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Inclusive Growth

Imbalance between Political fantasy and Business Sustainability

Our nation has risen from the dark colonial and the equally dark socialist era. We have finally
come to face that the only feasible alternative for survival, leave aside growth, in this
competitive world is opening our gates to the world. India has witnessed spectacular growth rates
over the past decade marking a welcome departure from the infamous ‘Hindu growth rate’. But
we are still torn between the two India: India and Bharat. While the economy of India has been
growing rapidly, it is also the case that progress has differed widely across states, across regions
within states, and among different people and social groups. Genuine concern for these gaps does
not suggest a focus on the redistribution of income (which, at least rhetorically, drove many of
the policies that led to neither rapid growth nor income redistribution).

Dipak Dasgupta, lead economist with the World Bank, points out "While India’s top students at
the best educational institutions are setting global standards, many, if not most of the country’s
children, leave government primary schools with few basic skills. While we have "medical
tourism" from abroad, most primary health centres do not function well. While the Tatas and
Mittals are acquiring global companies, our villages lack most of the basic amenities.”

Politics rather than economics seem to have guided India’s policies so far. Populist measures
score more votes than economically sound ones; hence we are loaded with schemes after
schemes offering freebies without considering the long run effect on the economic equilibrium of
the nation. But it is not to humble the positive effects some of these schemes have had over the
Bharat of our nation. Growth of a nation is a complex thing; growth has no meaning if it is
witnessed by only a select stratum of society. Government has been toiling hard to spread the
fruit of 8-9% GDP growth to even the most remote strata.

Our research paper looks at what is inclusive growth made of, what have been the political
factors, forces and ideals that brought this issue to forefront. We critically analyze the role
government has been playing, what has worked and what has not. We review the limited role the
private sector has played so far and the role that we see in future. The paper reviews the rationale

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for private sectors involvement and addresses the question ‘If it makes business sense for the
corporate to be involved in orchestrating the equitable growth story of India?’

Inclusive Growth: An in-depth look

Inclusive growth is often used interchangeably with a suite of other terms, including ‘broad-
based growth’, ‘shared growth’, and ‘pro-poor growth’. Inclusive growth is about raising the
pace of growth and enlarging the size of the economy, while leveling the playing field for
investment and increasing productive employment opportunities.

Features of Inclusive growth:

• People contribute to and benefit from economic growth


• broad-based across sectors (except in case of specific economic conditions fro ex- small
states like British Virgin Islands are based totally on Tourism and Financial Industry)
• inclusive of the large part of the country’s labor force
• both the pace and pattern (sustainability) of growth need to be addressed together
• focus is on productive employment rather than on direct income redistribution
• extent to which the current employment status of an individual has a potential for future
income growth

Overall, the available literature is divided between two concepts of Inclusive growth

a) Whether the benefits reach the poor and

b) Whether the benefits reach the poor proportionately more than it reaches the non-poor.

In other words, by the first definition, growth is inclusive as long as it reduces poverty, while by
second definition; growth is inclusive only if it reduces poverty more than it increases the
incomes of the non-poor.

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Political Fantasy: Garibi Hatao to Inclusive Growth

At the time of independence 50% of our nation’s population was below poverty line. ‘Roti,
Kapda aur Makaan’ were the need of the hour. Upliftment for all came to be the political slogan
of our politicians. Our constitution proclaimed India to be a Socialist state. One of the major
steps introduced at the early stage included a time bound reservation for backward caste
population so as to expedite their upliftment. The measure introduced by Jawahar Lal Nehru
became the face of Indian politics and has since been a part of many controversies. This socialist
outlook led to a tight control on the running of businesses by the government. Government
determined how much was to be produced, at what cost and by whom. This moderate growth
period saw a lot of incentives being doled out for poor people including the PDS (public
distribution system), subsidies on agriculture, education programs being launched etc. But as the
country itself was not recording substantial growth, the lower rung was also lagging behind. But
ineffective plans and schemes were rarely withdrawn or corrected as these guaranteed a fixed
vote bank for the governments.
"Garibi Hatao" - the magical slogan that transformed a pathetic and indifferent political mood
towards the Congress - was, in Indira Gandhi's perception, a means of putting more purchasing
power into the pockets of the needy, while not seriously impairing the income and wealth of the
classes that funded the Congress. Expenditures on the Garibi Hatao programmes had begun
rising from 1970-71 onwards, though the significant magnitudes of increase began in 1971-72.
Largely as a consequence of this and the hostilities on the eastern frontier in 1971, the budget
deficit of the Union Government grew from the perfectly manageable figure of 0.12 per cent in
1969-70 to an alarming level of 1.83 per cent of gross domestic product i n 1972-73. Clearly,
Garibi Hatao was not being financed through a genuine effort at redistribution through taxation,
since any rate increases that were decreed, were just as easily evaded. Rather, the poverty
eradication effort came to be premised upon a massive creation of fictitious money through the
budget deficit. In the Budget for 1973-74, the outlays on poverty eradication programmes were
further raised, though by a more modest magnitude than in preceding years. This was clearly a
signal from Indira Gandhi to her constituency among the poor that their interests were not about
to be abandoned at the first sign of political and economic turbulence.  

