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Polygence Scholar2024
Ishaan Gaikwad's profile

Ishaan Gaikwad

Class of 2025Irvine, California


Hi! My name is Ishaan Gaikwad, a 10th grader from Irvine High School in Irvine, California. I'm looking to do a research project on the effect that economic policies in India, at both a state and national level, have had on the emergence of specific industries and economic prosperity in those areas. I've been interested in the humanities for years now, ever since getting hooked on maps in elementary school. I participated in the National Geographic GeoBee, reaching the state level, before switching to the IAC Geography Bee after it was canceled. This year, I was a National semifinalist in the Political Science Bee and earned third place in the Geography Bee. I have also been very involved in Model United Nations, having participated since middle school and this year being Director General, or Secretary, of my school's MUN club. I am also very interested in History and started a history-based Youtube channel during quarantine, and have helped researchers at UC San Diego in creating comprehensive models of Maya Sites from their individual scans. I also spend some of my time volunteering at the World Affairs Council of Orange County, an organization that aims to educate the public about international relations through various events. Overall, I am very interested in the humanities and am always seeking to learn more about the world.


  • "What has been the economic effect of South India’s adoption of the ‘Kerala Model’ in the past three decades as opposed to economic liberalization in the remainder of India?" with mentor Urbashee (Working project)

Project Portfolio

What has been the economic effect of South India’s adoption of the ‘Kerala Model’ in the past three decades as opposed to economic liberalization in the remainder of India?

Started June 1, 2023

Abstract or project description

This paper analyzes the results of various state-level policies intended at fostering economic growth in various Indian states, namely Maharashtra, Haryana, and Kerala, as well as the effects of broader, national policy changes. The states differ in their approach to economic growth, with Kerala focusing on growth in the Tertiary sector contrasting with a more industry-centered approach for growth in the Northern Indian states of Maharashtra and Haryana. Simultaneously, the Indian government has both played a hand in spurring growth in each state, while also allowing states to make key policy decisions for themselves. The central government of India has transitioned from a socialist-oriented to a free market economy over the past 3 decades, first by removing roadblocks to foreign investment and entrepreneurship within the country, and later by dissolving the planning commission that regulated the government’s budget. The results of these policies in creating GDP growth have largely been successful. While the recent, rapid growth of India’s economy has been lauded as a counterbalance to China’s growth, achieved through communism, there are key issues in undertaking these strategies for rapid economic development. Many have raised concerns about environmental sustainability, treatment of farmers in industrializing areas, and an accelerating brain drain of educated professionals from the country. These various policies have past successes and future growth potential, and have a significant impact on economic indicators, including GDP and GDP per capita. As industrialization becomes a key step on most developing countries’ path to prosperity, there are numerous policies within this umbrella that have had varying levels of efficiency and efficacy in achieving economic growth.