Economic Development and Social Justice
“Genuine equality means not treating everyone the same, hut attending equally to evetyone’s different needs.”
Experts from all over the world say that the Indian economy is poised to take off and enter the league of developed nations over the coming decades. Slow but steady growth rate of the economy, along with the unflinching faith in democratic principles has contributed much to the growth and development of our country as a powerful developing nation.
India is a vibrant democracy which is gaining strength day by day. If we consider the achievements made by India during the last few centuries, we at once become aware of the economic opportunities and entrepreneurial avenues that exploded in our country. Factors such as strong GDP growth, along with the growth of service sector and a well-defined financial system contribute to the backbone of the Indian economy. The demographic dividend also plays an important role in shaping the economy of our country.
In this essay, we are going to analyse the topic ‘Economic Development and Social Justice’ under three broader terms such as :
1) Relationship between economic development and social justice.
2) Is it possible to achieve economic development with social justice?
3) How is it possible to achieve economic development with social justice?
Being the second most populated country, the need for accelerated economic growth is a prime concern in India. In a country where a fiercely independent media and a population that prefers democracy to other forms of government thrive, failure to satisfy the needs and necessities of the common masses involves chaos of instability and political conflicts.
Economic development can be measured in various ways. Ideology followed by a country, types of population residing in it, and the extent of foreign aid available to it can be considered as yardsticks for economic development. Currently, economic situation is not rosy in India, even though we can point out various strong areas of economic growth, on the whole. Low productivity along with inflation, fiscal deficit, poverty and inequality combine and contribute to the eroding nature of Indian economy.
Democracy gives due preference to humanitarian concerns. People abiding by democracy are supposed to live within the framework of a free society and achieve economic growth by respecting the fundamental rights and duties. Our Constitution is designed in such a way that it envisages the functioning of an economic system that restricts the amassing of wealth and the means of production by a few people. It is in this context that the concept called social justice has its significance.
In a developing country like India, social justice can be related to distributive justice. The main problem in India is not the scarcity of resources, but the unjust distribution of resources among the people. Many of the people are not getting their deserved lot; at the same time wealthy groups are becoming richer in every sense. Elite groups are competing among themselves to erect luxury apartments and shopping malls. They never hesitate to spend an implausible sum of money on ceremonies such as marriages and house warming.
Much of the shares of means of production which is meant for the effective modernisation of our economy is concentrated in the hands of wealthy people. At the same time, most of the people who are relegated to the lower ladders of society are amid poverty. Many of them live in slums with ration cards showing ‘Above Poverty Line’ (APL) in it. This is an evident example of poverty amidst plenty in India.
A society ensuring social justice will provide opportunities for individuals to develop their potentialities and facilitates overall personality development without considering their class or economic status. The Indian Government has taken several steps to check unjust distribution of resources and fairly proactive development plans have been employed. But, most of them proved to be a failure in catering to the prospects of economic development and social justice.
Much of the funds are allocated for agriculture to give impetus to production. Still our agriculture sector is lagging behind in the development process. Land reforms were implemented in order to eradicate poverty and to create a section less society. But, they have not been carried out fully. A country focussing on brighter standard of living cannot support political discords or sluggish developmental strategies.
Economic development with social justice must be an outcome of collaborative efforts of people belonging to various layers of society. Concentration of wealth by means of hereditary and noble birth is undesirable because it is against the ethics of hard work and efforts by individuals to gain economic stability. In India, property is thought to be a legal right rather than a fundamental right. This amendment can be considered as a right step in the direction towards attaining equality. The property has to be considered as a social institution so that the growth of private enterprises under profit motive can be maintained and regulated. Economic growth with social justice is possible if and only if there is a stable government with a progressive stance and a dynamic administration.
Formation of NITI Aayog can be termed as right initiative towards enhancing planning in India. Unemployment and under-employment thrive in India even if GDP growth is at its maximum. Income-disparities are widening. If we consider the number of young educated people who wander jobless across the stretch of our country, and are taking up jobs which are not in terms of their qualifications and talents, we can understand the inefficiency of our planning strategies. Unemployment must be wiped out from our society so that economic development becomes a reality.
Lack of sufficient employment-oriented development projects which are meant to tap the potential of skilled
workforce is one of the main defects of our planning tactics. Any employment-oriented development plan demands huge investments along with capital resources. It is in this context that the state skill development projects such as Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP) which is exclusively meant for skill development of youth deserves special mention. ASAP is a joint initiative of the Higher Education Department and the Government of Kerala. It was launched to revitalise and enrich the human resource talent pool to meet the challenges of a fast-growing economy. ASAP not only enables Keralites to shine among the trained and skilled labours of the world market, but also helps to inculcate moral ethics and values in them. Thousands of youngsters are getting benefited by ASAP. This is a fair example of an initiative which assures economic development along with social justice.
Economic development and social justice are often termed as incompatible concepts due to the perturbed relationship between the quality of public services and distributive justice. As Helen Keller said, “Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.” It is not a big deal to be in the forefront in exporting high-quality goods and services which are only affordable to the high-class people. But, if we are able to produce more goods of common consumption and find markets for those items so that small-scale industries and co-operative ventures get benefited, it is only then that economic development with social justice becomes a reality. The flagship programme of the Modi Government such as ‘Make in India’ is a right step towards economic prosperity along with social justice.