Synopsis: India lags behind many Human development indicators. India’s economic growth is not benefitting the poor. There is a need to create a new framework for measuring the inclusiveness of growth.
Why India’s Economic growth is not inclusive?
- One, Rising hunger: According to the Global Hunger Index 2020 India ranks 94th amongst 107 countries.
- Two, Indian citizens are amongst the least happy in the world. According to the World Happiness Report of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, India ranks 144th amongst 153 countries.
- Three, the Pandemic has increased the inequality gap further by pushing many poor people into poverty. According to a World Bank report, during the pandemic the very rich became even richer. Whereas the number of poor people in India (with incomes of $2 or less a day) is estimated to have increased by 75 million.
- Four, unsustainable economic growth. According to global assessments, India ranks 120 out of 122 countries in water quality, and 179 out of 180 in air quality.
Suggestions for more inclusive growth
- First, India needs a new strategy for growth, founded on new pillars. Because the older economic growth strategy of relying on Foreign capital has made “ease of living” difficult, while the “ease of doing business” improved. The new economic strategy should be based on the following two pillars,
- One, Economic growth must no longer be at the cost of the environment.
- Two, the benefits of Economic growth should be made equitable. Thus creating more incomes for its billion-plus citizens
- Second, there is a need for local solutions to measure the wellbeing of people, rather than relying on universal, standard progress measure frameworks.
- While GDP does not account for vital environmental and social conditions that contribute to human well-being.
- Many countries are developing universally acceptable frameworks.
- They are trying to incorporate the health of the environment, public services, equal access to opportunities, etc. to make it universal, more scientific, and objective.
- However, experiences have shown that this ‘scientific’ approach does enable objective rankings of countries. For example, World Happiness Report misses the point that happiness and well-being are always ‘subjective’.
- Standard global solutions will neither make their conditions better nor make them happier. So, local communities need to find their own solutions within their countries, and in their villages and towns to measure their well-being.
- Third, we need to start recognizing the role of societal conditions that are responsible for the difficulties of the poor. For example, Caste system, Patriarchy, indifferent attitude towards the disabled, transgender, etc.,
- This way of looking at things also equally contributes to the increasing Inequality.
- Four, move away from the centralised Governance model towards a decentralized form of governance. Because Governance of the many by a few politically and economically powerful persons may work for a few.
- Whereas, decentralized system of governance will allow communities to find their own solutions to complex problems.
India’s growth should be measured on its sustainability and the improvements made in the lives of hundreds of millions of its citizens. It should be based on the size of GDP, the numbers of billionaires, the numbers of Indian multinationals.
Source: The Hindu