[Solved] Explain intra-generational and inter-generational issues of equity from the perspective of inclusive growth and sustainable development (UPSC GS-3 Mains 2020)

By | June 10, 2021

UNCED says, a development is called the sustainable when it takes care of the need of the present generation without compromising the abilities of future generation to take care of its need.

  • Intergenerational and intra-generational equity are two hands of the doctrine of sustainable equity.
  • Sustainable equity aims to find a proper balance between intergenerational equity (between the present and future people) and intragenerational equity (between the rich and the poor of the present generation.
  • Inclusive growth focuses on ecological friendly economic growth which is a necessary and crucial condition for poverty reduction and sustainable development.
  • The intergenerational issues relate to, involve, and affect several generations because of which intergenerational equity is the basis of the concept of sustainability, whereas an intrinsic constituent of sustainable development is intragenerational equity, as it includes the role of virtue ethics and attitudes of people in changing lifestyles and behaviours across the existing generation or generations affecting fairness and impartiality.

Intergenerational Equity & Issues

  • One of the primary objectives of intergenerational equity is the development of resources by one generation to enhance economic sustainability for the future generation.
  • Intergenerational equity has become crucial in the present times, due to the growing imbalance in the distribution of resources, ongoing degradation of environment and depletion of resources.
  • This imbalance is more profound between the developed & developing nations or between the Global North and the Global South.
  • Moreover, the developed countries are today unwilling to help developing countries adapt and mitigate climate change, which is a result of their ruthless pursuit to economic growth at the cost of the environment.
  • In this context, the concept of sustainable development has been introduced, which refers to the use of resources should be done in such a manner that those resources shall also be available to meet the future needs.

Intra-generational Equity & Issues

  • The concept of intra-generational equity provides rights and duties to every person of a single generation to use and take care of the resources moderately among the members of the generation.
  • In order to promote the intra-generational equity, the concept of social justice is propagated. Welfare schemes like subsidies, reservations, etc., are provided by the governments to help the vulnerable section of society.
  • However, sometimes measures taken under the narrative of social justice interfere with the free market principle.
  • The free market demands rollback of state and propagates market as the solution of every problem.
  • Following this, India conducted LPG reforms in 1991. However, the pro-market reforms have failed to trickle-down effect and resulted in the jobless growth & increasing inequalities (Oxfam Report).
  • In this context, the concept of Inclusive Growth has been introduced, which advances equitable opportunities for economic participants during economic growth with benefits incurred by every section of society.

Further reading..

INTERGENERATIONAL EQUITY
It signifies the rights and interests of the present and future generation regarding the renewable and non-renewable
resources of earth. Many contemporary international instruments deals with the use of the resources available and to
make them available for future generation.

Peoples have recognized the value and importance of the resources
available and what may happen in the future if the resources will not be available. The concept of sustainable
development has been introduced which refers to the use of resources that should be done in such a manner that those
resources shall also be available to meet future needs. United Nation General Assembly has defined sustainable
development as the development which meets the needs of the present without compromising with the availability of
resources to meet the needs of the future generation


. Sustainable development provides not only man-made wealth but also provides wealth made by nature. It also concerns the quality of life of human beings, man-made wealth continues improvement of quality of life but it must be supported by the natural wealth


. Sustainable development was introduced for the first time by the United Nations with a view to accomplish three aspects of development, those are, environmental protection, economic development, and social development, this is affirmed by the United Nation Development Program


. United Nations concentrating on managing and protecting the natural resources for the development of social and economical aspects, is much required to accomplish the goals of the concept of sustainable development. One of the primary objects of the concept of intergenerational equity is the development of resources by one generation to enhance the opportunity of economic sustainability for the future
generation.

INTRA-GENERATIONAL EQUITY
Intra-generational equity is different from intergenerational equity. It deals with equality among the same
generations as far as the utilization of resources is a concerned. It includes fair utilization of global resources among
the human beings of the present generation

. The concept of intra-generational equity provides rights and duties to every person of a single generation to use and take care of the renewable and non-renewable resources moderately among the members of the generation


. In a developing country like India, the rule of intra-generational equity is applicable to a certain extent, as in this kind of developing countries more resources are required for the development of the country and to ensure economic stability. Industrialization is the key for the development of these countries which requires more and more renewable and non-renewable resources, in that that the legislature must enact strict environmental laws in relation to the implementation of the rules specified in the doctrine of intra-generational equity, and it must be firmly interpreted by the judiciary system of the nation

. The administration of every country must be very conscious regarding the implementation of the rules framed by the legislature in relation to the
protection of the environment and the laws related to the execution of the rules in respect of the intra-generational
equity
. The resources which are not preserved for the future generation and are available for the current generation
must be equally distributed among all the members of the present generation. To a certain extent, it becomes very
difficult to regulate those resources among all the members of the generation due to national territories, international

  • Sustainable development is a kind of development that allow future generation to have potential average quality of life which is as high as being used by the current generation.
  • This shows that future generation will be affected by the current environmental crisis. which is caused by the following things:
     Abnormal increase in population which is much higher than carrying capacity of the environment. Depletion of non-renewal resources
  • Renewal energy is not used to the desired level
  • Technological advances made in the past were input consuming rather than input efficient.
  • More than 17% of human, 20% of world’s livestock live on 2.5% of land in India which put an extra burden on resources.
  • Soil erosion is happening at 5.3 billion tonnes a year that affect our nutrient level.
  • Environmental crisis as it termed put the lives of future generations at risk. As the fast depletion of resources, global warming, ozone depletion has caused several damage to the planet.
  • Due to melting of polar ice, sea level increasing, frequency of tropical storms has increased.

Safe water becomes an economic good. To sustaining human life on earth we need to re-look at our development strategy while meeting the needs of the present generation we must conserve the environmental resources for the use of future generations.

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