As India celebrates its 59th Independence Day, the country seems to be in an era of frenetic economic growth—in fact, its annual growth rate is the second highest in the world, after China. The entire world is fascinated by our successes, many predict that India will be the next economic superpower. Yet, there are miles to go. We are a hugely unequal society—our Porsche-driving new millionaires and billionaires whiz past urban slums that are among the most depressing in the world. We have still not managed to erase poverty, and ensure a decent life, free of hunger and disease, for every citizen. Paromita Shastri scans both sides of India's socio-economic fabric.
Income: India's per-capita gross national income is $3,120, measured by the World Bank in terms of purchasing power parity or by equalising prices of commodities in different countries. However, by the same token, the average Chinese earns $5,890 and the...