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The Indian Society has suffered from the menaces of social and economic inequalities, caste-based discrimination and purging of minorities for centuries. But the nation’s independencestruggle and its ultimate triumph remains the greatest testimony to the world of the power of apeople united in the spirit of nationalism. The Constitution of independent India is amanifestation of the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. An inclusive society was the visionof the makers of our constitution. But even after independence the perils of inequality anddiscrimination lingered on. The post-independence era witnessed the reemergence of these vices which had subsided during the independence struggle. Although attempts at tackling these were made in the form of social reform legislations, economic and social disparities continue to plague the society. Over the past two decades, India has made a successful transition from an economy that was growing at best at a moderate rate to one that has become one of the principal drivers of the global economy in the post–crisis phase. The GDP growth rate, the investment rate and the savings rate have steadily increased. The charm of high growth is, however, obliterated by the fact that the distribution of benefits arising from the growth dynamics is highly skewed. Large sections of the population are precluded from partaking in the benefits of the economic growth which is evidenced by the rising economic disparities. The lack of inclusion has two broad dimensions, economic and social, which analysts have pointed out, mutually reinforce each other. The most obvious manifestations of economic imbalances are the high incidences of poverty, wide income inequality and high rates of unemployment. These can be attributed to the inequality in access to essential services, particularly those related to education and health, which in turn is the result of social exclusion, “the process through which individuals or groups are wholly or partially excluded from full participation in the society in which they live” . Exclusion is thus both the cause and the effect. It is antithetic to ‘inclusive growth’, which is the “process that yields broad?based benefits and ensures quality of opportunity for all” as envisioned in the constitution particularly in the preamble, in chapter III and in the Directive Principles of State Policy.

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