Is India still a developing, third world country?

Amitabh Bachchan in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

London, August 22: India should no longer be dismissed as a “Third World” country but should henceforth be given due respect as a “developed nation”, Amitabh Bachchan, said in London yesterday….

No doubt, economists will protest that India combines extremes of wealth and poverty, but Bachchan stated: “India today is a recognised force and I hope to see that India is no longer referred to as a Third World country or a developing nation – it should be referred to as a developed nation and a first (world country).”

Read the full article: ‘India a developed country’

Illustration: courtesy Bafta

Also read: Indians should never ask where on earth Gabon is

P. SAINATH: India is a nation of two planets: rich and poor

U.R. RAO: Rising India’s share of poorest is growing

Everybody loves a good number: 93, 77, 54, 33…

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34 Responses to “Is India still a developing, third world country?”

  1. Nationalist Says:

    Developed nation? I’m not really surprised. I was already told that we are a ‘super power’ (or by 2020!). I was also told we are the ‘brain’ of modern world/economy.

    So, can someone tell me how a third world country or a developing nation look like?

  2. Tarlemaga Says:

    Amitabh stays in Juhu Bungalow and he conduct worldwide “unforgettable tours”. Though I admire his acting skills, I find that his point of view is like any other typical elite boardroom boyz.

    Secured lived is for the elite classes in this country. They have the first hand advantage of portraying their view in the media and thereafter turning themselves into spindoctors.

    Elite minority have the advantage of sending their kids to Doon School,Bombay Scottish and so on. Now the Public schools in this country are a deprived lot and basic eduction is out of their reach. We have a evergrowing population which were basic needs are not satisfied Primary Health Care, Unemployment,Poverty and Education.

    To portray India as a developed country and calling it “incredible india” is a misnomer.

  3. mallapottell Says:

    Biggest joke of the century. In India 650 million people do not have proper toilet facilities and defecate in the open. One has to just visit Mumbai to see the state of affairs.

    In my opinion it will take at least a century from now to reach the stage of developed nations.

  4. Mysore Peshve Says:

    … bachchan’s sense of humor? priceless.

  5. Doosra Says:

    Well said, TM. That point about schooling becoming impossible to afford for the average Indian is spot on. This in a country which has turned out excellent professionals in all fields essentially due to its rigorous school system.

    Mr. Bachchan should stick to his core competence – acting. But then our esteemed media is happy to highlight anything he or his family does.

  6. Poli Hudga Says:

    Nothing but a cheap media sensationalism from telegraph (supported by churumuri) … read carefully …. he says below text in a different context ….

    “India today is a recognised force and I hope to see that India is no longer referred to as a Third World country or a developing nation – it should be referred to as a developed nation and a first (world country).”

    What he probably meant was that…. India should be treated with respect as much as a developed country, he is not claiming that India is developed.

    PS: I might also be very wrong as I am no mind reader.

  7. Abhi Says:

    That’s a good statement to make in a podium addressing London NRIs. NRIs want India to be portrayed as a developing nation just to keep their head high infront of white men. That’s it. That statement had a business strategy to promote his show, no more, no less.

  8. Mysore Peshva Says:

    “Third World” is a relatively insensitive phrase pregnant with hegemonistic arrogance.

    Many newspapers, including the NYT, have followed the United Nations in replacing that phrase with the more precise economic descriptive, “developing nations.”

  9. BB@B Says:

    India is developed country for the privileged one ..for the rest of countrymen its a same thirdworld country. Its a place where govt employees are official bribe agent and even for the death certificate they demand bribe…till the time corruption is there we can’t even think of being a developing country..we are third world country

  10. hari Says:

    If developed means a better quality of life and progressive, we are nowhere there. If developed means power in terms of numbers, size of economy, and things like that we may be moving in that direction.

  11. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Amitabh is senile.

    And a good businessman.

  12. Sandesh Says:

    And AG is God

  13. gaddeswarup Says:

    Interesting article by Lant Pritchett suggests that it is a ‘flailing state’:
    He spent 3 years in India and wrote a 2006 World Bank report.

  14. Pankaj Mohan Says:

    A large chunk of Bachchan’s blog entries go into denying, clarifying and fighting back at what media writes about him. At least one journo is picked by him each week for proper thrashing in the typical Bollywood style. Bachchan will soon devote an entire blog entry to deny this report as well.

  15. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Actually Sandesh,

    Amitabh is God.

    Doesnt really matter what he says.

  16. Anonymous Guy Says:

    And not that it matters – my all time favourite actor.

  17. Dr. Sree Reddy Says:

    People should know what they are talking before giving statements!.
    We still have a large chunk of population who can not afford to send their kids to school and provide decent meals. Just because some have made money due to economic liberalization, can we call India a developed country. We need to go a looooooong way to call ourselves a developed.

    Rich are becoming richer, poor are becoming poorer day by day. Prices are sky rocketing every day.

  18. anser azim Says:
    The answer lies here in some of these pictures. I am A great admirer of his films,acting but it seems he is out of his mind and I do not believe he said so.

