ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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How Inclusive Is India's Reform(ed) Growth?

Given the contemporary public concern about the worsening relative deprivation of the masses and the need for appropriate policies to address the social cost of the reform programme, the Government of India has declared its commitment to the aam aadmi and the poorest of the poor. This paper examines how far the government has been successful in realising its objective of inclusive growth. As evidence of outcomes, it examines the National Sample Survey data on household consumption distribution in terms of relative distributional measures across social groups at different levels of regional aggregation by rural and urban sector. The estimates from four different NSS rounds for the agricultural years 1993-94, 2004-05, 2009-10 and 2011-12 throw up a profile of exclusion of the poor involving exclusionary growth of the better-off in the economy as a whole. At the national level, disparities across social groups have increased involving a widening of the average consumption shortfall of the scheduled tribes, a decline for the scheduled castes, marginal decline for the Other Backward Classes and an increase in the excess of average consumption of Other Social Groups with respect to the overall median. Similar analyses at the level of major states, by sector, corroborate in general the findings at the national level of an era of exclusionary growth confined to the better-off sections.

Tables 5 and 6 referred to in these pages have been posted on the EPW website along with this article.

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