Menu Close

India Tomorrow part 5: economic growth, inequality and jobs

Part five of India Tomorrow takes a look at India’s economy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi rode to power in 2014 promising economic transformation. It was a key plank of his election campaign and this episode explores how he succeeded – and failed – to deliver on this front.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

We hear how India’s economy grew during Modi’s time in office. Kunal Sen, professor of development economics at the University of Manchester, tells us how Modi succeeded in reforming the Indian state and its ability to deliver public goods like sanitation, electricity and other important infrastructure.

Despite these successes, however, inequality is on the rise. Jens Lerche, reader in labour and agrarian studies at SOAS, says “if you take the top 1% of India’s population, they own more than half of all the wealth”. We discover which sections of society are not benefiting from India’s impressive growth figures.

We also find out how two major new policies – demonetisation and the goods and services tax – hurt a number of businesses. The withdrawal of all 500 and 1,000 rupee notes from circulation (demonetisation) and the bureaucracy that came with the new tax, led to some serious cash flow problems, with lots of people losing their jobs as a result. And when it comes to jobs, controversy over the country’s employment figures (the official data has been withheld) is a really hot topic in the national elections.

Last, we find out why tens of thousands of India’s farmers have been protesting. Nitya Rao, professor of gender and development at UEA, explains the background to India’s agrarian crisis. It long predates Modi’s tenure, but many farmers are angry at the current government for not delivering on reforms promised in the 2014 election campaign.

You can read the transcript of this episode here, and also find out more about past and upcoming episodes in our series episode guide.

Subscribe to our Anthill podcast newsletter to hear about new episodes as soon as they drop.


The Anthill is produced by Gemma Ware and Annabel Bligh. Editing by Alex Portfelix. Thank you to City, University of London’s Department of Journalism for letting us use their studios to record The Anthill.

Picture source: EPA-EFE/Divyakant Solanki

Music: Intervention by Lee Rosevere, Flying Cat & Sitar by Tranko, and Endeavour by Jahzzar all via Free Music Archive.

In Depth - Demonetisation, Rajya Sabha TV news clip.

Long Queues Continue In Banks & ATMs After One Month Of Demonetization, India Today news clip.

Protesting India farmers: ‘We want what we were promised’, BBC News clip.

What’s Ailing Rural India: Farmers Hold Mega March In Delhi, CNBC-TV18 clip.

Farmers Go On 10-Day Protest, ET Now clip.

Thousands Of Farmers Walk To Delhi, Mission Parliament Today NDTV clip.

Listen on Pocket Casts


Listen on TuneIn Listen on RadioPublic

Want to write?

Write an article and join a growing community of more than 161,500 academics and researchers from 4,586 institutions.

Register now