Inclusive Development refers to including everyone in India's growth narrative. Growth without inclusiveness is hollow and futile. In terms of quantitative growth, India has made great strides, yet a significant portion of its people is still marginalised. India must prioritise inclusive policymaking so that everyone can participate in and benefit from progress.
It is now well recognised that if a significant portion of society is marginalised and excluded, meaningful and lasting social and economic growth cannot truly occur. Because of this, inclusive development appears to be popular among all stakeholders involved, including the government, non-governmental organisations, academics, and civil society organisations. The World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank, and the United Nations have made inclusive development their main focus in recent years (ADB).
Importance of Inclusiveness
In India, there are various inequities that are multifaceted and intersecting in character. Since the early 2000s, multidimensional poverty has been a topic of study in the field of developmental economics, although multidimensional inequality is a relatively recent perspective. This method emphasises the degree of deprivation by focusing on the link between variables such as income, labour, education, health, and household situations.
The interdependence is such that deprivation in one area leads to deprivation in other areas as well. This deprivation has both social and economic roots that sustain oppressive systems that limit the capabilities and liberties of an individual (and, by extension, the entire society). Economic problems such as job loss, informalization of labour that eliminates worker benefits, poor salaries, and lack of assets or wealth permeate social lives by limiting mobility and locking households in a vicious cycle of poverty and inequality.
We all aim to live in a developed human society where people live long, healthy lives, are knowledgeable, have access to resources for a good quality of living, and can participate in the community's life. Only inclusive and meaningful participation, which may be achieved through the process of inclusion, makes development possible.
According to Amartya Sen, "Human development is about creating an environment in which people can develop their full potential and lead productive, creative lives in accord with their needs and interests. People are the real wealth of nations. Development is, thus, about expanding the choices people have to lead lives that they value. And, it is, thus, about much more than economic growth, which is only a means - if a very important one - of enlarging people's choices".
The exclusion of individuals and groups, on the other hand, can pose a huge challenge to societal cohesiveness and threaten humanity. Today, the globe is afflicted by major ethnic conflicts, insurgencies, caste-based violence, social unrest, unemployment, hunger, and malnutrition, etc., all of which threaten the peaceful existence of humans. This phenomenon is not simple, but rather complex.
There are numerous and diverse causes of exclusion.
Absence of Legal/Political Recognition
Now, the greatest task is to create an inclusive society that allows everyone to participate in the path to development. In the current context, inequities and exclusions are also cause for concern.
As a strategy for ensuring the welfare of the most vulnerable population and as a remedy for social and economic inequalities in the society to pursue inclusive development, social protection programmes and safety nets serve as a tool to strengthen the resilience of marginalised individuals to socioeconomic shocks.
The extensive and multidimensional social protection system of India has served as an example for the rest of the globe. These programmes are anchored in welfarism, which focuses on making necessary services accessible, enhancing skills, creating opportunities, and guaranteeing a sustainable standard of life for all. The attention on the interplay between social and economic components of inequality enables us to implement social protection frameworks holistically. It highlights significant concerns regarding living comfort and sectoral consequences.
India's social fabric is extremely complex, with caste, class, and gender contradictions that intersect. To achieve balanced and equitable growth, policymakers must emphasise ensuring digital inclusion, financial inclusion, gender parity, and regional parity.