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Inclusive Growth, poverty and Economic Development in India
Prof. S.Mahendra Dev,
Chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, Government of India
- Since independence, significant improvement in India’s economic and social development.
- In the post-reform (since 1991) period, India has done well in some indicators such as balance of payments, resilience to external shocks, service sector growth,
- significant accumulation of foreign exchange, Information technology (IT) and stock market, improvements in telecommunications etc.
- GDP growth was around 8 to 9% per annum in the period 2004-05 to 2007-08. Investment and savings rates were quite high 32 to 36%.
Need for Inclusive Growth
- However, exclusion continued in terms of low agriculture growth, low quality employment growth, low human development, rural-urban divides, gender and social inequalities, and regional disparities etc.
- There is now recognition that inclusive growth should be achieved in order to reduce poverty and other disparities and raise economic growth.
- 11th Plan (2007-12) advocates for inclusive growth.
- Even at international level, there is a concern about inequalities and exclusion and now they are also talking about inclusive approach for development.
- In this presentation, I will be discussing issues and challenges for achieving inclusive growth.
Elements of Inclusive Growth
- Five interrelated elements of inclusive growth.
- Poverty Reduction and increase in quantity and quality of employment
- Agricultural Development
- Social Sector Development
- Reduction in regional disparities
- Protecting the environment
- Income poverty and non-income poverty
- We concentrate here on income poverty
- The official poverty lines are anchored to a fixed commodity basket corresponding to the poverty line (Rs.49.09 per person per month at 1973-74 prices for rural areas and Rs.56.64 for urban areas).
- The suggested rural commodity basket by the Expert Group contained 2400 kcal per capita per day in rural areas and the urban food basket had 2100 kcal per capita per day in 1973-4.
- For subsequent years, poverty line is updated with consumer prices.
Trends in Poverty (%): India
Number of poor (in million)
- Income poverty declined from 55% in the early 1970s to 28% in 2004-05.
- Although there has been progress in decline, still more than 300 million below poverty line.
- World Bank Estimates: 42% below $1.25 poverty line. ADB 65% with $1.35 poverty line
- 80% of the poor are from rural areas.
- Poverty concentrated in few states (Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand)
- Concentrated among agricultural labourers, casual workers, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
Determinants of Rural Poverty
- Agricultural Growth
- Relative food prices
- Rural non-farm sector
- Rural wages
- Governments’ development expenditure
- Human Development
Percentage budget share of cereals
Percentage budget share of food (cereals+non-cereals)
Reasons for low domestic food prices
- India insulated domestic food prices from the recent high global food prices
- Reasons are the following
-- high oil and fertilizer subsidies
-- Duty cuts, export bans
-- Administrative measures on hoarding, ban on futures markets
-- Procurement, buffer stock and public distribution of food
Policies for Poverty Alleviation
- India adopted two pronged approach
-- Growth approach: all three sectors contribute agriculture, industry and services
-- Direct approach : Safety nets or anti-poverty prog.
-- Self employment progra. (women’s groups), wage employment progra, food subsidies, nutrition programmes for children, old age and maternity benefits
-- Public Distribution System – Subsidized food
-- National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) – Giving 100 days of wage employment to the poor
Problems in Employment
- Share in Ouput and Employment of different sectors
- Agriculture: 20% in GDP, 57% in Employ.
- Industry: 23% in GDP,18% in Employ.
- Services: 57% in GDP, 25% in Employ.
- Employment growth increased in recent years but quality is low.
- Problem of working poor
- Poverty is much higher than unemployment
Problems in Employment
- There are 458 million workers in India in 2004-05
- Out of this 423 million workers are informal/unorganised workers (92%).
- Growth in employment more in unorganised sector.
- Thus, quality of employment is a problem
- Workers in this sector do not have social security.
- Government is trying to provide minimum social security to unorganized workers
Inclusive Growth: Agriculture
- Concerns in Agriculture
--Deceleration in growth from 3.5% during 1981-97 to 2% during 1997-2005. Decline in yield growth.
-- Land and water problems, vulnerability to world commodity prices, farmers’ suicides, 45% of farmers want to leave agri but no where to go.
----Disparities in growth across regions and crops: growth rate declined more in rainfed areas.
Problems in Indian agriculture
- Long term factors: Steeper decline in per capita land availability. Shrinking of farm size
- Slow reduction in share of employment (still 55%)
- Main problem is low labour productivity in agriculture. Gap between agri. and non-agri. is widening.
