India’s Democracy at 70: Growth, Inequality, and Nationalism

Issue Date July 2017
Volume 28
Issue 3
Page Numbers 41-51
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Of late, Indian democracy has been confronted with a new political economy. Strong economic growth over the last three decades has generated the world’s fourth-largest collection of dollar billionaires and the third-largest middle class, both for the first time in Indian history, while still leaving the single largest concentration of the poor behind. In a democracy where the lower-income groups have come to vote as much as, or more than, the higher-income groups, the polity must find creative ways of walking on two legs: maintaining the momentum of economic growth while also taking care of mass welfare.