The Hindu Editorial Summary

Topic 1: Human Development in India: A Cause for Concern

GS-1 ,GS-2 Mains Exam  : Society and Human Development 

Revision Notes

Question : Discuss the concerns raised by recent studies regarding rising income inequality in India and its impact on human development outcomes

 Income Inequality: A recent study shows a vast income gap in India. The top 1% earn an average of ₹5.3 million, while the average Indian earns ₹0.23 million (23 times less).

  • HDI Ranking: India’s performance in the Human Development Index (HDI) is not encouraging.
    • Ranked 134 out of 193 countries in 2022 (improvement from 135 in 2021).
    • Still falls behind Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and China (all in “medium human development” category).
  • Gender Gap: A positive development is the improvement in India’s Gender Inequality Index (108th in 2022 compared to 122nd in 2021).
  • Labor Force Participation: Despite the progress, India has a significant gender gap in workforce participation.
    • Women’s participation rate is just 28.3%, compared to 76.1% for men (a difference of 47.8%).

Concerns in Human Development

  • Rising Inequality: The report raises concerns about rising inequality and its implications for advancing human development.
  • Widening Gap Between Countries: The gap between countries at the top and bottom of the HDI has been increasing since 2020.
  • Economic Concentration: This divergence is compounded by substantial economic concentration, with nearly 40% of global trade concentrated in just three or fewer countries.
  • Income and Agency: The reports state that the share of people reporting high control over their lives is low and relatively equal for the bottom 50% of the population, but increases with income for higher deciles. This suggests income inequality shapes agency, and often intersects with other human development inequalities.

Widening Inequality in India

  • Unequal Income Distribution: The World Inequality Lab study shows that the bottom 50% of earners received only 15% of India’s national income in 2022-23.
  • Impact on Demand and Consumption: This stark income inequality has significant implications for aggregate demand, consumption, and human well-being in India.
  • Unequal Growth Rates: The real income growth rate across income percentiles shows that growth for the top 10% has been significantly higher than for the rest of the population.
  • Economic Polarization: When growth is concentrated at the top, economic polarization accelerates, eventually leading to the emergence of two classes: the haves and have-nots.
  • High Debt Levels: A recent report indicates that household debt levels in India reached a record high of 40% of GDP by December 2023, while net financial savings plunged to 5.2% of GDP.

The Way Forward

Given low human development levels, high inequality, low savings, and high debt, it’s time to consider an alternate growth strategy. This strategy should prioritize human development as a path to accelerating overall growth. This requires political will and a shift in thinking beyond short-term electoral gains.


Additional Information (Arora IAS)

Widening Inequality in India: Pros and Cons


  • Reduced aggregate demand: With a large portion of the population having low income, overall demand for goods and services falls, hindering economic growth.
  • Social unrest: Stark income inequality can breed social resentment and unrest, leading to instability.
  • Limited human development: Low resources for education, healthcare, and other essential services hinder overall human development.
  • Debt burden: Unequal income distribution may lead to high debt levels for the poor, further worsening their situation.

Pros (limited):

  • Short-term economic growth: Focus on high-income earners might initially boost specific sectors, but long-term sustainability is questionable.
  • Increased investment: High earners may invest more, potentially stimulating certain areas of the economy.

About Human Development Index (HDI

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite index that gauges the quality of life for people in a country. It considers three key dimensions:

  • Long and Healthy Life: Measured by life expectancy at birth.
  • Knowledge and Education: Takes into account adult literacy rate and average years of schooling.
  • Decent Standard of Living: Measured by Gross National Income (GNI) per capita based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

An HDI score between 0 and 1 reflects a country’s level of development. Higher scores indicate a better standard of living.



The Hindu Editorial Summary

Topic 2: The Era of Performance Politics

GS-2: Mains Exam  : Polity 

Revision Notes

Question : Examine the role of institutional mechanisms in institutionalizing the vision of competency-based politics, focusing on identifying skill gaps among elected officials and facilitating continuous learning through existing training institutions and collaborations with civil society organizations.


Focus on Competency in Political Discourse

  • Competency should be a core principle in political discussions.

India’s Vibrant Democracy

  • India’s democracy relies on elected representatives fulfilling the people’s mandate.
  • Over 41,000 elected officials formulate policy, address citizen concerns, and work on committees across central, state, and local levels.
  • While 75% of MPs and 64% of MLAs are graduates, effective governance requires a broader range of competencies.

Essential Competencies for Politicians

  • Behavioral Skills: Effective communication (written & verbal), public engagement, leadership, and negotiation are crucial for interacting with diverse stakeholders.
  • Functional Competencies: Understanding legislative and policy processes, and translating citizen grievances into actionable policy changes are essential.
  • Domain-Based Competencies: Specific expertise relevant to constituencies and portfolios is necessary. This includes:
    • Urban planning, transportation systems, public works, and sustainable infrastructure development.
    • Awareness of technological advancements and their impact on public services and economic growth.

Examples of Domain Expertise in Action

  • The Digital Personal Data Protection Act, National Health Policy, Mental Healthcare Act, and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rules all demonstrate the impact of domain knowledge.

Avoiding the Competency Trap

  • Overemphasis on specific skills shouldn’t stifle innovation and creativity needed for complex problem-solving.
  • We need to encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration among representatives with diverse backgrounds and expertise.

Institutionalizing the Vision

  • Identifying Skill Gaps: The Karmayogi Competency Model from Mission Karmayogi can be used to identify existing skill gaps among elected officials. This will involve consultation with citizens, domain experts, and the officials themselves to determine evolving training needs.
  • Facilitating Continuous Learning: Existing resources from central and state training institutions can be leveraged. These include:
    • Parliamentary Research and Training Institute for Democracies
    • National and State Institutes of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj
    • Integrated Government Online Training platform

Collaboration with civil society organizations like PRS Legislative Research, Participatory Research in Asia, and Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini can further support continuous learning.


  • Shifting Public Perception: The success of competency-based politics relies on a change in public perception. Citizens need to demand more from their representatives, holding them accountable for both promises made and the ability to deliver.
  • Competency as a Central Pillar: As we strive for a developed India, let’s make competency a core principle in political discourse. Effective leadership should not be an exception, but an expectation.



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