India’s growth of little benefit to its poorest

PRAKASH SINGH/AFP Two recent reports highlight just how far India still has to go in its development. Last week, Human Rights Watch released a report claiming that India’s 165 million dalits—so-called “outcastes” or “untouchables,” placed on the lowest rung in India’s caste system—are still the victims of brutal and pervasive discrimination. India’s extensive system of ...

603820_070223_india_05.jpg
603820_070223_india_05.jpg

PRAKASH SINGH/AFP

PRAKASH SINGH/AFP

Two recent reports highlight just how far India still has to go in its development. Last week, Human Rights Watch released a report claiming that India’s 165 million dalits—so-called “outcastes” or “untouchables,” placed on the lowest rung in India’s caste system—are still the victims of brutal and pervasive discrimination. India’s extensive system of political protections for dalits has not, by any stretch of the imagination, translated into improved social practices. Just one example from the report:

Dalits are forced to perform tasks deemed too “polluting” or degrading for non-Dalits to carry out. According to unofficial estimates, more than 1.3 million Dalits – mostly women – are employed as manual scavengers to clear human waste from dry pit latrines. In several cities, Dalits are lowered into manholes without protection to clear sewage blockages, resulting in more than 100 deaths each year from inhalation of toxic gases or from drowning in excrement.

Fast on the heels of this criticism has come another report, this one from UNICEF, which found that an astounding 46 percent of Indian children under the age of three are undernourished—far higher, even, than in sub-Saharan Africa. India has yet to prove that its blistering economic growth can be translated into widespread improvement in the lives of its poorest citizens.

More from Foreign Policy

A photo illustration shows Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden posing on pedestals atop the bipolar world order, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Russian President Vladamir Putin standing below on a gridded floor.
A photo illustration shows Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden posing on pedestals atop the bipolar world order, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Russian President Vladamir Putin standing below on a gridded floor.

No, the World Is Not Multipolar

The idea of emerging power centers is popular but wrong—and could lead to serious policy mistakes.

A view from the cockpit shows backlit control panels and two pilots inside a KC-130J aerial refueler en route from Williamtown to Darwin as the sun sets on the horizon.
A view from the cockpit shows backlit control panels and two pilots inside a KC-130J aerial refueler en route from Williamtown to Darwin as the sun sets on the horizon.

America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want

Embedded with U.S. forces in the Pacific, I saw the dilemmas of deterrence firsthand.

The Chinese flag is raised during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics at Beijing National Stadium on Feb. 4, 2022.
The Chinese flag is raised during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics at Beijing National Stadium on Feb. 4, 2022.

America Can’t Stop China’s Rise

And it should stop trying.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on prior a meeting with European Union leaders in Mariinsky Palace, in Kyiv, on June 16, 2022.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on prior a meeting with European Union leaders in Mariinsky Palace, in Kyiv, on June 16, 2022.

The Morality of Ukraine’s War Is Very Murky

The ethical calculations are less clear than you might think.