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Lately, UPA govt. which claims to be aam admi ki sarkar (government of the common people)
has incorporated Inclusive growth in its policy framework including the 11th 5 Year plan,
NREGA etc. This political effort has been the best orchestrated among the many previous
political moves aimed at the same.  

India’s Report Card

India’s average growth performance conceals very different growth experiences across states.
Before the 1980s, growth rates were low—at most 2 percent a year over the decade—in all states
other than the Green Revolution states of Haryana and Punjab and the state of Maharashtra.
Growth was also extremely volatile, particularly in the lower-income states. The first stirrings of
reform in the 1980s signaled a change in orientation of government from direct control on
private activity to lifting of controls and restrictions. This led to a marked acceleration in growth
in nearly every major state, more so in the slower-growing states, so that the dispersion in growth
rates across states decreased. Deeper and more comprehensive reforms introduced in the 1990s
were accompanied by a significant shift in growth patterns—in part, because average growth
accelerated even further. But the truly dramatic shift was the large gap that emerged in growth
rates between states.
Sharp differentiation across states since the early 1990s reflects acceleration of growth in some
states but deceleration in others. High-growth performers were a mixed group, spread between
rich states (e.g., Gujarat, Maharashtra) and middle-income states (e.g., Karnataka, Kerala, and
West Bengal) and fairly well distributed regionally. Growth slowed down in the richer
northwestern states of Haryana and Punjab, reflecting a marked slowdown in agricultural growth.
More worryingly, growth failed to pick up in states such as Bihar, Orissa, and Uttar Pradesh that
were initially poor to start with, with the result that the gap in performance between India’s rich
and poor states widened dramatically during the 1990s

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Figure : Growth accelerated in nearly all states in the 1980s, but gaps widened dramatically in
the 1990s. Decadal growth of per capita gross domestic product in Indian states, by income
group or region, 1970s to 1990s.

Source: World Bank Report “India- Inclusive Growth and Service delivery: Building on India’s
Success, Development Policy Review”

Average Decadal Growth Rates of Per Capita Gross State Domestic Product

6   5.5  
4.8  
5  

4   3.5  
3.1   1970s  
2.8   2.7   2.7  
Growth   3   2.5  2.5   2.5  
1980s  
Rate  (%)  
2   1990s  
1  
1  
0.1  
0  
Low   Medium   North-­‐High   West-­‐High  

Low-income states include Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
Medium-income states include Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and West
Bengal. North-High includes Punjab and Haryana, and West-High refers to Gujarat and
Maharashtra.

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Change in Growth Rates of Per Capita GSDP across decades

2.5  
2.4  
2.5  
2  
2   1.8  

1.5  
0.9  
Growth   1   70s  to  80s  
Rate  (%)   0.4   80s  to  90s  
0.5  
0  
0  
Low   Medium   North-­‐High   West-­‐High  
-­‐0.5  

-­‐1  
-­‐1  

In order to assess India’s performance against inclusive growth, one has to revisit the two
definitions of inclusive growth, first being absolute poverty reduction, and second being poverty
reduction relative to the change in the incomes of non-poor.

