Report on 2015 HINDAS 5th Regular Seminar
Date: 1:00~3:20pm, Saturday, December 12th, 2015
Venue: Large Conference room, 1F, Faculty of Letters, Hiroshima University
Dr. Keshab Das
（Professor, Gujarat Institute of Development Research, Ahmedabad, India）
"Interrogating Inclusive Growth in India:Reforms and the Regions"
The central concern of the talk was to provide a broad overview of growth performance during the last quarter century of economic reforms across major sectors and policy initiatives and to examine if, how and how far these have influenced the poor and marginalized in the society at the state level. The empirical core of the presentation had been beyond using the usual poverty and employment statistics. The presentation underscored the rise of regional disparities and aggravation of rural urban poverty since the 1990s. In terms of specific sectors as health, education and overall physical infrastructural endowment the poorer states were evidently laggards suggesting the serious deficiencies in the macro policy processes during the reforms. At a spatial level, while the eastern and central regions continued to remain the most disadvantaged regions with high incidence of poverty and unemployment, it is no surprise to find that these areas have a high concentration of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe population, low access to human development opportunities and are also, in parts, are afflicted by the Naxalite uprising. The disturbing incidences of thousands of farmers committing suicides also reflect the challenges facing inclusive growth for the rural poor, especially, dependent upon agriculture as livelihood option.
The two hopeful developments have been the policy provision of income security as a right associated with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or MGNREGA (despite several limitations including a reduction in central funds allocated to it) and the fast rise in mobile phone and internet access by a growing population including the poor and those disadvantaged by spatial infirmities.
As participation of the poor and socially marginalized in process of growth was as important as their being beneficiaries in the same, towards attaining inclusive growth it was proposed to draw policy attention to energise the non-farm sector, invest in basic infrastructure and also promoting an innovative ethos even in the so called traditional sectors. Strengthening and broad-basing human capital would remain the key to inclusive growth efforts.