Inequality in India – UPSC GS1

Facts:
  •  In India, the richest 1% have claim to 60% of the country’s wealth, and the bottom 50% to 2%.
  • 57 billionaires in India own as much as the bottom 70% of the population.
  • World Inequality Report 2018
    • There is continuous growth in inequality in India since the mid-1980s
    • Top 1% of income earners received 6% of the total income in the early 1980s, close to 15% of it in 2000, and receives 22% today. (Make a Graph of this in exam)
    • Since 1980, while the Chinese economy has grown 800% and India’s a far lower 200%, inequality in China today is considerably lower than in India.
    • The share of the top 1% of the Chinese population is 14% as opposed to the 22% reported for India
    • The share of the Indian population with secondary schooling is less than 15%.
    • China had by the early 1970s achieved the level of schooling India did only by the early 21st century.
Analysis:
  • Gap between the rich and poor shows no sign of narrowing. The situation demands impatience with business-as-usual development policies.
  • Perhaps the time has come to move the development discourse beyond the current discussion of outcomes and opportunities. A conceptual framework is provided by Amartya Sen and others who see human capabilities as the capacity and freedom to choose and to act; and calls for opportunities that give individuals the freedom to pursue a life of their own choosing to be equalised.
  • Rising inequality is seen as a contributing cause for the rise of authoritarian leaders, often with a divisive agenda fuelled by sectarianism, xenophobia and nationalism.