By the first definition, India may have performed quite remarkably in the last two decades, but
the magnitude of the change is hotly debated. By the second definition, India’s performance
against inclusive growth becomes even murkier and is at best lackluster. The most commonly
used indicator of income inequality is the Gini Coefficient, which measures the distribution of
income across different quintiles of population.
1) Inequality in India is not among the highest in the world,
2) there is wide disparity of inequality among different Indian states and
3) income inequality in India has increased both at an overall level as well in almost all of
the states both for urban and rural areas.

Those who see the current focus on Inclusive Growth as a return of the Gandhian vision of
“wiping every tear from every eye” conclude that while India “has managed relatively well the

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task of achieving growth, it has failed miserably in linking growth with social justice, equity and
elimination of poverty.”

However, such an outcome is not surprising. Reforms entail unequal payoff to economic agents.
People with more skill stand to gain more compared to those with less skill sets. In the present
context, the contribution of services sector to national income (GDP) is around 55 per cent,
followed by manufacturing (26.4 per cent of GDP) and agriculture sector (18 per cent of GDP).

A more equitable income distribution would require a scenario with more people earning their
livelihood from agricultural sector and less people earning their livelihood from the services
sector.

The present situation, however, is quite the opposite. Around, 58.6 per cent of the Indian
population earns its livelihood from agricultural and agricultural-related allied activities (such as
cooperatives, fishing, dairies, etc.) compared to less than 10 per cent dependent on organized
services sector.

What is more worrying is that this inequality is going to increase as the agricultural sector is now
growing at an annual rate of 2.6 per cent (from a lower base of 18 per cent growth) compared to
services growing at 11 per cent (from a higher base of 55 per cent growth). There are too many
people locked into the farm sector (with lower productivity and hence lower income) and there is
an urgent need to absorb them either into manufacturing or into services sector (with higher
productivity and hence higher income).

For an aam aadmi, the common man, it is easier to get a job in the manufacturing sector relative
to the services sector — specifically, IT-enabled or business type services such as finance and
insurance. However, India’s growth story is predominantly revolving around the growth of the
services sector.

We leapfrog into services without adequately developing our manufacturing base. What China
can do with relative ease — siphoning off labour from agriculture to the less skill intensive
manufacturing sector — is less doable for India. The keyword, therefore, is adequate skill

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formation; to be more precise, creating an environment for developing capabilities in terms of
education and health.

BOP Market

The most hotly debated business idea in recent times is the idea of 'fortune at the bottom of the
pyramid'. Its originator Prof C K Prahalad points out that two thirds of the world is poor, and not
being served well by the existing market economy, which has been designed for the rich.

The poor either are unable to access many products and services because they are priced beyond
their reach, thanks to the business economics prevalent; or they effectively end up paying far
more for them than the rich do - either because of the price penalty that exists in today's market
for the buyer of miniscule quantities or because they are served by the unorganized sector,
comprising many layers of usurious middle men.

He makes the case that that large numbers of poor people that exist in the world actually
represent an enormous and lucrative potential market, which businesses can profitably address, if
they think innovatively about their business models and business economics. The message of
"profit from the poor" has caused a storm of protest in certain development sector circles, leading
to debates about whether the poor should be thought of as mere consumers or also as producers.
The answer of course is that thinking of the poor as consumers does not preclude them from
being thought of as producers.

Rationale for businesses not to enter BOP market

There are many reasons why the BOP market has failed to integrate with the growing economy.
The BOP population, both as consumers and producers, is mainly rural and lacks infrastructure,
financial services, communications, electricity, and access to clean water, education, and basic
health services. It faces difficulties in accessing new technology, and its activities are largely
informal in nature, preventing proper access to resources. A large number of the BOP population
does not have title to their land, dwellings, or other property. Most do not have crucial
information such as on prices, or access to markets for their labor or produce, and much of the

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value of what they produce gets captured by middlemen. They also pay a poverty penalty—
paying higher prices or receiving lower quality for goods and services.
The BOP approach (propagated by C.K.Prahlad) tries to overcome these constraints by
addressing policy and institutional barriers and by fostering new business models with product
and process innovations in order to enable the BOP market to function more efficiently and
productively on commercial lines. Areas with some initial successes are commercial
microfinance (Grameen Bank) , commercial micro health insurance,and mobile telephony. There
has been little headway made in other promising areas such as private water distribution
(Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board), off-grid electric supply.
.
Private enterprises (including small and medium-sized enterprises -SMEs) in the formal sector
have left the BOP sector relatively underserved due to perceptions of the high risk involved in
addressing the BOP segment.

