The Political Economy of Being ‘Modern’ in 21st Century India
This chapter examines the complex interaction between economic modernization and social structures in India, and argues that the Indian story of capitalist accumulation and development cannot be understood without recognizing the role of ‘traditional’ forms of social hierarchy, exclusion, and discrimination. The implications of the varying interaction of exclusion and inclusion in economic policies and of public service delivery in India create some peculiar, unique and yet fundamental features of the Indian modernization. ‘Modern’ ideas like the Universal Basic Income are also distorted by their situation in the unequal Indian context. Finally, ‘modern’ technology and its uses in India, assume particular significance because of the recent obsession with digitization that has come to symbolize the goal of modernization among the ruling groups and the aspirational middle classes, yet its impact may once again be unequal and even divisive.
KeywordsModernization Industrialization Informal economy Caste Gender New technology
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