It is important to point out in the India’s growth story the fact about its social reach in terms of economic progress is remarkably limited. It is not only the inequality in the distribution of income (a common feature that China shares with India), but also the remarkable rise in the real wages of the working class in China which is contrary to that of India which has stagnant real wages. India has always been lacking in terms of channelizing its resources in the right direction. The rising revenues from the public sector have not been used in a planned way for the expansion of physical and social infrastructure in India.
This is a major reason why China has left India far behind. There is also a lack of interest and participation from the population and government in terms of provision of social services like safe drinking water and sanitation, proper health care facilities and a healthy environment. While India has overtaken China and other countries in terms of real income, but when it comes to provision of these social indicators, India has not been able to overtake many countries across the world, not even in South Asia.
India has made significant leaps in terms of GDP growth with China. But while measuring the growth of the social indicators like literacy, longevity of individuals, maternal mortality and child undernourishment, India is yet to make a lot of progress. Nepal and Bangladesh have been catching up in terms of the growth of social indicators (including education of girls, immunization, and infant mortality) in spite of their per capita GDP being just 1/3rd of that of India. India has been trying hard to climb the ladder of income inequality, but has not been able to catch up on the slope of social deprivations. There is work to be done both in the areas of reducing the inequalities and enhancing the standard of living of the people along with maintaining the pace of economic growth.
According to the estimates of World Bank, in 2010, it was estimated that more than 400 million people were living on less than 1.25 USD per day in India among the 1.3 billion people worldwide. The World Bank revised its method for calculation of poverty in 2014 and it was reported that there are 872.3 million people below the poverty line throughout the world. Out of this, 179.6 million people belong to India. Also, one of the latest reports of UNICEF reported that India witnessed approximately 61 million chronically malnourished children who are under the age of 5 years in 2010-11. Since time without beginning, various schemes for poverty alleviation have been undertaken but have not been fully successful in its purpose.