India’s Inequality

Brendan Kilkenny

Although India has a strong democracy and the highest voter participation in the world, we continue to see a growing gap of inequality among the people of the country.  One factor that plays a large role in this is the small amount of education that people get in the country.  With an already large population that continues to grow at a rate of two percent a year, it is simply difficult to educate everyone.  Since the population continues to grow, there should be an increase in schools.  However, this is not the case and therefore we see illiterate youth among the Indian people.  Also, health conditions throughout India are terrible.  In the article entitled India’s Inequality: An Uneasy Reconciliation with Economic Growth writer Roberto Zagha states that India has the largest number of poor people in the world even more than Africa.  The people of India face many developmental problems such as infrastructural issues which include limited access to clean water.  As a result, we see high mortality rates and malnutrition because India does not have access these basic needs.

Another problem that continues to spread the inequality in India is President Narendra Modi’s drive to have the country manufacture more.  This means more people would work industrial jobs in order to try to produce for the country to in turn achieve a higher GDP.  As a result of this drive, we see economic growth in the country but inequality still continues to persist.  In Patrick O’Neil’s case study, it says that more than half of all Indians rely on agriculture as their living means.  With half of the country focusing on agriculture and half of the country pouring money into industry, we see a disconnect.  Because their leader is pouring money into the wealthier people’s jobs and not worrying about the poorer half of his population in agriculture there is economic divide.  As a result, we see more than one fourth of Indians living on less than a dollar a day.  So, while it may seem positive that India’s economy is growing, inequality persists and divides the country further.

Works Cited:

O’Neil, Patrick H. Cases in Comparative Politics. 5th ed. S.l.: W W Norton, 2015.

Zagha, Roberto. India’s Inequality: An Uneasy Reconciliation With Economic Growth. Accessed November 2, 2015.


Vakulabharanam, Vamsi. “OPINION: Is Inequality in India Here to Stay?” Is Inequality in India Here to Stay? Accessed November 2, 2015.


3 thoughts on “India’s Inequality

  1. I think your points about a need for better education and better health conditions are very important and also stem from a larger problem of India’s government not stepping in enough to promote social equality and access to public goods by everyone. A big problem with the government is that it “considers serving the public a favor rather than an obligation”, which can lead to ineffective social programs that would allow for minimal access to things like education and health care. If the government could have a stronger presence in India and provide access to public goods to people from all classes then it could help decrease inequality.

  2. I agree with your statement on the importance of education. Education is basic need in order for a country to become more equal and bring people out of poverty. In addition, as you said, I agree that it is very important to focus on the gap that is developing between those the rich and the poor in India. Although it is great that the country is seeing economic growth, the growth will just continue to cause a larger gap. It is hard to believe that one fourth of these people are living on less than a dollar a day. The president must find a better way to spread wealth then giving it all to industrial occupations.

  3. I think your points of poor education and the split economies (industrial and agriculture) leading to India having inequalities, are caused by the caste system. Socially, the Caste system is still ingrained in many Indian individuals and this influences the nation. An example is a teacher, and how teachers would focus more time and energy on the students higher up on the Caste system, while students on the lower end of the caste system aren’t focused on (Zagha). That makes part of the population highly educated with opportunity, while the other half is less educated and behind compared to their counterparts. This leads to spilt economies, because the educated people are having money invested into them by the government, while the less educated/lower caste people aren’t receiving money through their work in agriculture. Until the Caste system is removed from the social norm, it seems evident that inequalities will continue to exist in India.

    Zagha, Roberto. 2013. “India’s Inequality: An Uneasy Reconciliation with Economic Growth.” Current History 112 (753).

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