This perception of high risk is attributed due to following factors


• Virgin Market
• High Infrastructural Set up cost
• Low per unit revenue
• High time for returns to accrue
• Presence of low risk Urban market

BOP Market- The Sanjeevi

BOP market is proving to be the saving grace for many sectors due to its high numbers and a
huge combined income. Sectors like FMCG, and Telecom already owe substantial revenues to
the BOP market; whereas Banking expects its next wave of boom to be from rural segments.
Idea cellular a late entrant in the GSM market is reporting 45% of new connections being added
are from rural sector.

Microfinance is the kind of Business Model innovation that is necessary to succeed in the BOP
set up

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PROPOSED APPROACH

As the outcome of this research paper we are proposing approaches that can provide a
framework for private sector as well as government for their endeavors in the BOP
market.

Approach for Private Sector

Whenever a business enters an area, these affects are seen on the socio-economic environment
• Infrastructural upliftment
• Employment Opportunities
• Technological transformation
• Business for Suppliers (which typically come from nearby areas)

It is like having four times the effect that government efforts will have. Thus much better than
government trying to make inclusive growth happen is to have private sector or atleast the PSUs
involved in running businesses in BOP market itself.
This leads to
a) Self sustaining model
b) Automatic check on efficient use of finance and resources

Creating Sustainable Businesses

• Inclusive growth as a part of Business Model and not CSR: One only has to do a
simple google search to realize that Inclusive growth is still perceived to be a social
favour being done by organizations (search for inclusive growth and corporate and it take
you to the CSR page of these companies). Organisations have to wake up to the fact that
they will have to build the customers for tomorrow and the only way to do that is to go
rural, approach the virgin BOP market. Establishing schools and hospitals in villages is
allright but the real impact, for both BOP segment and corporate will come when
companies include the BOP segment as a part of their business models. ICICI has been a

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frontrunner is doing CSR activities but the real growth came when they actually entered
the rural market with their products.
• Understand rural socio-economic set up: Micro Finance has witnessed such a growth
with almost zero risk due to understanding the social settings in the rural set up. They
form a SHG (Self Help Group) comprising village members and this SHG as a group
lends to individuals. Rural people are socially averse to debt, providing this debt through
known people (who are many times extended family members) addresses their
apprehension to take debt and also virtually guarantees the repayment
• Address a need to Build Loyalty: ITC eChoupal has been such a success as it
understood the need of proving information on prices to villagers. This led to immediate
acceptance and substantial loyalty experienced by ITC
• Enter with a lean structure: As BOP operations can’t be expected generate huge
revenue per customer and also BOP market will take time to accept and give returns; the
wise thing to do is to enter with a very lean organization structure. This lean structure
should
a) Keep infrastructural cost down
b) Involve the BOP customers/producers
c) Leverage human capital which is the biggest asset of Rural India
d) Utilize simple yet effective technology

Approach for Government

• Financial Inclusion

Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) were typically the equivalent of regional rural banks.
They understood the dynamics of the population, the culture within a radius of 200-300 km. But,
in one swoop, we wiped out 45,000 of those. Today, we are trying to build micro-finance
institutions to deliver credit to the same set of people. Because of some unethical activities a
whole industry was canned.

NBFCs are a small number, which are still, a significant business model which is that of a
wholesaler-retailer—banks being the wholesalers and NBFCs being the retailers—you can reach

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credit to the far corners of the country. But, the will has to be there. …there are enough
regulatory mechanisms in place to make sure that the companies behave. They are no more or no
less honest than any other business.

FLCCC (financial literacy and credit counseling cell) was first suggested by Mr Bhatt, MD of
India Overseas Bank and could act as the lean operational entity present in BOP markets as the
frontend for banks

We should start forming small groups because what’s happening in the majority of the (cases
where) small loans (are extended), if one activity becomes successful in a village, everybody
wants to go for that. For example, a cycle shop if one person becomes successful (in running a
cycle shop), then you have a number of people who want to go for a cycle shop. And, ultimately,
the person who was doing well also fails. So, the formation of the group, identification of the
activities you can’t take in that particular village (are the first steps in a financial inclusion
process).

• Encourage Mini Businesses


Mini Businesses are the best way to increase employment as well as create a healthy local
economy.

• Pvt-Public Partnership
PSUs have been loaded with the task of being the executioner for most of the government’s
schemes in the rural sector. And at places where there was a commitment from Pvt sector players
to enter rural market (ex: telecom infrastructure), they have not been able to fulfill them. But
sector specific private public partnerships will work well if both the sides have something to
bring to the table. The BOP approach will need strong public–private partnerships initially to
succeed. At present, knowledge about ways to develop the BOP market is insufficient and the
BOP approach does not figure prominently in strategies for development. While most countries
are aware of the need to promote SMEs, more knowledge is needed about better ways to engage
the private sector in the BOP sector. While studies have shown the size and potential of this
market globally, they need to be followed up at the regional level to demonstrate BOP
opportunities for the private sector and enable countries to adopt appropriate strategies, policies,

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and institutions to encourage development in the BOP sector. Such an approach can use the
intellectual capital and global knowledge of best practices available, as well as profit from
regional best practices.

• Relook at NREGA
NREGA has been classified as a moderate success. But the budget deficit it accompanies is a real
dampener. We suggest that NREGA workforce which is utilized many a times for repetitive
employment could be made into a feeder for various government, PSU and Pvt-Public projects.
This would lead to lower burden on government and also skill development

• Skill Development
Carrying the previous point forward, Government expenditure should be directed towards sectors
such as primary education, where social return is higher than private return.
To increase productivity, there is also reason to invest in health. Indeed, government with
all good intention have increased allocation of funds from Rs 34,927 crore in 2005-06 to
Rs 50,015 in 2006-07 for its eight flagship projects on health, education, water supply and
national rural employment guarantee (NREG) schemes. However, the results in form of
outcomes are not satisfying. recent economic growth and resulting job opportunities have only
been created in the non-agricultural sectors of the economy, primarily the industries and off late
the services sector. Unfortunately, these new job opportunities are not available to rural
population due to their lack of education and the required skills.

“Trickle Down” economic theory will not work for India’s rural poor as they do not have
required skills to benefit from country’s economic resurgence which is driven primarily by
growth in industry and service sectors.

Getting uneducated & unskilled rural folks to migrate and work in urban growth centres (where
employment opportunities are available) is not a solution as most of them do not have required
skills and end-up doing manual labour which earns them meagre amounts. This amount may be
enough for two square meals but it certainly can’t afford them any urban comforts and amenities

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i.e. shelter, sanitation and potable water. They end-up becoming slum dwellers. In villages at
least they have roof over their head and clean air/water.

Public policy experts have been trying their best to increase the income of the people in the rural
areas by providing subsidies for agriculture and related inputs. However, irrespective of money
spent on these efforts, rural poverty will remain as agriculture income alone can not sustain rural
population even with much higher productivity levels given meagre land holdings of farmers in
most of the states. Various efforts such as khadi and cottage industries have not been successful
due to lack of forward integration, such as branding and marketing.

There is a need to look at local skills, if any, and devise various projects based on these skills to
supplement agricultural income without rural population having to leave their villages. Local
skill development could be undertaken in the areas of handlooms, handicrafts, community dairy,
poultry farming, bee-keeping, fishery, piggery, food processing, community farming of cash
crops and through other related income supplementing opportunities.

• SME, Entrepreneurship & Social Entrepreneurship


Focus on the SME sector (including SMEs in the agriculture sector) where the potential is
highest and the support is most needed. Among factors providing an edge to SMEs are
(i) suitable scale to viably address BOP markets, and
(ii) better ability—through working with NGOs and community organizations—to
organize BOP producers. Large enterprises inclined to tap the BOP market can do so
using the larger resources at their command; many have already begun doing so.

