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Majority of Indians support globalisation

In a survey conducted across eight cities for Hindustan Times by market research organisation C fore, almost two-thirds of Indians think the country has beaten the global slowdown.Cautious optimism | Leaders at the Summit | Vox pop

delhi Updated: Nov 15, 2010 11:21 IST

The divide is quite distinct but the gap is not really yawning. In a survey conducted across eight cities for Hindustan Times by market research organisation C fore, almost two-thirds of Indians think the country has beaten the global slowdown. But this is where the divide — a nuanced one — between young Indians (those under 30 years) and those who’ve been around longer (above 30) becomes clear.

About 68 per cent of under-30s agree that India has, indeed, beaten the slowdown, compared to 58 per cent of their older counterparts.

The divide is more marked across cities. Respondents in Bangalore (80%), Mumbai (70%), Delhi (67%) and Chennai (64%) agree that India has beaten the slowdown. It is no surprise that these are the cities that have benefited most from the globalisation and reforms process.

Kolkata (59%), Chandigarh (57%), Lucknow (54%) and Patna (51%) also agree that the slowdown is behind us now, but with a thumping smaller majority.

This trend, of youngsters being more upbeat about the economy, about globalisation and less enthusiastic about government intervention is evident across the spectrum of questions we asked.

Two-thirds of Indians (under 30: 62% and over 30: 71%) credited government policies and India Inc’s limited exposure to the global economy for overcoming the global slowdown.

Our survey shows that the feel good factor — of a galloping economy — is being tempered by concerns over corruption. Citizens consider this the single-biggest challenge facing the economy.

The young are more concerned about corruption than people above 30. About 39% of the former cited corruption as the biggest challenge compared to 31% of older people. About 42% of the latter group, in fact, identified investment in social infrastructure (health, education, social security, etc) as the biggest challenge for India’s economic growth.

Younger Indians also want India to be more integrated with the global economy and prefer greater privatisation of public services (ports, power, airports, etc) than Indians above 30.

And Kolkata, for long the cradle of the Left movement in the country, is the only city that goes against the national consensus on these counts. It is the only city where less than 50% of respondents support globalisation and only 34% want airports, ports and other infrastructure privatised.

Does all this mean that young India has less of a social conscience than their older peers? The response to the next survey question, many will say, can seal the answer.

Only a minority of Indians (36%) believe that democracy is holding up India’s economic progress. But a considerably larger minority (41%) of under-30 Indians agree with this proposition than people above 30 (30%).

But does that really seal the answer? Only a sociologist can answer that. Suffice is to say that there seems to be a broad consensus that the economic reforms process has benefited India and that the country is now firmly back on the growth path.

The differences, minor as they are, pertain only to the fine print.

Cautious optimism | Leaders at the Summit | Vox pop