Justice Katju asked, if India's GDP is increasing then who is benefiting from it

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Growth in GDP

By Justice Markandey Katju

It is reported in today’s Times of India that India’s GDP growth in the January-March 2023 quarter was 7.2%, beating estimates, and higher than the previous estimate of 7%. The report referred to data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the Controller General of Accounts, and the statement of Chief Economic adviser, Mr V Anantha Nageswaran.

I have two things to say about such reports :

(1) I am always sceptical about the accuracy of such reports, especially when they come from sources close to the government.

(2) Even assuming these reports are correct, and that the Indian GDP is indeed growing, the question to be asked is : who is getting the fruits of this growth ? Is it the Indian masses, or just a handful of big businessmen and foreign corporations ?

There is massive poverty, unemployment, child malnourishment, lack of proper healthcare & good education, etc in our country among the masses. Has the alleged GDP growth made even a dent on this ? I am afraid the truthful answer is no. Then of what use is such GDP growth to the people of India ?

It is reported that 7 individuals in India own wealth equal to the wealth owned by the bottom half of India’s 1400 million population. So whom has the growth in GDP benefited ?

Global Hunger Index, a reputed international agency, has reported that half of Indian children are malnourished, many being wasted and stunted, and India has slipped from position number 101 to 107 out of 121 countries surveyed, and is behind neighbouring countries. Of what use is GDP growth to our hungry children ? Do they need food to eat, or GDP growth ?

Unemployment is rising in India, and has reached record levels. If 100 govt jobs of peons are advertised, there are usually 5-10 lac applicants, some even having Ph.D, M.Sc, MBA or engineering degree. So what have our youth, who want jobs, got to do with GDP growth ?

The real test of every political and economic activity is one, and only one : does it raise the standard of living of the people ? Does it give them better lives ?

I am afraid rise in GDP proves nothing, and is useless for the people, though talking of it may be a good diversionary technique to divert the people’s attention from the real issues.


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