Equality of opportunity in terms of access to markets, resources, and unbiased regulatory environment are the ends to mean of equality. In-equalities exist in various manners which are social inequalities, rural-urban divide, regional disparities, digital divide etc.
- To realize the Inclusive Growth in its ultimate form, equality is the most fundamental criteria. Inclusive Growth and equality impact each other.
- Without equality, Inclusive Growth can’t be achieved and lack of Inclusive Growth may lead to in-equality in real or perceived forms. Thus, Inclusive Growth and equality are mutually reinforcing. In contemporary economic environment, gender equality has become a basic element of Inclusive Growth.
- Although Indian economy has progressed, the equality has retrograded at all levels whether social or economic. An OECD report has identified that inequality in India has been continuously rising which has posed policy challenges in promotion of inclusiveness.
Good governance results in effectiveness and efficiency, it upholds justice in the rule of law, and accountability and it encourages popular participation, consensus, and equality.
- Tenth plan defines governance in following way: “Governance relates to the management of all such processes that, in any society, define the environment which permits and enables individuals to raise their capability levels, on one hand, and provide opportunities to realise their potential and enlarge the set of available choices, on the other”
- Good governance is the mechanism for integrating Inclusive Growth, public administration and accountability towards envisaged outcome; for example, problems in poor health infrastructure may be an impediment to Inclusive Growth and can often be traced back to poor governance of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- So, good governance provides a common platform for all actors and adapts to sustain the socio-economic transformation which is a pre-requisite of Inclusive Growth. Private governance also highlights the role of private sector in meeting the demand of capital, resource and skills required for Inclusive Growth.
Empowering local self-governing institutions is one of the delivery mechanisms of the Inclusive Growth. 73rd and 74th amendments of the constitutions are innovation in the field of Indian Polity.
- Centre and state govt. have to empower the PRIs to make them enabler of Inclusive Growth.
- In this regard, the eleventh plan has devised a Devolution Index to be called PRI-Empowerment Index. Without decentralization, it is a daunting task to implement the Inclusive Growth based policies.
- Decentralization of rural governance is critical for achieving Inclusive Growth. The present level of decentralization, institutional structure is inadequate.
The following are the deficiencies in decentralization that limit the Inclusive Growth potential:
- Lack of finance, proper institutions and delegation of roles and responsibilities.
- Divergence in central and state approaches in programs and welfare schemes.
- Incoherence in organization at national and state level.
- Poor accountability, transparency and monitoring mechanism.
Accountability and Transparency:
Accountability is answerability towards performance of service delivery. It sets in the responsibility towards the assigned tasks in terms of results and outcome.
- Accountability is specified both in vertically and horizontally. The former refers to the departmental hierarch in a govt. institutions and the latter refers to the autonomous agencies for check and balances on govt. activities e.g. CAG, PMO etc.
- Transparency is necessary for efficient delivery of essential public services; it acts as an enabler for citizens in accessing information on demand which helps them in reinstating their claims on government endowments and entitlements meant for them.
- Lack of accountability and transparency has earmarked the governance in India with red-tapism, bureaucracy and corruption. Govt. has put efforts in multifarious manners to curb the menace. Citizen Charter, Right To Information, Central Vigilance Commission etc. are revolutionary efforts, inasmuch the poor monitoring of their implementation has put a constraint of the efficacy of such ideas.
In long term, it has been identified that, there has been a gross mismatch between the outcomes of the Indian Economic Planning for Inclusive Growth with respect to environment.
- Although, Indian economy has witnessed a rapid growth, there has been a decline in the environment and standard of living of the poor. In the issues related to Inclusive Growth as discussed ahead, it has been elaborated that Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG) has put a sheer pressure on the environment and created a rural-urban divide. Sustainability and Inclusive Growth can’t be achieved in isolation and they supplement each other.
- Without adopting a sustainable practice in Inclusive Growth, the implementation of Inclusive Growth policies is bound to falter. Sustainability is required at the following levels when charting out the policy framework for Inclusive Growth:
- Financial Sustainability: The Inclusive Growth programs and projects of the govt. should be financially viable. It may be noticed that excess of subsidy and lack of outcome orientation is causing a problem of increasing fiscal deficit.
- Social Sustainability: Social sustainability means the need to maintain and sustain specific structure and culture. This type of problem is typically prevalent in tribal areas where the development programs for economic growth come in conflict with the cultural sentiments of the tribal population.
- Environment Sustainability: In long-term, the environment standards must not be jeopardized while in pursuit of Inclusive Growth. By excess use of fertilizer is a die-hard need of the moment, at the same time it has led to is unique problem of depletion of soil productivity and technology fatigue.