Unequal Access to Skill Development Detrimental to India’s Growth Story

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Unless we address the issue of inequality, the entire dream of India becoming a 10 Trillion economy will remain an elusive goal, said Prof. Kundu, Professor Emeritus at L. J. University, Ahmadabad.

Pervez Bari | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – “At present share of India in the global economy is only 8 per cent of the 18 per cent of the total population share of the world. However, by 2050 Indian share will be 29 per cent. It will be a much larger economy, even larger than China. This has been endorsed by Asian Development Bank, (ADB), and World Bank.

“However, if the two critical assumptions such as equal access to all in Labour Market and equality in Skill Development are not made available to different social groups, then certainly the dream projection of a most powerful nation would not be achieved. For this, labour market access has to be given to all men & women, SCs and non-SCs, STs & non-STs, all religious minorities, etc. Similarly, in Skill Development, if inequality among various social groups is not minimised, then the projected growth will not be accomplished”.

The above observations were made by well-known intellectual Amitabh Kundu, Professor Emeritus at L. J. University, Ahmedabad, while delivering a lecture here on “Challenges faced by Minorities in the Current World Scenario, Focusing on Indian Muslims” organised by an established think-tank, the Institute of Objective Studies (IOS).

India to overtake China in GDP

Prof. Kundu, a retired JNU faculty and Chairman of the Post-Sachar Evaluation Committee, said that India is certainly looking up. It will overtake China in terms of share in GDP. However, there are some catches and assumptions. Putting up a mathematical model ADB in Manila said 21st Century belongs to Asia, to India. This has been predicted by economists, he said.

According to the late Angus Madison, the Economic historian, Asia’s share in the economy was 58 percent in 1700. But continuously and sharply sliding it came down to 12 percent in 1961. While as per Bloomberg Foundation analysis the projection now is that by 2050, Asia’s share would reach 50 percent. Indian recovery is much sharper as it is doing much better than most of the Asian countries except one or two. Our income growth has become better than even China. If we are able to maintain the growth momentum with our structural parameters being very much strong, India will certainly be going to come up, he said.

He said in the last 7-8 years or a little earlier than this, the HDI (Human Development Index) has not been growing well as it was growing two decades ago prior to this. The UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) brings out reports of HDI every year where it is now seen that India’s growth is very less while that of other countries it has become half. Earlier, India’s growth used to increase by 2 percent, but now, it is less than 1 percent.

India dropped to rank 132 in 191 countries in the 2021 HDI report. It has registered a decline in two years in a row – 2020 and 2021. It is a matter of concern. There are three things that come under HDI viz. (i) Education, (ii) Health and (iii) Average Income. Inequality in access to Education and Skill Development is very high and unless we address it on priority, the whole dream of India becoming a 10 Trillion economy will remain an elusive goal, he opined.

Education among Muslims up

Meanwhile, Prof. Kundu revealed that the rate of education among Muslims has increased, but the rate of education of women is very low. Even today the dropout rate among Muslim girls is very high, he pointed out. He said that Muslims have the highest dropout rate in education, 50 percent of it is due to economic hardship, and the rate of the economy is not good for Muslims. In rural areas, the overall situation of Muslims has improved as compared to Dalits and OBCs. Death of children from age 0 to 5 years is less among Muslims.

The lecture was presided over by IOS vice-chairman Dr. Afzal Wani. It should be noted that this lecture was organised on the occasion of the General Assembly meeting of the IOS.

In the meeting, the past performance of IOS was reviewed, the name decided by the Committee for Lifetime Achievement Award was confirmed; the report of Shah Waliullah Award was presented. It was decided to further increase research activities in the coming years.

On the occasion, three IOS books were released viz. Maulana Manazir Ahsan Geelani, Life and Services, Islamic Economy: Sources and Debates and History, Status of Madrasas in India, Famous Women of Islam, Hazrat Aisha.

In the meeting, services and activities of the IOS Centre for General Studies Calicut, IOS Centre for Historical and Cultural Education Aligarh, Mujaddadi IOS Centre for Art and Culture Centre, New Delhi were reviewed.

IOS Chairman Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, Prof. Z M Khan, General Secretary, Vice-Chairman Dr. Afzal Wani, Assistant General Secretary Prof. Hasina Hashiya, Prof. Jamaluddin, offline and online members from all over the country participated in the meeting.

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Cover photo: Prof. Amitabh Kundu delivering lecture on the impact of inequality on the national economy

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