Inequalities of income opportunity in a hilly state: a study of Uttarakhand

Inequalities of income opportunity in a hilly state: a study of Uttarakhand

The Indian economy has grown at a fast pace in the recent past and this has resulted in optimism on most fronts. In such a milieu however, it is extremely important to ensure that all sections of the population share the fruits of this success. The Constitution of India in its Preamble guarantees the Equality of Status and of Opportunity to all the citizens and also prohibited any form of discrimination in its Article 15. Yet, inequality in income opportunities has been a common feature of the Indian economy and society.

This paper examines the sources of inequality of income opportunity in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, majority of which are in hilly areas and present daunting challenges for both agriculture and industry. It is based on data collected from a survey over three clusters in disparate geographical regions of the state

The econometric analyses show that the rural sector lags in household income opportunities not just due to lesser access to educational opportunities, but also due to non-educational factors, and because the same education provides unequal incomes between the sectors. The analysis also reveals other sources of inequality such as the age and gender composition of the households. Moreover the implications of such factors vary between hilly and plain areas.

The study highlights the need to address the quality of education and to design policies specific to regional demands.

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