Wednesday, December 07, 2011

India at a Crossroads

As India faces significant changes within and gains rising influence on the global stage, the nation stands at a crossroads. India’s population is undergoing systemic and cultural changes, and this has created different attitudes within the citizenry. India’s upper class is seeking to compete with China’s business class in the international market, the rising middle class is becoming fed up with governmental corruption, and the desperate millions aren’t seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. This presents a plethora of challenges for India’s government, as demands from their citizenry could result in a disillusionment with democracy. This, paired with the increased security risks due to further development, presents dilemmas for the country. The Indian government must create effective policies that will meet India’s changing needs and evolving population, since the distant future of India is heavily dependent on how the Indian government handles its current situations in the upcoming months/years. It must determine how it will develop its human capital, how they can sustain energy resources without increasing pressures on its impoverished citizens, and how they will compete with other nations that are also gaining more global influence.
One of the prime examples of how the Indian government must act wisely in a potentially defining time in India’s history is how it will choose to handle increased environmental challenges while not taking away the livelihood of millions of citizens. Gathering the endless amounts of garbage that line the streets of India serve as the only income for an innumerable amount of Indian citizens, but this waste will begin to be burned in order to earn credits under the Kyoto Protocol. This means that the waste workers, earning their familes under $5 a day, will soon find their jobs eradicated. This has resulted in waste workers organizing to protest the United Nations efforts to burn waste in order to produce gas menthane for increasing global energy needs, thus creating more dissention within the nation. This is especially tough for this section of the population because waste workers are the most marginalized, there is no system to train them for another vocation, no alternative ways to make an income, and no regulatory protection. So while environmental standards are striving to be met, Indian citizens are being further plunged into poverty, causing a conundrum for the government to deal with. India, again at a crossroad, is caught between satisfying the growing energy needs of the increasing Indian middle class, and losing the livelihoods of India’s 1.7 million waste workers.
The upcoming months and years will undoubtedly prove to be pivotal for the Indian nation. Escalating tensions between India and China, potential increased economic ties with Pakistan, and countless other unique circumstances will continue to emphasize the point that India is at a crossroads in its history. How the Indian government, and its people, handle these dilemmas and what choices the Indian government makes concerning social, fiscal, environmental, and diplomatic policies will determine how India emerges in the future.

No comments: