Stressing the need to ensure that benefits of economic growth reaches all sections, vice president Hamid M Ansari on Saturday said the state has a constitutional and moral duty to expand opportunities for those being left behind.
"Inequality is a problem in the long run especially when it kills aspiration for personal and societal betterment. In India, the matrix of inequality spans gender, the rural-urban divide, class, caste, tribe, linguistic and cultural groups," Ansari said in his inaugural address on the occasion of the 97th birthday celebrations of former Supreme Court judge V R Krishna Iyer.
"While growth is a necessary condition for societal welfare, it is not sufficient and does not automatically lead to equality in accessing development and opportunities for growth," he said.
"Securing to all citizens equality of status and opportunity is a solemn resolve that finds mention in the preamble of our Constitution. The state has a constitutional and moral duty to expand opportunities for those being left behind," he said.
"The state on the one hand focused on affirmative action and provision of a social safety net for those marginalised, while on the other it moves to improving the capabilities of citizens to be more productive through skills and improved infrastructure", he said.
Referring to the Human Development Report-2011 of the UNDP published last week, Ansari said it demonstrated that around a quarter of the human development at the global level was lost due to inequality. The South Asian region suffers the second largest human development losses due to inequality after Sub Saharan Africa, he said.
In India, there was an overall human development loss of over 28% due to inequality. The loss due to inequality of human development achievements in education were the highest in India and amounted to over 40%, he said.