The term ‘globalisation’ means integration of economies and societies through cross country flow of information, ideas, technologies, goods, services, capital, finance and the people. The essence of globalisation in a broad sense is connectivity in all aspects of human life. Although economic forces are an integral part of globalisation, it would be wrong to suggest that they alone produced it. It has been driven forward above all by the development of information and communication technologies that have intensified the scope and speed of interaction between the people all over the world.
India became independent as one of the poorest countries of the world. The British colonial rule had destroyed the self-sufficient agrarian economy. The then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru preferred mixed economy for planned economic development of the country. As a result of this, public sectors were set up along with a number of private enterprises, but like the socialistic model of economy, the mixed economy of India has not produced profitable results. A number of public sectors became sick and the growth rates of production began to fall. While the poverty of the people continued to grow at an alarming rate, there was an acute balance of payment crisis and due to low domestic savings, there was no adequate capital for investment. There was also the shortage of resources to provide educational and health facilities to a large growing population. Moreover, there was high rate of inflation and the balance of payment deficit was around $10 bn. In such a situation, PV Narsimha Rao government was compelled to introduce the policy of liberalisation, privatisation and Dr Manmohan Singh, the then Finance Minister played an instrumental role in the adoption of new economic policy (1991).
In the midst of all these developments, globalisation was adopted by Indian Government during 1990-91 when Indian economy was in a very bad shape. It was, however, adopted not as a solution to deteriorating Indian economy but to enable itself to get further foreign exchange loans from World Bank as its foreign exchange reserves were reduced to mere 3 weeks outflow. To rectify its ailing financial health, government simultaneously decided to amend its economic policies and go for privatisation and liberalisation of its economy. These decisions had immediate positive effect However, globalisation has proven to be double edged weapon. It did help government temporarily meet its emergent need of foreign exchange but it has, as a byproduct, caused some permanent damage to Indian economic system and Indian social structure.
For thousands of years, different countries have been doing trade with one another. But the process has got a tremendous boost in about last two decades due to high handed policies of International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organisation who have been working on the agenda of developed countries like USA. They practically forced under developed countries to adopt full throttle globalisation by opening up their local markets to world trade by reducing artificial barriers to such trade. Development of advanced means of communication and transport, internationalisation of financial market and unprecedented mobility of goods, capital, data and manpower have further given boost to the recent process of globalisation.
As the process of interconnecting the diverse world order, globalisation has touched almost all spheres of human life: social, economic, political, cultural, environmental etc. On the economic front, the trade with other countries has tremendously increased; inflow of men, money, material, labour, technology etc from foreign countries to India has also increased; it has given nations access to global markets, technology, financial resources, quality services and skilled human resources; increased the purchasing capacity of nations through the creation of sizable middle class; high quality and low cost products flooded Indian markets, thus increasing consumers choice. In the agricultural sector, new varieties of farm equipment, new agricultural practices, application of biotechnology like drought resistant, pest resistant crops etc are emerging due to globalisation. Apart from these positive aspects, there are some negative developments also which are attributed to globalisation process only. Due to the interdependence of Indian economy and world economy, it has become very difficult for the government of India to insulate its economy from the economy. Indian people now prefer global brands over Indian brands because they are cheap, more fashionable and easily available. Steep and fast reductions in custom duties have snatched large part of Indian market from Indian industry and passed it on to imports from established global players. For its survival in the face of global competition, Indian industry has transformed itself from labour intensive to capital intensive by adopting global technologies and automatic machinery, which has resulted in the high rate of unemployment in India.
Improved economic conditions, increased recognition of human rights, unprecedented mobility and interaction of people from different countries have dented local cultures of people the world over. India is not an exception in this case. Indian family system is shifting towards nuclear family system instead of the joint family system. These nuclear families are getting further divided due to strained relations of partner. Old and handicapped persons in the families are being forced to support themselves without any support from their children.
Globalisation has undermined the traditional role of women in homemaking, farming, handicrafts, handlooms etc., and resulted in a relatively better environment for women. Today, women are working in all spheres of Indian economy and are enjoying the fruits of “empowerment process” brought in by globalisation. At the same time, their security has become a major issue in this changing scenario and they are bearing the double burden of family as well as that of the job because the role of men in India have not changed much. People today, especially the young, developed an identity that gives them a sense of belonging to a worldwide culture, which includes an awareness of events, practices, styles and information that are a part of the global culture. There is the development of a bicultural identity or a hybrid identity, which means that part of one’s identity is rooted in the local culture while another part stems from an awareness of one’s relation to the global world.
We cannot say that the impact of globalisation has been totally positive or negative. It has been both. However, it becomes a point of concern when, an overwhelming impact of globalisation can be observed on the Indian culture. Every educated Indian seems to believe that nothing Indian is to be approved unless recognised and recommended by an appropriate authority in the West. This should be checked in order to preserve the rich cultural diversity of India and to ensure the fulfillment of the principle of self-sufficiency.