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Inequality | Classification of Inequality | Dimension of Inequality in India - UPSC 2020

Updated on 15 February 2020
UPSC & State PSC
6 min read 44 views
Updated on 15 February 2020

Aristotle once said that “the worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal”. Inequality is a state in which all individuals are not equal especially in status, rights and opportunities. 

Inequality can be classified as: 

  • Economic inequality: Economic inequality is the unequal distribution of income and opportunity between individuals or different groups in a society. 

  • Social Inequality: It occurs when there is unequal distribution of resources based on norms of a society that creates specific patterns along lines of socially defined categories e.g.: religion, kingship, prestige, race, caste, ethnicity, gender etc. Have different access to the resources of power, prestige and wealth depending on the norms of a society. Social Inequality due to gender have a large impact on income of women. In patriarchal societies large gender wage gaps tends to exist. 

These classifications are important for UPSC Mains and also for UPSC Prelims


In India, following are the distinctive forms of social inequality: 


  • Four parameters for measuring gender inequality are economic participation and opportunity, health and survival, educational attainment and political empowerment. 
  • Gender wage gap is the highest in India according to International Labour Organization women are paid almost 34% less than men. 
  • Women compromise the agricultural labour force in the country, yet they own less than 2% of its farm land according to the India Human Development Survey 


  • Caste determines access to resources like education, income, health valued by Individuals. 
  • The upper caste households of India earned nearly more than the national average annual household income, the top ten percent within these castes owned about 60% of the wealth within the group in 2012 


  • Religious identities are significant for an individual’s ability to mobilize resources 
  • Religious Identities can cause prejudices which may lead to economic exclusion and other forms of discrimination which can impact jobs and livelihood opportunities 
  • Christians, Parsis and Jain have a larger share of income than their population share, Muslim and Buddhist populations have significantly lower access to economic resources. 


  • 60% of the bottom population holds only 4.8% of the national wealth 
  • The poorest 10% of the country are the 13.6 crore Indians, have remained in debt for the past 15 years 


  • Inequalities produce social conflict among social groups e.g. caste groups like Maratha, Patels and jats are demanding reservations but this demand is opposed by caste groups already claiming the benefits of reservations, such a clash of interest due to perceived inequality tend to produce violent conflicts between opposing caste groups 
  • Poor development indicators like IMR, MMR, low per capita income, lower education and learning outcomes at schools, high rate of population growth can be traced to existing socio-economic inequalities 
  • High economic inequality causes a serious problem towards public healthcare and education. Upper and middle classes do not have an interest in well functioning public healthcare and education as they have the privilege to access private healthcare and education. 

India has committed to attaining sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and also to end extreme poverty by that year. 

The UPSC 2020 vacancy in civil services is expected to be around 896.

The UPSC 2020 form last date is 3rd March 2020 so do keep yourself updated. 

UPSC 2020 Syllabus

All The Best To All The UPSC 2020 Aspirants !

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