The confidence is striking. No less than 61 per cent of our respondents are convinced that India will be as good as any developed country by 2020.
Fifteen years ago — or for that matter, at any time over the past two centuries — hardly anyone would have said so.
India was an international byword for poverty and economic sluggishness. The transformation is a resounding endorsement of the success of economic liberalisation.
Yet a good number of respondents are realistic enough to harbour doubts about whether poverty in the country will be significantly reduced by 2020. A good 45 per cent no doubt subscribe to the trickle down theory, believing that wealth creation will inevitably lead to wealth distribution as well. Even so, the fact that the "Nos" and “Can't Says” together outnumber the yea sayers — 55 per cent to 45 per cent — is sobering.
For all the growth India has made in recent years, only 49 per cent of respondents felt their individual lives were easier than those of their parents.
The universal tendency to look back with nostalgia, and believe no time is as bad as the present, may be partially at work here, but it is also a reminder of the old adage that money cannot buy happiness. India is getting richer, but a good 33 per cent believe there lives are more difficult than their parents’ were.
A host of factors other than economic seem to have weighed with respondents while deciding if their children's lives will be any easier than their own. The jury is almost evenly out — 47 per cent believe their children's lives will be tougher, while 44 per cent think their lives will be better.
The growing complexity of existence, the increasing competitiveness, the withering away of old established values, seem to influenced respondents while reaching their decision.