Reforms undertaken in the early 1990s made India one of the world’s fastest growing economies. The boom of the IT industry and improved agricultural production created an atmosphere of optimism, which led to the coining of phrases, such as Incredible India, India Shining, and India 2020 around the end of the millennium.
The Indian growth story has been one of high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth but primarily driven by the growth in services sector. Not all sectors of the economy have grown at the same pace as is reflected in the relatively low agricultural growth rate, low-quality employment, poor education, inadequate healthcare services, rural-urban divide, social inequalities, and regional disparities.
Growth that is not inclusive affects the society, the economy, and the polity. A lack of inclusive growth can result in real or perceived inequities, which has its own social ramifications. Inclusive growth promotes economic growth partly by broadening the base for domestic demand and partly by increasing the number of people with a stake in reforms and in a stable government.
Inclusive growth thus seeks to broaden the flow of benefits of globalization towards the currently excluded sections. However, for achieving inclusive growth, it is essential that the diffusion of opportunities be supported with good governance and accountability.
In order to reduce disparity and promote inclusive growth, the Indian government has set state-specific targets for parameters, such as GDP growth rate, agricultural growth rate, new work opportunities, poverty ratio, dropout rate in elementary schools, literacy rate, gender gap in literacy rate, infant mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio.
In the last few years, inclusive growth has been at the forefront of studies sponsored by multilateral aid agencies, such as the United Nations, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and...