In India, development planning in recent years has seen a visible shift in focus from the mere expansion of production of goods and services - and the consequent growth of per capita income - to planning for enhancement of human well-being.
Some of the important social problems like poverty, ignorance, over-population and rural backwardness are of a general nature and they are influenced - in varying degree - by factors like squalor and bad housing, malnutrition and physical and mental ill-health, neglected childhood, family disorganisation and low standard of living. For a long time, society has remained apathetic to these conditions, but with the awakening of political consciousness and the enthusiasm of organisations and workers to improve social conditions, there is a possibility of developing programmes which could gradually remedy the present situation.
India's development efforts since Independence in 1947 have not benefited different social groups equitably. Certain social groups such as Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and some sections of minorities have historically been disadvantaged and vulnerable. Then there are certain other groups which suffer from handicaps. These include persons with disabilities, older persons, victims of alcoholism and drug abuse, street children, beggars, victims of substance abuse etc. Women belonging to SCs and STs are in a far worse situation by all development indicators. Poverty and deprivation affect them more adversely.
The concept of inclusive growth demands that all social groups have equal access to the services provided by public authorities and equal opportunity for upward economic and social mobility.