Almost exclusive focus on economic growth will not automatically result in either uplifting the quality of life or ensuring equal growth opportunities for all. The present economic growth model will only further widen the gap between the empowered rich and the vast majority. The less empowered, because of lack of opportunities to be equal partners, will continue to languish. True, in any economic growth model, there will be a trickledown effect on the less empowered but that will come with the widening economic disparity. The real enablement is not to be confused with kerosene subsidy for India’s poor or free electricity to its teeming farmers. It is empowering them along with others who now earn less $2 a day to be equal partners and stakeholders in the raising economic prosperity. It begins by making them meet their essential needs, which in turn will set in motion the virtuous cycle of wealth creation and consumption.
Greater emphasis on empowerment, which includes better and affordable access to bare necessities such as education, social security, food, housing, drinking water, sanitation, health care, and energy, will spur economic activities that ultimately contribute to economic growth. One has to bear in mind that empowerment also results in the creation of not only tangible, physical, and financial but intangible assets such as human capital as well. Making education accessible, imparting needed skills, providing health care, building sanitation facilities, and such others entail investments and creating capital assets. Building the associated infrastructure itself involves creation of not only increasing demand for cement, steel, and other construction materials but also non-agriculture jobs.