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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Explain intra-generational and inter-generational issues of equity from the perspective of inclusive growth and sustainable development. (150 words) (UPSC GS-3 Mains 2020).

    13 Jan, 2021 GS Paper 3 Economy


    • Start the answer by briefly mentioning the meaning of intra-generational and inter-generational equity.
    • Separately explain what the intra-generational and inter-generational issues of equity are.
    • Conclude your answer by mentioning the significance of inclusive growth and sustainable development.


    Intergenerational and intra-generational equity are two hands of the doctrine of sustainable equity. Sustainable equity aims to find a proper balance between intergenerational equity (between the present and future people) and intragenerational equity (between the rich and the poor of the present generation.


    Intergenerational Equity & Issues

    • One of the primary objectives of intergenerational equity is the development of resources by one generation to enhance economic sustainability for the future generation.
    • Intergenerational equity has become crucial in the present times, due to the growing imbalance in the distribution of resources, ongoing degradation of environment and depletion of resources.
    • This imbalance is more profound between the developed & developing nations or between the Global North and the Global South.
    • Moreover, the developed countries are today unwilling to help developing countries adapt and mitigate climate change, which is a result of their ruthless pursuit to economic growth at the cost of the environment.
    • In this context, the concept of sustainable development has been introduced, which refers to the use of resources should be done in such a manner that those resources shall also be available to meet the future needs.

    Intra-generational Equity & Issues

    • The concept of intra-generational equity provides rights and duties to every person of a single generation to use and take care of the resources moderately among the members of the generation.
    • In order to promote the intra-generational equity, the concept of social justice is propagated. Welfare schemes like subsidies, reservations, etc., are provided by the governments to help the vulnerable section of society.
    • However, sometimes measures taken under the narrative of social justice interfere with the free market principle.
    • The free market demands rollback of state and propagates market as the solution of every problem.
    • Following this, India conducted LPG reforms in 1991. However, the pro-market reforms have failed to trickle-down effect and resulted in the jobless growth & increasing inequalities (Oxfam Report).
    • In this context, the concept of Inclusive Growth has been introduced, which advances equitable opportunities for economic participants during economic growth with benefits incurred by every section of society.


    The concept of inclusive growth and sustainable development are the key pillars of the global welfare narrative, which can be prompted by ensuring intra-generational and inter-generational equity.

    Moreover, in a developing country like India, intra-generational & inter-generational equity is more important as more resources are required for ensuring the development of all, including the future generation.

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