This paper sets out how India could realise a new model of development and growth over the next three decades: growth that is sustainable, resilient and inclusive. It argues that India can leapfrog the dirty, destructive and fragile phases of the older paths followed by current developed countries to build a stronger, more productive and healthier economy and infrastructure. This is the growth story of the 21st century and would have immense returns for India but also the whole world.

Charting and fostering this new path will involve a strong and purposive transition driven by investment and innovation. It will require deep structural reforms, including fundamental change in the key economic systems of energy, transport, cities, and land and the natural environment.

Investment and reforms on the scale argued for would present significant returns in terms of productivity, incomes, living standards and broader wellbeing, and would be pivotal to global action on climate change and biodiversity. Such action would fundamentally reduce the immense dangers from weak or delayed action on climate, to which India is particularly vulnerable.

The paper:

  • sets out the scale and nature of investment and innovation necessary, with a focus on India but emphasising the global context;
  • examines the policies and institutional changes in India that could draw through this investment and necessary systemic change;
  • reviews how both private and international public finance can be fostered and scaled up, and the role of international public finance in reducing, sharing and managing risk to unlock private finance on a large scale and at a cost low enough to enable the investment;
  • argues that realising this new approach to development could be at the heart of making this India’s century.

This paper was originally presented by the authors at the Kautilya Economic Conclave in Delhi in July 2022.

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