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This subject explores the relationship between development and inequality by taking India as a central example. How do different patterns of development shape inequality and how do existing regimes of inequality limit development? We will consider this question in light of India’s development strategy in the years after Independence, and the sudden shift that occurred with liberalization in 1991. In the quarter century since that signal event, different states in India have progressed at very different rates. In general, South India has seen rapid rates of growth and much better human development indicators; by contrast, North Indian states have registered both poor growth rates and anaemic performance on human development indicators. How can we explain this widening of the gap between different regions? The overall fiscal and monetary environment is provided by the federal government and is the same, but crucial policy levers lie in the hand of regional states.
In this subject, we will attempt to understand the paradox of high rates of poverty surviving inside an economy that has registered the world’s second-highest growth rates for the last two and a half decades. We will also try to understand why India has broken with the conventional development narrative of economies gradually moving from agriculture to manufacturing to services. Is there something in the larger global moment that enables nation-states to leapfrog from agriculture to services? Do we need to revise existing paradigms of development to come to terms with the present world? This subject has an interdisciplinary orientation: we will draw upon texts from development studies, anthropology, economics, geography, politics, urban planning, and rural sociology. It will combine specialized academic knowledge with insights from development practitioners and policy setters.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this subject should:
- understand the relationship between patterns of development and inequality, particularly with reference to India (LO1);
- be able to understand the diversity of outcomes in different states in India with the same federal structure (LO2); and
- identify effective public policies that might promote development with equality (LO3).
Last updated: 11 February 2021