Entrepreneurs seeking to address the BOP sector face many challenges, including insufficiently
conducive business environments, lack of knowledge of available technologies or business skills,
and difficulty in obtaining finance. Enterprise development activities which identify potential
BOP enterprises to help them develop viable business models, provide information about
technologies, build business skills, and then, through a structured process, bring them into
contact with investors, can address many such challenges. Studies reveal that successful BOP
strategies (i) focus on meeting the BOP segment’s specific needs through new approaches; (ii)
localize value creation through franchising, building local systems of vendors or suppliers, or
treating the community as a customer (all involving capacity-building efforts); (iii) enable access

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to goods and services by the BOP segment financially (such as single-use packaging), or
physically through new distribution strategies; and (iv) involve unconventional partnering with
governments, NGOs, and stakeholders.

Financing: A major constraint facing SME financing for the BOP sector is a perception of high
risk. Although private equity investors and commercial financiers interested in investing in
SMEs exist (particularly in some of the middle- or near middle-income countries in Asia), they
do not possess adequate information on viable BOP enterprises. Thus, currently there is little
finance available for SMEs catering to the BOP sector. The existence of a viable project pipeline
may reduce the risks of such financing. There may still be need to establish further risk reduction
mechanisms, such as guarantees or dedicated investment funds, to remove the hesitation in the
market and catalyze such financing. This project expects to address these issues.

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To conclude our case we conclude by looking at two of the most successful BOP Models

Anand Model and Grameen Bank

Verghese Kurien, the father of the 'white revolution' in India, innovated the concept of social
business in this country through the 'Anand Model', a vertically integrated three-tier self-
generative system for cooperative dairy development. He successfully established a commodity
like milk as an instrument for socio-economic development. The impact that Anand Model was
able to make is very similar to the economic theory canvassed by economist Jeffrey Sachs three
decades later.

Sachs, professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia's School of International and Public


Affairs, authored a seminal work "The End of Poverty" in 2005 in which he claimed the right
policies and key interventions can eradicate extreme poverty in 20 years. He suggests that an
improved input significantly increases the income of subsistence farmers, thereby reducing
poverty. He does not believe that increased aid is the only solution; he supports establishing
credit and micro loan programmes that are lacking in impoverished areas.

Across the globe there is a realization that consistent economic growth has done precious little to
reduce the actual extent of deprivation in the world. World Development Report 2008 mentions
850 million people as undernourished and chronically food insecure; leading to death of 2.8
million children and three million women annually in the developing world. The recent financial
meltdown too has added about 200 million to the list of poor globally.

These facts highlight the need for a greater inclusiveness in the determination of growth
processes to combat the increasing global poverty levels. No wonder that global leaders are
refocusing their efforts to create a participatory base, encompassing every section of the society
in the growth process. Inclusive growth implies an equitable distribution of resources and its
accruing benefits for every section of the society.

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Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel laureate from Bangladesh, purported the need for business models
that recognize the multidimensional nature of human beings; 'Social Business' as he terms it
provides everyone with a fair chance to unleash their energy and creativity. Designed to operate
as a normal business enterprise with the exception of the principal of profit maximization, which
is replaced with the principal of social benefit, he set about to make a change. He believes once a
social objective driven project overcomes the gravitation of financial dependency, it is ready for
space flight.

Word Count: 4806 words

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References

• ADB Technical Assistance Report 2008, “Promoting Inclusive Growth through Business
Development at the Base of the Pyramid”.
• World  Bank  2006,  “India
• Inclusive Growth and Service delivery: Building on India’s Success”.
• HERMAN MULDER 2008, “INCLUSIVE GROWTH NEEDS AN INCLUSIVE
ARCHITECTURE”.
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Center for Research on Economic Development and Policy Reform, Stanford University.
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Economic and Political Weekly.
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• Banerjee, A. and T. Piketty. 2005. “Are the Rich Growing Richer? Evidence from Indian Tax
Data.” In A. Deaton and V. Kozel (eds.) The Great Indian Poverty Debate. Macmillan India:
New Delhi.
• Basu, P. 2005. “A Financial System for the Poor.” Economic and Political Weekly,
September 10.
• Background paper for forthcoming World Bank report “India: Rural Governments and
Service Delivery”.
• Ravallion, M. (2001) “Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages”,
• World Development.
• Planning Commission of India. 2008. Eleventh Five Year Plan 2007-2012; Oxford
University
• Press, New Delhi
• We are like that only
• Bottom of the pyramid
• Econmic times achive

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