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Reconciling growth with equity in India May 2, 2012

Posted by southasiamasala in : Guest authors, India , comments closed

Sugata Marjit

‘Growth versus equity’ is a theme that continues to occupy most of the policy debates in India, particularly after two decades of experimenting with economic reform.

The outcome of the reform process has been mixed: India’s commendable trend rate of economic growth is unfortunately accompanied by a sustained and increasing degree of inequality. New debates on official poverty estimates have flared up, and so have concerns about uncontrolled inflation, though the intensity has subsided a bit in the recent past.

The coexistence of prosperity, poverty and inequality is not specific to India. Rich countries such as the US have experienced very little growth in recent times because of serious financial crisis-led recession, and inequality in various forms has been on the rise there as well. In a way, growth or no growth, the world has become a more unequal place — a feeling shared by experts and non-experts alike. Equity should be a contentious issue, and far more so than it is usually allowed to be.