A new economics for inclusive growth

A new economics for inclusive growth


In “Breaking the Mould: Reimagining India’s Economic Future,” Raghuram Rajan and Rohit Lamba advocate a shift from traditional manufacturing policies to a focus on exporting high-end services. However, this recommendation sparks surprise, considering India’s decades-long struggle with generating adequate jobs and income, evident in the demands from farmers and informal sector workers for better prices and fair wages. The article “A new economics for inclusive growth”, speaks about the central challenge that lies in the mismatch between skills, jobs, and incomes, hindering India’s inclusive economic growth.


GS-03 (Economy)

Mains Question:

Discuss the challenges hindering India’s inclusive economic growth, emphasizing the importance of localized economic activities and the need for a paradigm shift in policies to address the mismatch between skills, jobs, and incomes. Propose actionable strategies for policymakers to foster sustainable growth in the Indian economy.

Dimensions of the Article:

  • The challenges
  • Learning and Development
  • Localized Economic Activity
  • Inclusive Growth Imperative
  • Make More for India, in India

The challenges:

  • The core impediment to India’s economic growth lies in the incongruity between skills, jobs, and incomes.
  • Contrary to the belief that India had bypassed manufacturing in its development trajectory, the reality is stark. The predominant investment in high-end skills has not translated into sufficient quality jobs for the masses.
  • The conventional model of transitioning from agriculture to manufacturing and then services, as witnessed in China, remains an unmet aspiration for India.

Learning and Development:

  • Economists’ failure to incorporate the essence of “learning” in their models poses a critical limitation. The process of citizens acquiring new skills and nations gaining capabilities crucial for development is often overlooked.
  • The journey from one job to the next demands proximity in terms of skills and location. Emphasizing “adjacencies” in work and localities, especially in rural areas, is pivotal for climbing the skill-income ladder.
  • Manufacturing and value-added services can thrive in small, labor-intensive enterprises around farms, fostering economic activity.

Localized Economic Activity:

  • Large, capital-intensive factories are not the sole contributors to manufacturing, and value-added services extend beyond substantial software establishments.
  • Localized economic activity, particularly in rural settings, involving small, labor-intensive enterprises engaged in processing agricultural produce, plays a crucial role. Such enterprises enhance the value of agricultural commodities locally, promoting sustainable growth and dense economic webs.

Inclusive Growth Imperative:

  • To achieve targets of trillions of dollars in GDP, inclusive and sustainable economic growth is imperative. The prevailing pattern must shift, focusing on inclusive employment strategies rather than sidelining the small-scale and informal manufacturing sector.
  • India’s abundant human resources must be utilized wisely, recognizing the limitations posed by scarcity in land and financial capital for large, capital-intensive factories.

Make More for India, in India:

  • Investment in education and skills for high-end manufacturing and services must align with the goal of employment generation. The state, grappling with financial constraints, cannot afford misallocation by offering incentives to investors with expectations of trickle-down benefits.
  • Policies should prioritize local economic webs over participation in extensive international supply chains. India’s attractiveness to producers seeking new markets should be leveraged to stimulate domestic production, fostering both job creation and increased incomes.

Way Forward:

  • In reimagining India’s growth, policymakers must break away from the molds of 20th-century economics. Inclusive economic growth, rooted in the fundamentals, is indispensable.
  • The current global economic landscape, distinct from China’s past growth trajectory, offers India an opportunity to address its unmet needs and make more for itself within its borders. Policies should prioritize job and income growth for the masses, recognizing the limitations of misplaced tax reductions and incentives for investors.
  • The focus should be on creating sustainable economic growth through localized activities that cater to India’s unique strengths and unmet demands.