On the eve of independence in 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, spoke of a "tryst with destiny". This vast, diverse and impoverished country had set itself on the path of democracy and development. Seventy years later, India remains a democracy and has progressed with development. The record is not without blemishes. Yet Indians have reason to feel proud of what they have achieved. So what might lie ahead? The UN forecasts that India’s population might be 1.7-billion by 2050, against China’s 1.35-billion. This sounds unmanageable. But the population has already grown from 376-million in 1950 to 1.3-billion in 2015. Yet the country is far more prosperous than it was at independence. As the Indian finance ministry’s excellent Economic Survey notes, real gross domestic product per head has increased by some 4.5% a year over the past 37 years. Average real incomes per head have risen from 5% to 11% of US levels over this period. This is the second most important econ...

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