Despite India’s success as one of the largest democratic nations, inequality has been on the rise. India has the highest number of poor people in the world and still suffers from problems among its people with malnutrition, lack of access to clean water and a poor education system. The persistence of India’s inequality can largely be attributed to it’s history of a caste system. By creating a known social hierarchy the caste system marginalizes those at the bottom pushing them into a cycle of poverty. Even though the caste system is more permeable than in past, its effects are still seen socially, politically and economically.
In order to reduce inequality, the government must establish an obligation to reduce poverty and stimulate the economy in order to allow for much needed social programs to reach the poor communities. The remnants of the caste system have made it difficult to provide basic needs and economic opportunity to the systematically underprivileged groups. In order to have success in reducing inequality, the values in India must be changed. Even though the country has not seen vast improvements through the legalistic approach, activists are still pushing for reform and are gaining support from Congress Party Leaders and President Sonia Gandhi.
Economically, the country has seen success yet this economic growth has not reached the lower class. The reason for this being India’s lack of a commitment to public services and provision of resources. India has also struggled to generate job opportunities in the manufacturing sector and provide adequate educational opportunities to those of the lower class. Since India’s infrastructure is not well developed and there is no public system of transportation, it makes it difficult to travel to work and school. This creates a vicious cycle where children of poorer families are not educated and therefor are unable to have any generational mobility.
In order for India to reduce levels of inequality, the values and norms of the country must first be shifted away from the deeply ingrained caste system. By changing their prospectives, the country will then have more support for social programs assisting the poor. The country also suffers from its lack of infrastructure which further disadvantages the poor’s access to education and work. India must focus on stimulating their economy and ensuring that it’s benefits reach more than just the top tiers. Infrastructure including education and effective social programs should be a priority for India in it’s attempts to reduce inequality.
Zagha, Roberto. 2013. “India’s Inequality: An Uneasy Reconciliation with Economic Growth.” Current History 112 (753).
O’Neil, Patrick H. Cases in Comparative Politics. 5th ed. S.l.: W W Norton, 2015.