India 2025 will be the world’s most populous nation, with a population of just under 1.5 billion, a little ahead of China. Gandhiji’s famous statement that “India lives in her villages” will remain true with under 40% of the population in urban areas. Agriculture will remain the mainstay of employment with over 40% still dependent on it even as its share of economic activity continues to shrink.
Literacy will rise significantly to over 80%, but that will still leave about one in five adults illiterate. At least 2.6% of all children born will die within their first year, but life expectancy will cross 70 for both genders. The fertility rate — the number of children born to a woman — will fall just below two, making us a nation of “hum do, hamaare do” decades after the slogan was conceived.
Some of this sounds depressing, but on the economic front, rapid strides would have been made. Gross domestic product (GDP) will touch neary $8 trillion, almost four times the current level, and the addition to the GDP in the decade will be nearly thrice the amount added in the 68 years since Independence. With population growth slowing down, this will also mean per capita incomes rise about four-fold to $6,000.
India’s integration with the global economy will be even higher with trade in goods and services accounting for nearly two-thirds of GDP. The average Indian will consume over four times the power she does today.
Internet users will account for anywhere between 50% and 80% of the populace. The market for passenger cars will be around 7.2 million a year, currently the size of the US market. Over 320 million people will travel by air within the country each year, meaning nearly a million Indians will take to the skies each day.
Where does Bollywood go from here? Well, if we’ve got this right, the successors to the Khans and their ilk will be competing to release films that rake in more than Rs 1,000 crore.