What India really needs: A mass uprising to ensure inclusive economic growth

The focus on the country’s middle class ignores the problems of the millions in the informal sector.

In 2001, Jim O’Neill, a British economist working with Goldman Sachs, first coined the acronym BRIC to identify the four rapidly growing economies at the heart of the shift in the global economic power – Brazil, Russia, India and China. Pivotal to the growth of these economies was the growing middle-class population in these countries, a segment of people with upward economic mobility, increasing spending power and growing aspirations.

In India, the rise of the middle-class has caught the fancy of economists, educationists, developmental organisations, industrialists and politicians alike. The most common narratives about the middle class continue to be that many of them are young (so provide a large talent pool and workforce), have growing incomes (and significant spending power) and the ability to influence the outcome of economic and political strategies.

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