“The strategy of inclusive growth pursued by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has helped mitigate the widening social and economic disparities brought about by rapid economic growth.”
– Dr. Manmohan Singh on ‘Inclusive growth’.
‘India shining’ has been the political slogan for India since the turn of the new millennium, and rapid economic growth over the last decade enunciated the saga of India rising. However, our “tryst with destiny” has been a mysterious journey of a struggle with poverty and illiteracy. Every day as millions of English-speaking educated youths chase their ‘big Indian dreams’, millions more continue their fight for survival. The ruling parties boast of our 7-8% economic growth, continuing their empty promises of including the common people into the process of development. The average man is left mystified trying to figure out the future of India’s fluctuating growth story.
With a billion people forming the ‘I’ in the powerful BRICS group of nations, India is undoubtedly a potential superpower. Even so, the concern is India’s contradictory scenario in the social sector, despite high economic growth. Development indicators of the poverty level, literacy rate and human development expose a reality far from that which our politicians promise us.
• In India, the population percentage below the international poverty line of $1.25 is 29.8%.
• In 2011, world literacy rate was 84%, while we remained at far below 74.04%. Moreover, gender-related discrimination in education is an alarming threat to our social balance.
• Despite having one of the oldest family programs among developing countries, India is performing relatively poor in controlling the population ‘explosion’ and enhancing women-child welfare compared to countries with a similar history of population growth. Nonetheless, including a population of 1.21 billion people in the process of sustainable development is indeed a challenge to policymakers.
• India’s public health spending is among the lowest in the world (1% of GDP allocation). The fact that there are, on average, four doctors per 1000 people and 44 deaths per 1000 live births expose the dismal performance of Indian public health care system.
• Overall, U.N.D.P.’s report of 2011 is a clear indicator of India’s failure on the social front. India ranks a low 134th in the list of 187 countries.
• At the other extreme, India is home to over 126,700 super rich (assets over $ 1 million), and 2.5% of the rural household owns the 30% of land in the ‘Socialist Republic of India’.
This clearly signifies the sustained high growth rate. However,...