  19. tortured citizen Says:

    To me, India is like a very large toilet. Like mentioned in a prior post, 650 million people dont have a place to defecate, so anywhere . It is a third world country , and the time it will take to improve the infrastructure to be even comparable to developed nations would take at least 50 years. In addition to that, the psueo westernization adopted by Indias youth today have made them lose touch with their own rich, old, and unique culture, whilst not even understanding the westernized lifesyle that they try to emulate so poorly. Regardless of the lives affluent elite or the people living in extreme poverty, everybody suffers. It is a third world nation – uneducated, corrupt, culturally deficit and overall revolting.

  20. tortured citizen Says:

    culturally deficit, uneducated, corrupt and stagnant. India is like a large toilet. The affluent and those in poverty are all affected by this. The infrastructure is so poor that it will take well over 70 years to be a developed nation.

  21. anser azim Says:

    tasveerain bolti hain. We see many NewOrleans every year around our country. No doubt we have many Billionaires and millionaires but thats not
    good enough!!!. If we can build our sanitation department around the country, proper sewage system and give more emphasis to civic education we might be able to inch towards modernity. this will require resources and
    a jihad against poverty for all citizens: hindu muslims, sikkhs alike…..

  22. larissa Says:

    To me, India is like a very large toilet. Like mentioned in a prior post, 650 million people dont have a place to defecate, so anywhere . It is a third world country , and the time it will take to improve the infrastructure to be even comparable to developed nations would take at least 50 years. In addition to that, the psueo westernization adopted by Indias youth today have made them lose touch with their own rich, old, and unique culture, whilst not even understanding the westernized lifesyle that they try to emulate so poorly. Regardless of the lives affluent elite or the people living in extreme poverty, everybody suffers. It is a third world nation – uneducated, corrupt, culturally deficit and overall revolting.

    Well said tortured citizen. This is what my husband says. He says that the sooner Indians realize that India is not shining, the sooner it will make progress. But I would give 30 years to seem some stark changes.

  23. Upset Citizen of India Says:


    Who said!!!India is a developed Nation.. If some said , either they must be close / distant / direct relatives to any of the popular Politicians who are really screwing up the entire nation since we got the freedom. India can only think about to become a developed nation only if all the poor uneducated,uncultured,uncivilised village people are changed to remove all the ‘UN’ given above. OOOO my god even after century, I dont think India will have a chance to become a developed country.

    All people should learn to Not to give much Importance to the Movies, Film stars, Cricket, Cheap Politics and to change themselves to respect others and +ve attitude, which are possible only by giving strong education and necessary infrastructure.

    Over all India currently in the Hands of ”” CHEAP POLITICIANS”’ and fumbling as no leader to give a UNBIASED help or education or facility to give all poor Indians.

    When you say Poor, even among them there are lots and lots of ego and jealous which inhibits them to come out of the uncivilized village…

    God needs to strongly teach a lesson to change them to have a great nation.

  24. Senthil Kumar Says:

    At present, India is developed nation for high class rich people, developing nation for upper middle class people and underdeveloped nation for poor people.

    Mr Amitabh, it is not cinema that our nation with 1.1 billion people will become developed within three hours. Please forget that India now ranked 132 out of 179 countries as per UN Human Development Index Report. In the time the celebrities, billionaires said like these statements, why they hesitate to come forward to start a foundation to help in the nation’s developmental activities like Mr Bill Gates started? Please look up your eyes all over the nation. Do you know Indians Black money of 1,891 billion US$ are in Swiss bank. i.e. 14 times more than India’s foreign debt.
    Why any one does not talking about that? Please think.

    Over population, Caste discrimination, religious conflicts are the main causes for our nation to be kept still underdeveloped. People, Politicians we are all need to change. As a basic, People should not waste things like food, water, milk etc, and should not encourage politicians to develop corruptions.

    Sensex, IT sectors (doing only services and maintanence), Space, Cinema will not move any nation to a developed path. Improving agriculture, education, building more schools rather than temples, connecting all villages by roads, people’s attitude of respecting other people which are below us, degree holding youths entering politics system are some of the basic ways to move a nation into a developed path.

    Still lot of ways are there, but i do not want to extent the essay.

    Sitting inside a room and telling anything is easy to all, but doing the right things at right time only difficult. Do that first.

    An Indian Tamil.

  25. ankeshsahu Says:

    india is a nation which have largest number of population of poor people. mr amitabh bachan does not able to understand this problem .if we compare the living standard of indian middle family to american middle family ,we found sharp distinguish.

  26. Krupa shankar Says:

    A country with a sound legal system will always be highly developed.In many developed countries some of the brightest mind become lawyers.Thus the system has quality people drafting laws that can be followed.Drafting rediculous laws that cannot be followed will not take us anywhere.If the judiciary is improved it would be a huge advancement.The other thing is educated politicians.I feel sick to the stomach to see uneducated rowdies become ministers.These people do not understand how important they are to the system.The MP and MLA in the country just want to be so ,so that they can say that as an added qulification.

