Key Messages

India’s future depends on how we approach three ‘mutually-reinforcing’ aspects: (i) inclusion, (ii) governance and (iii) models for efficient use of natural resources: water, land, and energy.


This reports describes a scenario-building exercise undertaken by the Planning Commission with support from CSTEP. This work was part of the foundational material for the twelfth five-year plan. The exercise helped identify the major 'forces' that will impact the country's future.  

CSTEP provided a rigorous grounding to the scenario-development process, through a system-dynamics lens. Three scenarios were considered:
(i) a business-as-usual case
(ii) a case with development flowing from a strong Centre
(iii) a case with a more federated structure (focusing on local government and small enterprises)

The systems analysis was an iterative process, which included identifying the forces that shape the future, and the interactions among them. These forces comprised aspirations of citizens, demographics, democracy and its institutions, resource availability and uses, science and technology breakthroughs, innovations in business models, information-communication revolution, and global and regional security threat.

The systems mapping of these forces helped reveal leverage points in the system, and the approach towards these leverage points shapes the future trajectory. India's future trajectory depends on how we approach three 'mutually-reinforcing' aspects: 
(i) inclusion
(ii) governance
(iii) models for efficient use of natural resources: water, land, and energy


Scenarios: Shaping India's Future