In recent years, India has enjoyed consistently high rates of growth and steady improvement in human development. However, even as the world’s largest democracy remained resilient in face of the global economic crisis, the country faces a critical challenge similar to several other BRICS counterparts – high growth has been accompanied by persistent poverty and inequality.
The country’s Human Development Index value when adjusted for inequality loses 28 percent of its value. The imperative of faster, more inclusive and sustainable growth is central to the government’s national development agenda and a series of progressive schemes introduced by the government. Read more>>
Strong Economic Growth
India has shown remarkable progress. The economy grew at an average annual rate of 7.26 percent over the past five years. Between 2014 and 2015, the manufacturing sector grew by 8.4 percent, up from 4.4 percent a year ago. Between 2014 and 2015, the Indian manufacturing sector grew by a substantial 8.4 percent, up from 4.4 percent a year ago. India has also firmly established itself as a lucrative foreign investment destination, with foreign capital inflows of over US$ 31 billion in 2015 - surpassing the US and China. India’s dynamic services sector, second only to China in terms of growth rate, clocked an impressive double-digit growth rate of 10.6 percent in 2015, up from 9.1 percent in 2014.
Leadership in South-South Collaboration
The world’s largest and fastest growing democracy, India has emerged as a major leader in key global and South-South initiatives. By sharing its knowledge and development experience with other developing countries in bilateral, regional and multilateral frameworks, India has become a critical player in regional organisations such as SAARC, as well as in international forums such as BRICS. In 2015, BRICS states came together to establish the multilateral New Development Bank, as an alternative to the existing US-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The Bank has been set up to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the five emerging markets which account for nearly 42 percent of the worlds’ population and 25 percent of global GDP.
IBSA, the forum for India, Brazil and South Africa cooperation, is another such initiative operationalised in 2005, following the establishment of a Trust Fund in partnership with UNDP. The Fund, with an initial corpus of US$ 3 million, today has an accumulated capital of more than US$ 30 million, with various success stories implemented and several others ongoing. While India promotes regional integration through strengthening trade relations and increasing investment in regional infrastructure, it also offers technical assistance through triangular co-operation, by providing training to participants from developing countries with funding being made available by donor countries or multilateral institutions.
Progressive Rights-based Legislations
Over the past decade, India has introduced some of the world’s most far-reaching and progressive rights-based legislations in the world aimed at reducing poverty. Some of these ambitious legislations include, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Right to Education, Right to Information and Right to Food (National Food Security Act) which have emerged as cornerstones of poverty reduction strategies. MGNREGA has improved the average wage rate per day, which has increased from US$ 1.79 in 2009-2010 to US$ 2.83 in 2015. Read more>>
Persistent inequality is reflected in the low human development attainments of the country’s most marginalized groups including scheduled castes, tribal and rural populations, women, transgenders, people living with HIV and migrants.
Gender Inequality Despite Economic Growth
Gender inequality in India persists despite high rates of economic growth, and is particularly apparent among marginalized groups. Women participate in employment and decision making much less, than men. This disparity is not likely to be eliminated soon. India’s poor performance on women’s empowerment and gender equality is reflected in many indicators, particularly, the low sex ratio. Read more>>