Premise - We were told in school that by the year 2020, India would become a developed nation aka Vision 2020.

According to the United Nations Statistics Division, 

"There is no established convention for the designation of "developed" and "developing" countries or areas in the United Nations system."

And it also notes that

The designations "developed" and "developing" are intended for statistical convenience and do not necessarily express a judgement about the stage reached by a particular country or area in the development process.


Wikipedia defines 'Developed Nation' as 'a sovereign state that has a highly developed economy and advanced technological infrastructure relative to other less industrialized nations.'

And on such a list India is categorized as a Newly industrialized country - which is the intermediate state between fully  developed and developing countries.

Coming back to the United Nations; the UN ranks countries on the Human Development Index (HDI). HDI is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and income indices used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. The four tiers being Very High, High, Medium and Low.

And on that HDI list for year 2013, India ranks 135th out of 187 nations.

India ranks 118 on a list of nations sorted based on Gross National Income per capita at purchasing power parity.

India is ranked 16th in the Global Hunger Index (meaning it is the 16th worst nation and suffers an alarming food and nutrition scarcity).

And adding to all those bad rankings is the one that states that India is ranked 111th in Global Happiness Index.

I know these rankings cannot be taken as a basis for the entirety of our nation, as India has a gaping divide between the urban and rural areas, but that too is part of our problem.

Anyway, leaving all these technical definitions and rankings alone, I personally feel that a developed nation is one that has proper education to everybody, is a relatively safe country, has little/no gender inequality, has a high per capita income, has no risk of major epidemics and has good amenities (drinking water, drainage, sewage etc).

I think India has a long way to go before becoming a developed nation. We as a nation are still struggling to come to terms with poverty, unemployment, inflation, epidemics, basic drainage and sewage, growing population, gender inequality, crime etc.

Growing economic inequality too adds to this list as the rich and the urban folk tend to be ignorant of the problems being suffered by the vast majority of the nations rural areas. And the rural areas suffer from illiteracy, caste based politics, religious and social dogma and also farmer suicides.

I don't intend this post to showcase India in a bad light nor do I mean that it is all downhill for our nation. All the statistics and numbers stated here are from the sources that I've mentioned below. I feel that we as a nation have a long road before calling ourselves developed.

And if we go about calling ourselves developed without solving a majority of the problems and by simply relying on terminology and rankings then it isn't going to make much of a difference for the majority of the 1.2 billion people that reside in our nation.

Anyways on a positive note, the good news is that India is getting better! Hunger is falling in India and the per capita income is rising. Our economy is classified as an emerging economy and since the past few years there has been a steady shift in global economic power, away from the developed (G7) economies, towards emerging nations like India. 

Also the literacy rate in India is growing rapidly - it grew from 64% in 2001 to 74% in 2011. The youth literacy rate (15-24 age) is 81%. 

Now 2020 might not be a realistic possibility for calling ourselves a developed nation but there definitely is progress towards a better state of livelihood, better governance and we can see a surge towards rapid industrialization in the rural areas.

Sources
India ranks 111 in global happiness index
Developed country
List of countries by GNI (PPP) per capita
List of countries by Human Development Index
Literacy in India
Global Hunger Index
Poverty in India