India’s Journey to a Developed Economy by 2047-48: Challenges & Strategies

India’s journey to a developed economy by 2047-48 is a visionary endeavor that has garnered significant attention in recent years. As the nation approaches the 100th anniversary of its independence, the prospect of achieving this milestone is both an aspiration and a challenge. In this comprehensive exploration, we will delve into India’s path, the hurdles it faces, the opportunities it can seize, and the strategies it must adopt to reach its goal

Historical Examples of Developed Economies

Before we analyze India’s prospects, it’s instructive to look at historical examples of countries that successfully made the transition from developing to developed economies. One common thread among these nations is the pursuit of appropriate public policies that facilitated economic growth.

1. Japan: Japan’s post-war economic miracle is well-known. From 1954 to 1973, Japan achieved impressive growth rates, often exceeding 9%. This success was driven by significant growth in labor and capital inputs, as well as total factor productivity (TFP) growth.

2. South Korea: South Korea’s economic transformation from 1966 to 1990 saw a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 17.9%. This period of rapid growth was fueled by investments, industrialization, and export-oriented policies.

3. China: China, though not yet classified as a high-income country, witnessed substantial growth, with a CAGR of 10.9% from 1983 to 2007. China’s economic ascent was characterized by a focus on exports, attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), and investing in infrastructure.

Challenges in the 21st Century

While the 20th century saw many economies achieve rapid growth, the 21st century presents a different set of challenges that could hinder such rapid progress.

1. Global Headwinds: The phenomenon of deglobalization has gained momentum in recent years, limiting the contribution of the external sector to GDP growth. This is a departure from the past when international trade played a significant role in economic expansion.

2. Geo-Political Conflicts: Conflicts and tensions between nations can disrupt the free flow of factors of production, hampering economic growth. These geopolitical issues can limit foreign savings from supplementing domestic savings.

3. Financial Instability: Financial crises, often beyond the control of individual countries, have become more frequent, posing a risk to sustained economic growth.

4. Environmental Challenges: Climate-related environmental problems are becoming increasingly intricate and must be addressed proactively for sustainable development.

India’s Potential Growth

Before we evaluate India’s prospects for becoming a developed economy, it’s essential to understand its potential for economic growth. India’s potential growth rate is estimated to be around 7%, though this may have been impacted by the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic since 2019-20.

During the period from 2003-04 to 2007-08, India achieved a remarkable compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7%. This growth was driven by a significant contribution from the external sector, thanks to global tailwinds. Domestically, high investment, averaging 35.6% of GDP, played a pivotal role during this period.

However, raising gross capital formation to historic highs of about 39.5% of GDP in the current environment may be challenging, as people now tend to prioritize consumption over savings. In a worst-case scenario, India may experience GDP growth in the medium term of 6-6.5%. In the best-case scenario, a CAGR of 7-7.5% is projected for the next three decades. Assuming an average inflation rate of 4%, nominal GDP growth is expected to vary between 10% and 11.5%.

India’s Economic Projections

Assuming a variety of economic factors, India’s economic projections can be outlined as follows:

Per Capita Income Path

Becoming a developed economy not only requires high GDP growth but also substantial increases in per capita income. According to the World Bank, a country is considered high-income if its per capita income is $13,205 or more in 2022-23.

India’s per capita GDP was below $2,500 in FY23, which may reach $10,000 by FY43 and $14,600 in FY48 in the best-case scenario. However, the current trend suggests that India may struggle to achieve the required per capita income for a developed country by FY48.

If India’s real GDP grows by 8.5% annually (with nominal GDP growing by 12.5%), and the rupee depreciates by 2.5% instead of 3% annually, India’s per capita GDP could be around $20,600 in FY48.

Addressing Challenges for India’s Development

To achieve the ambitious goal of becoming a developed economy, India must overcome several formidable challenges:

1. Energy Transition: Shifting to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources is crucial for long-term economic growth while mitigating environmental risks.

2. Inequality Reduction: To sustain high mass consumption, India must address income and wealth inequality through targeted policies.

3. Industrialization and Formalization: India needs to industrialize and formalize its economy to absorb a growing workforce and create stable jobs.

4. Technology Adoption: Embracing technology and innovation is vital for productivity improvements and staying competitive on the global stage.

5. Quality Education: Investing in education is key to nurturing a skilled workforce that can meet the demands of a modern economy.

6. Public Health: A robust healthcare system is essential for the well-being and productivity of the population.


India’s journey from a developing to a developed economy by 2047-48 is a formidable undertaking. While it faces significant challenges, the nation also possesses immense potential and opportunities for growth. Overcoming these challenges will require visionary leadership, strategic planning, and a commitment to addressing the pressing issues of our time. As India embarks on this transformative path, the world watches with anticipation, hoping to witness the emergence of a truly developed India by the time it celebrates its 100th year of independence.

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