Prelims Level
Mains Level
Prelims Syllabus : Governance - Policies Mains Syllabus : GS-II Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of These Schemes.

Why in News?

  • There is a wide spread critique about India’s growth model wherein it highlights that higher GDP growth rates in India has failed to translate into Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable growth of Indian citizens.
  • This article highlights the various defects in the policies of government and the need why the Government must adopt bottom-up and people-centered approach in its policies.

Problems with India’s Growth Model:

  • India has made rapid strides in its economic growth wherein the GDP size has increased from $ 275 bn in 1991 to $ 2.7 trillion in 2019. India has also been considered as the fastest growing major economies across the world.
  • However, such a growth model has failed to promote balanced, equitable and inclusive growth.
  • For instance, India’s ranking on various Human Development Indicators such as HDI, Global Hunger Index (GHI), Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI), Environmental Performance Index etc. continues to be remain poor. Similarly, the PLFS report has highlighted that the unemployment has increased to 45-year high of 6.1%.

Reasons for the poor outcomes of India’s Growth Model:

1. Prioritising Growth over Development:

  • The Government has excessively focused on enhancing the GDP growth rates without giving due emphasis on enhancing human capabilities. For instance, India’s expenditure on Education and Health is hardly around 3% and 1.3% of the GDP respectively.

2. Pursuing Top-down Approach:

  • Government has failed to incorporate bottom-up and people-centered approach in its policies which could have empowered the people and led to better outcomes.
  • The Government has excessively focused on improving “Ease of doing Business” to attract foreign capital, but it has failed to focus on improving “Ease of living” of its citizens.

3. Absence of Participatory Approach:

  • Most of the Government schemes and programmes are implemented without the involvement of the stakeholders.
  • For instance, one of the reasons for the success of the MGNREGA programme is its participatory approach wherein the Gram Sabha members decide on the utilization of MGNREGA Funds.
  • However, other government schemes and programmes have failed to incorporate such a participatory approach leading to less than satisfactory results.

What can be done to Improve the Development Outcomes?

1. Follow the footsteps of China’s Model:

  • India’s growth outcomes can be improved by learning from the development models followed by China and some of the states in India.
  • Even though China is non-democratic country, it has given due emphasis on Human Development which is evident in China’s better ranking on various Human development Indicators as compared to India.
  • On the other hand, in spite of being democratic country, India is yet to reach the level of development which China attained way back in 1990s.
  • Thus, there is a need to adopt people-centered policies rather than growth-centered policies to have better outcomes.

2. Kerala- the Forerunner:

  • Similarly, some of the states in India have also taken a lead and shown as to how bottom-up and people-centered policies can have transformative impact on the lives of the people.
  • For instance, Kerala Government has followed “Participative Model” of Governance in order to empower the people at the grassroots level.
  • It has emerged as the frontrunner in empowering the Panchayati Raj Institutions with the constitutionally mandated functions and finances.
  • It has also focused on the women empowerment through the “Kudumbashree” Scheme, which is considered to be a model scheme for multi-faceted development of women.
  • Such a participative model of Governance has enabled Kerala to be well ahead of all other states and match China in terms of Human Development Indicators.

3. Delhi’s “Common man’s Model”:

  • Delhi Government has adopted “Common man’s Model”, wherein it has kept the common man at the centre of the various government policies and schemes.
  • It has given due emphasis on Health and Education and in order to ensure success of Government’s intervention, it has focused on the active participation of the stakeholders.
  • For instance, it has established the School Management Committees which involves the parents. The budget for training teachers has increased by more than five times. This has enabled the Delhi’s Government schools to have much better performance than the private schools.
  • Similarly, the Public health expenditure has more than doubled. Mohalla Clinics have been set up in the poor colonies to provide accessible and affordable health care.

Way Forward:

  • The Government has to realize that “Ease of Living” is much wider and comprehensive as compared to “Ease of Doing Business”.
  • While, improvement in the Ease of Doing Business can lead to increase in the private sector investment, but improvement in the “Ease of Living” can lead to both better development outcomes and attract private sector investment.
  • This is so because a balanced, inclusive and sustainable growth can enhance the income levels of the people and attract greater amount of private sector investment.
  • Ultimately, Gandhi’s philosophy of putting the last man first should be the sole guiding light for the government’s policies.
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