India@2047: Leading the World in Sustainable Development

Navi Radjou
2 min readAug 6, 2023

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Leading to India’s 77th independence day on August 15, 2023, I will publish several posts on how India can become not only a developed economy by 2047, but also build an inclusive and sustainable society

You can read my first post here.

In this second post, I want to highlight a data point that went unnoticed by Western and even Indian media.

According to UN Global Compact India, 50% — yes, 50% !— of global progress to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will come from India

Which means:

(ONLY) IF INDIA IS SUSTAINABLE, THE WORLD WILL BE SUSTAINABLE

Achieving the SDGs by 2030 will require $3.9 TRILLION to be invested in developing countries each year !

But with an average annual investment of only $1.4 trillion, the investment gap is currently $2.5 trillion a year.

There is no way that developing countries like India can drum up that kind of investment.

Frugal innovation is the art of “doing better with less” mastered by Indians may therefore be the only — and best — option for countries like India to achieve the SDGs cost-effectively and on time.

Our book “Do Better with Less” published by Penguin Random House India shows how Indian companies and startups can leverage frugal innovation as a strategic lever to address the UN’s SDGs faster, better, cheaper.

By helping the globe, India can help itself, and by helping itself, India can help the rest of the world.

In his book The Ideal of Human Unity, the Indian yogi and philosopher Sri Aurobindo — who coincidentally was born on August 15 — wrote:

“Today the ideal of human unity is more or less vaguely making its way to the front of our consciousness.

The emergence of an ideal in human thought is always the sign of an intention in Nature, but not always of an intention to accomplish; sometimes it indicates only an attempt which is predestined to temporary failure.”

India must not squander the historic opportunity that nature has chosen to bestow upon it now: the young nation must use its ancient wisdom and its jugaad ingenuity to help the world transcend its differences and achieve unity.

It’s time for India to put its belief “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the whole world is one family) into action.

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Navi Radjou

Indian-French-American Scholar in Frugal Innovation + Wise Leadership. TED Speaker. Based in France. Visit: NaviRadjou.com