    We are overpopulated.Incentive must be given to people who have less children.Lesser the number of people better the managemtn of the system and ultimately better life.If there are 1000 people .If we have lesser popuation then government can put in some serious social security policies thus helping out people.The reason we do not have innovation is because if we leave the job we will not have food.People are afriad to take risk.

    I feel sorry to think that at this rate even sri lanka will become like UK and we will still be the same!!!!

  27. Rakesh Says:

    Well,According to me India has to do a lot to rank itself amongst the devoloped nations.The prime and sole reason for this is lack of infrastructure and cleanliness as compared to the other top devoloped countries.

  28. Adhiraj Says:

    Yes india will never look as good as first world countries as there are so many people so they will always be poor people but india will have more money and power as a (country) than most or all europian countries by 2020 as europian countries are keep going down in economical power eventually india will have more money as a whole no wonder they joined forces to make EU as they can’t go one on there own in the future.
    What does it matter China will rule the economy any way like they do now (they have more dollers than america lol so they have not power agains china)

  29. Frahaan Says:

    India will always look dirty but the UK is begging india for more jobs so they must be better of as a country than uk we are in 4 trillion pound in diet our way of living will fall heavily when we finally have to pay this back so UK future is bad but india futur can only get better.

  30. Just a fellow citizen. Says:

    I strongly believe upon looking at India that it is still a slow developing 3rd world country. In the last recent yrs, economy did improve due to foreign investments mainly. The suburban infrastructure in India is terrible!! The Indian govt. should take a very strong stand to control corruption and prevent greedy crooks steal govt. funded money.
    Due to age old religious casteism, the low payed worker who does odd jobs has no sense of dignity in what he does. Very discouraging and hurtful to the well-being of the citizens. Besides the above, the people of India at least a whole percentage of them should be taught *CIVIC Sense* Education Education.. starting from parents to children and on & on.. and this will create a better educated population with a proper concern for the well being of the country both physically and spiritually.
    Close to half of the population do not have access to washrooms! Ridiculous!
    Garbage dumpsters are filthy and you smell them 1/2 km away! The city infrastructure, road planning, electrical and drainage design still needs an insane amount of work. In a developed nation, people don’t defecate on railway tracks. No disrespect to the people who do, but its the responsibility of the federal govt. to look into these matters with great concern.
    Having a few buildings offering cheap IT services for foreign companies doesn’t make the country 1st world! lol.
    The justice system of India needs some work, but generally its not that bad. But, I don’t trust even some of the high end govt. leaders! Most of them are all greedy, selfish and interested in feeding their own bellies! Shame on you!
    Like one of you said, it might take India 100 more years to be a fully ‘developed nation’ I am afraid to suspect that might turn out to be true.

  31. Lacus Crystalthorn Says:

    India could currently be a developing nation – I must put an emphasis on the world currently and the verb tense. However, to say that it is already a developed country – given the state of the country – but seem to be inappropriate. India, obviously, badly needs progress to be able to deserve the title of being a developed one. Government officials should pay more attention to the country’s population, health reform, percentage of illiteracy, cost of living and such. The country has a good way of preserving tradition throughout the ages, however, citizen must have forgotten the concept of change. Added to this, they must eliminate the caste system that causes division among its people – both division and discrimination. Also, the religion. I won’t elaborate on that matter.

  32. Amen Says:

    I am really impressed to see that people in my country are well aware of the situation!!

    Mr. Bachchan’s comments are from the lens of a wealthy and influential man however the horizon clearly appears to be restricted. None the less he is not alone in believing that India is the land of opportunities.

    India falls in a spectrum of shades and cannot be limited to a single segment, the wealthy and the deprived. Yes, we are moving to be a super power however in the run we are clearly hiding grave concerns (such as population, basic necessities for the poor) under the blanket which sooner or later is going to show up.

    If only, we could work on our short comings with honest efforts, can we begin to grow as a country!

    Else we will always be the land of colours – Riches and Poor’s

    God bless!

  33. sunny Says:

    Off course India should be counted as a 3rd world country because too much poverty and illiteracy government and other agency are completely corrupt and main problem is 80% Indian’s don’t pay tax’s to gov because they know that politician will get that money, all the government official are corrupt because they don’t have good income and facility’s, all the rich peoples are dominating and mostly of then know i should say all off them keep slaves and treat them like shit they don’t have proper benefit’s also hey i should say no human right’s it’s only for the rich peoples,too much communal fight’s muslim and hindu’s always fight each other india is a fucked up country for sure

  34. Rahul Says:

    Though India has indeed made remarkable economic progress, especially since 1991 when economic reforms were enacted, it is still a 3rd world country.

    I am confident, however, that in my lifetime, I may well see India become a 1st world country.

    By the way, when India does become a 1st world country, Amitabh Bachchan will not have to ask anybody to recognize India as a 1st world country.

    Countries that are 1st world now, don’t need or require other countries to recognize them as such. They just are.

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