikely that everyone will experience the actual benefits that we deserve.

While celebrating the overall economic growth, quality is also required, not just quantity. We must also be aware of our role in increasing the per capita GDP, which ultimately stems from each one of us.

Let’s get everyone in the game; India needs you!

Imagine India’s economy as a cricket team aiming to win the World Cup. Everyone not only has to play but contribute and beat the performance of the opposite team for victory. The same goes for our economy. The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) tells us what percentage of working-age people are actively involved, either employed or looking for work. For India, that rate is expected to grow to >60%; however, there are opportunities.

Why is this crucial?

For India to become a true economic powerhouse, we need two things:

  1. More Players: We need to boost the LFPR, especially for women. Only 37% of women currently participate in the workforce compared to 78% of men. Imagine doubling female participation – with millions more being added to contribute to the economy!
  2. Stronger Players: Everyone, regardless of gender, must improve their skills and productivity. This will increase India’s overall economic output (GDP).

What can you do?

  • Support Women in Your Family: Encourage women to pursue education and careers. There’s a considerable gap – urban women’s participation is only 25% compared to 41% in rural areas. Let’s bridge that gap!
  • Invest in Skills Development and productivity: Find ways to improve your skills and knowledge. This will make you more valuable in the workforce and contribute to a more productive India.
  • Gujarat: A Case for Action: We have a specific opportunity to impact here in Gujarat significantly. (a) Urban women’s participation is a mere 17% – far below the national average. Imagine increasing this to match other states or even reaching the 60% participation rate seen in developed economies! This would be a game-changer for Gujarat’s economic growth. (b) For men, participation needs to cross 70% (from about 60 at present), and everyone needs to focus on improving their contribution to GDP. Gujarat’s per capita GDP needs to be in the top 3 in India, and eventually, it has to match the best in the world. We cannot achieve excellence without productive contributions from each of us.

Together, we can build a more robust economy where everyone has the opportunity to contribute! Every additional player and every improved skill brings us closer to the top of the global economic leaderboard. We need both quantity and, eventually, quality!