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JSPES, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Spring 2017)
pp. 3–29

Nature and Intensity of Inter-State Inequality in India: The Post-Reform Experience

Deepak Kumar Behera

National Institute of Technology, Patna

Since obtaining independence from British rule in 1947, the central government of India has attempted to reduce the economic disparities that historically characterized the diverse States that now fell under its control. However, because all parts of the country are not equally well endowed with the physical and human resources needed to take advantage of growth opportunities, these disparities have actually increased, causing concern regarding the sustainability of continued growth. The author surveys the nature and intensity of these disparities and highlights the extent to which successive Five Year Plans have been effective in reducing inter-state disparity and shows how development outcomes, in terms of the social and human development indicators, do not match the resources available within each State, be they financial or natural. While there is no blueprint of how to bring the poorer States to the level of the more prosperous States, efforts can certainly be made to encourage the poorer States to use their resources more effectively and to encourage them to create a business environment that is attractive to private investment.