The Indian economy has indeed forged ahead in terms of economic growth since the 1980s and it cannot be denied that India has emerged one of the world's fastest growing economies. Endowed with a rich heritage, a young population, enviable resources, India seems to have a bright future in the economic front. it must also be borne in mind that India also has the distinction of acquiring considerable economic growth within the framework of a democracy. this is not the case for other countries that have registered economic growth.
In spite of this optimism, India is not without doubt and problems. Development instead of reaching out to all has only augmented inequalities. For growth has not encompassed all sectors of the Indian economy uniformly. Growth has on the whole been service specific and sectors like the primary small scale and cottage industries have witnessed slow and erratic progress.
Economic growth especially after the early years of privatization of the economy, and later with globalization taking full control, the toll of the people of the country has been both positive and negative. Nearly all areas of life have been globalized, but all said and done, growth has not been inclusive in nature. Growth has not accommodated all peoples across cultures, caste, class, gender creed and color etc.There seems to be a growing disquiet and discontent among many groups.The growth in the economy has not been accompanied by the provisioning of good public services such as health care, education, power supply, water and infrastructure to all its citizens.
Instead of gaining rights and freedoms, the poor only find themselves more and more alienated and subjected to wider abuses and denial of basic rights. Both the access to and the ability to use the resources, if accessed are out rightly denied to them.Large number of individuals are trapped in poverty and face a life of debt, deprivation, disease and starvation.A great divide exists between the rich and the poor, the urban and the rural, men and women, the bourgeois and the proletariat, upper and lower castes, higher and lower classes. The urban sector as Michael Lipton puts it "possesses most of the articulations, organization, money and power" Resource allocations between the dogs and the underdogs have always prioritized the needs and aspirations of the former. Elites in the country aided largely by global business view globalization as an opportunity to exploit the poor more effectively.Is it not true that one of the so called the resources of the nation is the continuous existence and nurturing of the poor, the marginalized and the powerless to remain thus? there seems to be an urgent need for them to exist in this state so that the others can rise the corporate ladder by using them as the rugs. Has development not fostered and enlarged divisions in the economy? Should growth not be shared more equally? For, the question that stares us in the face is "growth for whom"? In this context what our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said comes to bear great relevance - " It is important that as a country we learn to walk on two legs, one embracing the process of high growth and the other on economic development to the marginalized."
It is important that we look at the ideology and paradigm of development and growth in the country, the impact of reforms, result of the ongoing economic growth and the losers and gainers in this scenario.
The task for economists and policy makers is indeed daunting.The need of the hour is the joint effort of focused , honest, and selfless individuals - A resource we truly lack in our country!
~~~Crystal David John