In the last nine years, the Indian economy has risen from the 10th to the 5th largest in the world. However, it is crucial to remember that per capita income varies considerably between regions and states within a country.
Per capita income is the average income earned by an individual in a particular population or geographical area. It is typically calculated by dividing the total income of that area or population by the total number of people. Per capita income considers how economic development is divided into the country's population's well-being. Developing countries like India have undergone significant economic development and demographic changes.
An increase in per capita income positively impacts individuals, communities and economies as a whole. With continued efforts towards economic development and social welfare programs, there is potential for further growth and improvement in India's per capita income in the years to come.
Did You Know? Per capita income has more than doubled to ₹1.97 lakhs in around nine years - per the union budget 2023.
Understanding the Per Capita Income of India
Per the union budget for 2023, per capita income has more than doubled to ₹1.97 lakhs in around 9 years. Per capita income indicates a country's economic growth, as it measures the average income available to each person.
How to Measure Per Capita Income?
Per capita income is calculated by dividing a country's total income by its population. The formula for calculating per capita income is given below.
Per Capita income = Total Income of the Country / Total Population
All forms of income, including wages, salaries, profits, rents, and interest, are added up to obtain the country's total income. This includes income earned by both individuals and businesses.
It is important to note that per capita income is an average measure of income and does not reflect income distribution within a population.
For example, if a country has a total income of ₹100 crores and a population of ₹2 crore people, the per capita income would be -
Per Capita Income = ₹100 Crores / ₹2 Crore People = ₹50 Per Person
Therefore, the per capita income in this example is ₹50 per person.
Factors that Contribute to Calculating the Per Capita Income of India
The government has taken measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and stimulate economic growth through various initiatives such as the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and other social welfare schemes.
1. Human Capital
The level of education, skill, and knowledge of the workforce is vital in determining per capita income. Higher education and training lead to higher-paying jobs and increased productivity, which ultimately leads to an increase in per capita income.
2. Economic Policies
The government's economic policies and reforms significantly impact the country's per capita income. For instance, policies encouraging foreign investment, improving infrastructure, and increasing access to credit can positively impact the economy and increase per capita income.
The size and distribution of the population also play a crucial role in determining per capita income. Countries with a large populations may have lower per capita income due to increased income inequality. In contrast, countries with a smaller population may have higher per Capita income due to greater income equality.
Adequate infrastructure, including transportation, communication, and energy, is critical for economic growth and development. Improved infrastructure leads to better access to markets and better connectivity to the rest of the country, which can increase productivity and per capita income.
5. Political Stability
Political stability and a predictable policy environment are essential for economic growth and development. A stable political environment can attract foreign investment, increase confidence among domestic investors, and encourage entrepreneurship, ultimately increasing per capita income.
Uses of Per Capita Income
Per capita income is an essential economic indicator used to measure a country's standard of living and economic development.
Here are some of India's primary uses of per capita income:
1. Assess Income Inequality
Per capita income is an effective tool for analysing income distribution and inequality within a population. Suppose a country's per capita income is high, but the income distribution is unequal. In that case, there may be significant disparities in living standards between the rich and the poor.
2. Evaluation of Government Policies
Per capita income can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of government policies and reforms. For instance, introducing the New Economic Policy of 1991 significantly increased India's per capita income. If the per capita income increases, it may suggest that the policy contributes positively to the economy.
3. Attract Foreign Investment
A higher per capita income can attract foreign investment, indicating a more stable and prosperous economy. Increased foreign investment can lead to job creation and economic growth, ultimately increasing per capita income further in a spiral.
4. Identify Poverty Levels
Per capita income is often used to identify poverty levels in a country. In most countries, the poverty line is the minimum income required to meet basic needs. By comparing per capita income with the poverty line, policymakers can identify the proportion of the impoverished population. They can also take measures to reduce poverty levels.
Limitations of Per Capita Income
While per capita income is a valuable economic indicator, it also has several limitations when used to measure economic development in India.
Here are some primary limitations of per capita income in India -
1. Unequal Distribution of Income
Per capita income does not account for unequal income distribution within a population. There is a significant income gap in India between the rich and poor, with the top 10% of the population accounting for most of the wealth. Therefore, using per capita income as a measure of economic development may not accurately reflect the standard of living of the majority of the population.
2. Regional Disparities
India is a vast country with significant regional disparities in economic development. While some states and regions have high per capita incomes, others are much lower. Therefore, using per capita income as a measure of economic development may not provide an accurate picture of economic conditions in all regions of India.
3. Non-monetary Indicators
Per capita income does not account for non-monetary indicators of development, such as education, health, and social indicators. These factors are essential in determining a population's overall standard of living. For instance, a large population's inadequate access to healthcare facilities can negatively impact the quality of life, even if the per capita income is high.
4. Unregulated Sector
A significant proportion of India's economy is unregulated, meaning economic activity is not officially recorded or taxed. Most transactions in this sector are not recorded and, thus, not included in per capita income calculations. Therefore, per capita income may not accurately reflect the country's true economic activity level.
Despite some fluctuations, India's per capita income has grown significantly. While it still faces challenges related to income inequality and poverty, India has made remarkable progress in lifting crores of people out of poverty. It has also improved living standards for many. Additionally, various factors, such as the pandemic, economic policies, and global market conditions, have impacted India's per capita income.
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