- Since at least two decades ago, India has experienced jobless growth along with increasing rural poverty and unhappiness.
- How to create a growth pattern that creates jobs and inclusive development, as most East Asian nations have done, is one of the main problems India is currently facing.
- The inclusion of all castes in the nation’s economic prosperity would be the best response to this query. Although caste is an active agent that impedes economic progress, it may not be a residual variable.
How Does the Caste System Affect Economic Development and Growth?
- Caste restricts social mobility for some people by its networks and strict social control, while creating barriers for others by placing disadvantages on them.
- Additionally, it influences the distribution of land and capital ownership while also controlling who has access to political, social, and financial resources.
Land Ownership & Productivity
- India currently has some of the greatest land disparities in the world.
- British colonial interference, which legalised a long-standing discrepancy, contributed to the continuation of this unequal allocation of land.
- Due to British administrative methods, some castes were given land ownership at the expense of others. They created an arbitrary distinction between legitimate landowners who are members of particular castes and the labourers who are lower caste people who worked on lands that were given to them or gifted to them, which institutionalised caste inside the land revenue system.
- Caste is still a major factor in postcolonial Indian land ownership due to the British’s inscription of land administration categories and practises.
Following India’s independence, there was significant exclusion of Dalits and lower castes from land reform.
- At the expense of other castes in rural India, it primarily emboldened and empowered intermediate castes.
- Green Revolution: Because it was mostly brought about by technical intervention, the Green Revolution, which brought about changes in the agricultural sector, did not reduce land inequality.
- The castes in rural India who were linked to this system of land use and benefited from the Green Revolution strengthened their social control over others.
- Since colonial times, there has been an elite bias in the Indian educational system.
- For their own administrative purposes, British colonialists educated small groups of elites, primarily from upper castes.
- The Indian Constitution’s directive principles, which guaranteed free and compulsory education, were hardly ever put into practise. Instead, emphasis was placed on elite higher education.
- Disparity in other economic areas, such as pay disparities in India, has been caused by inequality in access to education.
- Castes already in charge of commercial and industrial areas rejected the arrival of newcomers.
- Even individuals with a financial excess in agriculture were unable to invest in the modern non-agricultural sectors.
- Due to social injustices, rural capital has been unable to enter contemporary sectors, creating impediments to economic development.
- The lack of traditional merchant castes, or the “Vaishya vacuum,” is said to be the cause of even South India’s relative success.
Why Did India Fail to Transform Economically?
The Three Dimensions:
- Due to their emphasis on “Land Equity,” “Access to Education,” and “Access to Entrepreneurship,” countries in the global South—particularly India, China, and South East Asia—have experienced varying degrees of structural restructuring.
- Focus on Education: East Asian nations like China made investments in primary education before progressively moving toward higher education.
- Focus on Low End Jobs: While India is mostly centred in High End Technology Jobs, South East Asia and China have seized Low End Manufacturing Jobs.
Focus on Human Capital:
- Due to China’s investment in human capital, rural entrepreneurship was able to significantly expand outside of the traditional agricultural sector.
- Additionally, it led to agricultural capitalists diversifying their businesses into urban ones.
- This disregard for the building of human capital has led to China overtaking India in the industrial sector.
- Their investment in human capital directly contributed to their manufacturing success.
- The largest problem India as a country faced was British colonial intrusion, which accentuated caste-based and ethnic divisions.
- When compared to its neighbours, India struggled to keep up with the rate of economic change. One key reason for this is this intervention.
What steps are being taken to end discrimination and encourage change?
Provisions of the Constitution:
- Discrimination is prohibited, according to Article 15 of the Indian Constitution, which also specifies that no citizen may be subjected to discrimination on the basis of their religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any combination of these.
- There will be equality of opportunity for all citizens in terms of employment under the State, according to Article 16 of the Indian Constitution.
- No citizen should be disqualified from holding any position under the State solely on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, or place of birth.
Education is required for all citizens between the ages of six and fourteen, according to Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. This obligation to educate all children in accordance with state-determined standards is free and mandatory.
- Land Ceiling: The regulations established a cap on the amount of land that a person or organisation could own, commonly referred to as a land “ceiling,” and they permitted the government to redistribute surplus land to the landless.
- Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), which promotes human development
- It intends to encourage young people to pursue skill development in order to boost production and match training and certification to national needs.
The Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship’s (MSDE) SANKALP Scheme: Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood (SANKALP) is an outcome-oriented programme with a focus on decentralised planning and quality improvement.
- The Stand Up India Scheme, which focuses on economic empowerment and job creation, was introduced in April 2016 to encourage entrepreneurship at the grassroots level.
- to make use of the institutional lending system to connect with the underserved population, including SC, ST, and female entrepreneurs.
- Through a variety of last-mile financial institutions, including banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), and micro finance institutions, the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana finances the non-corporate small business sector (MFIs).
- Disadvantaged groups in society, including women business owners, SC/ST/OBC borrowers, minority community borrowers, etc., have received loans. New entrepreneurs have also been the spotlight.
What should the next step be?
Studying from your neighbours:
India should focus more on human development, low-wage jobs, and rural development to assist economic change, as success in these areas has been seen in China and other S.E. Asian nations.
Rationalization of Quota Policy:
- Equal representation in employment and educational opportunities should be offered to all communities and castes that fall under a reservation category.
- The goal of reservations, which is to provide equal opportunity to all, is violated when a specific community or caste dominates a reservation.
- To make sure that the initiatives are successfully achieving the goal for which they were launched, a state-level audit of the current initiatives could be conducted.
- A detailed analysis of the socioeconomic requirements of the underprivileged in rural areas will paint a true picture of their predicament.
- It would make it possible for the government to create an effective plan for their welfare, which would significantly boost the economy.