The developmental sector in India has undergone a transformation in the last decade. The dependence on international funding has receded as India’s economy is improving and government spends in some of the social sector issues such as education, health, social justice and environment has risen. While many have questioned the appropriate use and impact of these investments by the government, there is scope for businesses, foundations and philanthropic organisations to play a key role in bringing innovative solutions and best practices to India, offering technical assistance, systems strengthening, highlighting neglected issues, advocating for policy change and ensuring governance.
India needs to maintain the momentum of socio-economic development that we are witnessing today so that the funds achieve the desired impact, benefits reach the desired communities, are replicable at scale, and are free from leakages. This budget
should ensure that there are enough funds under various ministries to ensure that existing policies are implemented effectively, archaic policies are modified and new policies are developed that reflect the needs and aspirations of the growing nation. A case in point are the National Education Policy (NEP)
and the National Health Policy
that have been unduly delayed.
Global economic and political changes affect the amount and sometimes dictate the focus of the development funds to developing nations. The Brexit announcement also promises a massive boost to the India-UK relations. New opportunities for the UK and India to cooperate more closely and develop stronger trading links will emerge as UK re-aligns its foreign policy and trade priorities in times to come. The world is united in working towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and all countries are doing their bit. In this context, the need for multi-stakeholder partnerships becomes critical and businesses are realising that investment in SGDs make economic sense as well.
Just one single goal of gender equity could contribute up to $ 28 trillion to global GDP by 2025, according to one estimate. A study released at the World Economic Forum
this year found that putting SDGs at the heart of the world’s economic strategy could unleash a steep-change in growth. For example, investment in sustainable infrastructure alonecould generate opportunities worth at least $ 12 trillion and up to 380 million new jobs by 2030.
This government has introduced various social sector programs and initiatives that have the potential to create impact at scale. The forthcoming budget should allocate funds towards increased engagement of variegated stakeholders throughnew partnership models such as social impact bonds and challenge funds that have gained traction in many capital markets as an effective instrument to funnel funds from international donor and corporate social responsibility.
The author, Ashwajit Singh, Managing Director, IPE Global.