ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

InequalitySubscribe to Inequality

Rising Inequalities in Income in India

According to a study by Lucas Chancel and Thomas Piketty (2017), the average annual real per adult income growth in India accelerated from 1.7% during 1951–80 to 3.3% during 1980–2015. However, for the bottom 50% income group, it decelerated from 2.2% to 1.9% over the same period, despite acceleration from 1.2% to 5.1% for the top 10% income group and from 0.2% to 6.6% for the top 1% income group. These growing income inequalities in India are part of a larger set of rising income inequalities in several parts of the world; according to the World Social Report 2020 by the United Nations (2020), two-thirds of the world’s population today lives in countries where income inequality has grown. Moreover, “the ratio between the incomes of the richest and the poorest 10% of global population is 25% larger than it would be in a world without global warming,” as, among other factors, “at similar levels of exposure, people in poverty are more susceptible to damage from climate change than those who are better off” (United Nations 2020: 7).

Challenges of Persons with Severity of Disabilities

The paper maps the present status of employment opportunities for persons with severity of disability with an emphasis on their factors of labour force participation and the likelihood of employment in public or private enterprises. The paper employs the two latest comparable databases of the National Sample Survey on disability. The findings reveal that although the Indian Constitution and legislation have provisions for equal rights, disability remains an axis of social discrimination, inequality, and exclusion from employment opportunities. The odds of employment in private enterprises are against the persons with disabilities.

Understanding Globalisation through the Lens of Contesting Narratives

Six Faces of Globalization: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why It Matters by Anthea Roberts, Nicolas Lamp, Harvard University Press, September 2021, pp 400, `2,434.

Towards the Instrumentality of Inequality

What has been the nature of work and discourse on inequality in India? Has it been more anecdotal and ordinal? Does it sidestep the conceptual and refl ective? Is it an elite discourse even within the subaltern? Does it remain blind to both the subtleties and the macro forces that generate, fuel, and reproduce the condition of inequality? And importantly, has it seriously considered the issue of what inequality does to those at the margins? The recent Dadabhai Naoroji conference at NIAS, on the instrumentality of inequality raised these conceptual, ethical, and practical dimensions of inequality.

Socio-economic Inequality in Longevity in India

Two new indices, the index of representation in longevity and the index of socio-economic inequality in longevity, are presented for examining socio-economic inequality in longevity in India. The India Human Development Survey data from the 2004–05 and 2011–12 rounds are used to investigate socio-economic inequality based on caste, occupation, economic classes, and geographic regions. The findings suggest that India suffers from substantial socio-economic inequality in longevity with the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Muslims being worst off. Groups such as agricultural and non-agricultural labourers, petty traders, and lower economic classes were substantially under-represented in longevity. Regionally, the south and west have over-representation, whereas the central, east, and north-east have under-representation in longevity. 

COVID-19 and Multiple Inequalities

Despite the overall achievements, Kerala’s handling of its first case of community transmission in the coastal village of Poonthura came under severe criticism. In this article, the potential pathways to the resistance raised by the fisherfolk in Poonthura are explored, thereby placing their responses as historically and politically embedded ones.

Income and Inequality across Rural–Urban, Occupational, and Caste Divides

The evolution of income in India from 2014–19 is analysed, and it is found that the lower end of the income distribution has experienced significant losses—the bottom ventile shows not only a decline in income share of ~41% but also a negative real average income growth of -5.5% per annum. Further investigating the composition of this part of the distribution using rural and urban splits, it is found that even as income shares at the bottom of the urban distribution have increased over time, those at the bottom of the rural distribution have decreased—income share of the bottom decile of the rural income distribution declined by ~43%, and the real average income growth of this decile was -5% per annum. The bottom ventile of the consolidated Indian income distribution is composed primarily of rural incomes and therefore the decline in real incomes is essentially a rural phenomenon.

Success Factories

In recent years, India has become home to one of the fastest-growing test preparation or coaching for “high-stakes examination” industries in the world. In this paper, collating data from various sources, we demonstrate its growth, explore the potential factors fuelling it, and argue that it contributes to the perpetuation of deeply ingrained inequalities in the Indian society. Seeing these trends as symbolic of the transformation of higher education into a tradable commodity, we highlight the limited attempts by the state in developing a robust regulatory environment despite increasing recognition of associated problems.

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