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Measures taken by India since independence to ensure inclusive growth in the economy

Measures taken by India

Components of Inclusive Growth – 11th Five year Plan

    • Access to essential services
    • Employment Generation
    • Women empowerment
    • Good governance
    • Skill building
    • Equality of opportunity
    • Poverty Reduction

    Inclusive Growth and 12th Five Year Plans

      • The plan document begins with anticipating three economic scenarios at the end of the 12th plan. These three scenarios are “Strong inclusive growth”, “Insufficient action” and “Policy Logjam”.
      • The first one viz. Strong inclusive growth is the most optimistic one but needs effective implementation and a robust government.

      Plan document discusses the following aspects of inclusiveness:

      Poverty Reduction: So that adequate flow of benefits to the poverty-stricken and the most marginalised.

      Inclusiveness as Group Equality: The poverty-stricken are certainly one target group, but inclusiveness must also embrace the concern of other groups such as the Scheduled Castes (SCs), STs, Other Backward Classes (OBCs), women, the disable and other marginalised groups.

      Inclusiveness as Regional Balance: This aspect of inclusiveness relates to whether all States, and indeed all regions, are seen to benefit from the growth process. Improvement in infrastructure must therefore be an important component of any regionally inclusive development strategy.

      Reducing Inequality: There is a need to keep inequality into tolerable limits.

      Inclusiveness as Empowerment: The Plan document says that inclusiveness is not just about ensuring a broad-based flow of benefits or economic opportunities; it is also about empowerment and participation.

      Employment Programmes: The document stresses on the quality of assets created, which will determine whether MGNREGA can go beyond the safety net to become a springboard for entrepreneurship, even at the lowest income levels.

      NITI Aayog’s Strategy for inclusive growth

      New India @75 vision has the following objectives for the inclusive growth:

        • Let’s make our economy grow rapidly, aiming for a solid 9-10% by 2022-23. This growth should be clean, sustained, and formalized, ensuring that everyone benefits.
        • Embrace technology to boost development by 2022-23. Let’s make sure it’s inclusive, sustainable, and involves everyone in the process.
        • Improve life in cities for everyone, especially the urban poor and slum dwellers. We want them to easily access city services, including those who have recently moved in.
        • Schools should be welcoming to everyone. We’re breaking down barriers like accessible toilets, simplifying admission processes, and designing curriculums that cater to everyone’s needs.
        • Higher education is for everyone. Let’s make it more inclusive for the most vulnerable groups, ensuring everyone has the chance to learn and grow.
        • Quality healthcare close to home for everyone. We’re working on a package of diagnostic, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative care services that are accessible to all.
        • Citizens are at the heart of our policies. We’re building a framework that includes everyone, making sure their voices are heard and needs are addressed.

        Policy Approaches for Inclusive Growth

        When it comes to making policies, the government seems to be missing a good plan for Inclusive Growth. However, they’ve been trying out different ways to make it happen. According to the World Bank’s review of India’s Development Policy, there’s a bit of a problem in putting the Inclusive Growth plan into action. It’s like a puzzle of making basic public services better and keeping the country growing fast while making sure everyone gets a piece of that growth.

        To make Inclusive Growth work, we need a strategy that brings together the government, businesses, community groups, and regular people. Since India got its independence, the government has tried out different ways to make this happen. Let’s talk about a few of them.

        Growth Oriented Policy

        India’s economic journey kicked off with a growth-oriented strategy, setting the stage for the first plan (1951-56) aimed at achieving rapid and balanced growth. The second plan (1956-61) continued the push for quick industrialization. Fast forward to the more recent twelfth five-year plan (2007-12), and a new blend emerged, combining economic growth with inclusivity for Faster, Sustainable, and More Inclusive Growth. Arvind Virmani, former Chief Economic Advisor to the government of India, breaks down the policy approaches into three phases:

        • Phase 1 (1950-1 to 1979-80): Sub-phases: 1950-65 and 1966-79.The early years marked a foundational period, paving the way for subsequent developments.
        • Phase 2 (1980-81 to 1993-94): Witnessed a change in policy regime, initiating reforms and structural adjustments. A significant shift that laid the groundwork for a transformed economic policy.
        • Phase 3 (1994-5 onwards): Marked by statistically significant growth beginning in 1994-5. Reflects a rising growth trend attributed to radical reforms in the 1990s.While the rate of economic growth has consistently increased, especially in Phase 3, there’s a catch.

