A day or two ago, I was skimming through a report about how India jumped up 30 notches into the top 100 rankings on the World Bank’s ‘ease of doing business’ index.

-Dr Bhavya Soni

Browsing through the related links, I found another report which elaborated on how India’s GDP rose to 6.3% in this quarter, from a three-year low of 5.7% in the previous one. And although I do not deny that these are some significant achievements for the country, I surely do believe that these are those mere statistics which hide a lot of disparities.

It is a very strange conclusion that we draw after analysing people’s psychology today. Today, an individual’s obsessions with quantitative statistics have grown tremendously and have become nationwide. Our elated country is celebrating these econometric data, thinking that these are the indexes indicating a country’s absolute growth and development. And while one must be aware of how a country is doing economically and financially, it is also extremely pivotal to keep a check on qualitative measures as well.

World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2017 highlights that India has slipped 21 places, 10 notches lower than its reading in 2006, standing on 108th position in the world. This gap in India has widened explicitly since 2006. Another report stamps that it is by the end of the next seven years that India will be the most populous country on the planet, surpassing China. Also, as per an International Labour Organisation’s study, it is estimated that number of jobless people in the country will rise to a massive total of 18 million by 2018. Becoming the largest possessor of young blood will do no good if we remain insufficient in providing them basic education and employment. Roads and electricity still seem a privilege to a large number of people. Targeting quantitative goals have only made the secondary sector forget that the production concept of economics has already become obsolete. The market today runs on value addition, not by the amount of units we produce.

And yet, we are all numbers. A concerning issue is that people these days are so engrossed in the continuous quantification of factors which are extremely social in nature. These facts nowhere coincide with all the progress and advancements we have witnessed since our independence. They have their own limitations that they cannot overpower. Their area of study, methodology or the research base have some or the other kind of loopholes that they cannot get rid of. Moreover, laying unnecessary attention on these data by government as well as media houses ultimately forces the people to give immense importance to them.

And my thought shouldn’t be misinterpreted here: I do not ask to abandon these indices. But all I wish to convey is that these indicators are not synonymous to our collective growth. These are just mere measurements which do not take all of the aspects into consideration. Thus considering them equivalent to overall growth levels makes it lose its spirit and their statistical importance. (Inputs by Isha Sharma)

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