- We should blame non-agriculture (industry and services) for not absorbing workers from agriculture.
Three Goals of Agricultural Development
- 1.Achieve 4% growth in agriculture and raise incomes. Increasing productivity (land, labor), diversification to high value agri. and rural non-farm by maintaining food security.
- 2.Second goal is sharing growth (equity): focus on small and marginal farmers, lagging regions, women etc. On lagging regions, focus on Eastern India and other rainfed areas.
- 3. Third is to maintain sustainability of agri. by focusing on environmental concerns.
Deficits in Agriculture Growth
- Six deficits in agriculture
- :(a) land and water management deficit
- (b) investment, credit and Infrastructure deficit,
- (c) research and extension (technology) deficit,
- (d)market deficit,
- (e) institutions deficit,
- (f) education/skill deficit
Rural non-farm sector
- Poverty can not be removed with 55% of workers in agri. Need to promote rural non-farm sector.
- India currently produces about 50 million tonnes of fruits and 90 million tonnes of vegetables. Only 2% of these are processed as against 23% in China, 78% in Phillippines, 83% in Malaysia.
- Half of those engaged in agriculture are still illiterate and just 5% have completed higher secondary educ.
- Even in 2004-05, around 60% of rural male workers and 85% of rural female workers are either illiterate or educated upto primary level.
- In other words, education and skills are constraints
Lessons from China
- India leap frogged from agriculture to services with less focus on manufacturing.
- The share of employment in manufacturing in Malaysia is 50%, in Korea 62%, in China 31%. On the other hand, the share of employment in manufacturing in India is only 12%
- Diversification towards rural non-form sector in China is one of the important factors responsible for rural poverty reduction (poverty 3%).
- This was partly due to high agricultural productivity and investment in physical and human capital.
- In social sector, significant achievements in education and health
- However, Human development index rank is 127 out of 170 countries.
- Social indicators are much lower for Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes
- Malnutrition among children is one major problem (46% of children suffer from malnutrition
Six problems in Social Sector: education and health
- There have been significant achievements but there are problems
- Low levels of social indicators
- Slow progress
- Significant regional, social and gender disparities
- Low level and slow growth in public expenditures particularly on health
- Poor quality delivery systems
- Privatization of Health and Education
- Significant Regional Disparities in India.
- Per capita income : Highest per capita income Rs.16,679 in Punjab; lowest per capita income state Rs.3557 in Bihar
- Female infant mortality varies from 12 in Kerala to 88 in Madhya Pradesh
- Female literacy varies from 33.6% in Bihar to 88% in Kerala
- Inter-state disparities in the growth of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) increased in the post-reform period compared to the eighties.
- In general, richer states grew faster than the poorer states.
- Causes for disparities;
- Investment in physical and human capital
- Institutions including governance
- Degradation of land, water. Increase in pollution levels
- Challenges of climate change
- Consumption patterns of rich
- Higher economic growth should not lead to decline in our environment
What Should be done to improve inclusive growth?
- Equity is important for economic development
- Agricultural Development
- Economic reforms are important. But macro-poor policies (fiscal, trade, financial, monetary etc.) should have pro-poor focus
- Structural change should have followed agriculture-industry-services sequence
- Development of manufacturing sector is important for creation of productive employment
- Equality of opportunities (education)
- South East Asian and East Asian experience
What should be done? (contd.)
- Role of Technology
- Shift focus of reforms to delivery systems
- Importance of women’s economic and social empowerment
- Economic reforms in relation to socio-political environment
- Rights approach (civil, political and economic)
- There is a need to have a broad based and inclusive growth to benefit all sections of society and improve economic growth.
- We have examined issues and challenges in five elements of inclusive growth (poverty and employment, agriculture, social sector, regional disparities and environment)
- It is more challenging for the country to achieve inclusive growth than getting 8 to 10 per cent growth in GDP
- There are strong social, economic and political reasons for achieving broader and inclusive growth.
- Socially, lack of inclusive growth leads to unrest among many people.
- There is also an economic argument. The measures which raise equity also promote economic growth.
- Lastly, the political argument is that no government in a democracy can afford to ignore large sections of workers and non-working population.
- If it is not inclusive it can generate very severe social tensions. Thus, politically, for having a stable and democratic society one needs to have inclusive growth.