        The emphasis on inclusive growth, particularly in generating jobs for low and semi-skilled workers, fell short. The benefits of growth aren’t uniformly distributed, leaving many parts of the country grappling with persistent poverty and disadvantage. The goal of broad-based prosperity remains a work in progress.

        Direct intervention
        • The government plays a crucial role in fostering inclusive growth through various means. This includes creating laws, regulations, and facilitating access to credit, ensuring livelihood security for all.
        • The way the administrative machinery operates has shifted from being a strict regulator to a helpful facilitator. The government is now actively involved in providing necessary social investments, establishing independent regulatory institutions, and crafting policies that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.
        • Direct government intervention for inclusive growth involves making essential resources available. This includes investing in social programs, establishing reliable regulatory mechanisms, and developing policies that incentivize and promote entrepreneurial innovation.
        • The government takes direct steps to alleviate poverty and promote inclusive growth through safety nets and anti-poverty measures. These initiatives aim to provide a financial safety cushion for those in need, ensuring a more inclusive and secure society.
        Capacity Building
        • Skill development is basically capacity development. However, capacity development is not only limited to skill building or entrepreneurial innovation.
        • Capacity development through training of rural development functionaries is also a mean of capacity building. Now, creating job and market demand is not the only criteria of capacity development.
        • Increasing efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and transparency are also considered the areas under capacity building initiatives of the govt.
        • For example, if the objective of Department of Rural Development is enhancing the livelihood security of households in rural areas though MNREGA then capacity building for enhancing effectiveness of Gram Sabha is one of the modalities to achieve the objective.

        Welfare Schemes
        • Governments support people by providing food subsidies and making essential items available to the public. This ensures that everyone has access to basic necessities.
        • Various welfare schemes are designed for specific groups like women, children, and those below the poverty line. These programs are tailor-made to address the unique needs of each group.
        • Microfinance initiatives are in place to provide financial assistance, especially to those who need it the most. This helps people take control of their finances and improve their lives.
        • Nutrition programs are implemented to ensure that everyone, especially children and women, gets the right kind of food for proper growth and development.
        • The goal of welfare schemes is to efficiently use resources to benefit the maximum number of people. This ensures that everyone has access to essential services and support.
        • Special attention is given to children and women through schemes like the Integrated Child Development Scheme. This flagship program in India focuses on the nutrition and overall development of children.
        Public Participation
        • Public involvement is crucial for achieving Inclusive Growth, but it requires active participation from the common man. The government is making efforts to engage the public in various ways, and it’s important for citizens to respond positively.
        • Supporting Self-Help Groups (SHGs) is a great example of public participation in promoting Inclusive Growth. While the government provides a platform, the responsibility to make it work lies with the common people.
        • Successful instances of SHG promotion are seen in South Indian states like Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. For instance, Kerala’s Kudumbasree program, backed by the government, has empowered women and reduced poverty. Andhra Pradesh’s ‘Indira Kranti Pathakam’ is making progress in social mobilization, gender empowerment, and rural poverty reduction.
        • Policy interventions happen at both micro and macro levels. At the macro level, measures like fiscal discipline, trade liberalization, and attracting Foreign Direct Investment are crucial. At the micro level, reducing income inequality, improving social infrastructure, healthcare, education, and ensuring transparency are essential aspects that need attention.

        Read Also: Experience of India in ushering in Inclusive growth since independence

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