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Discuss the impact of the post-liberal economy on ethnic identity and communalism. | UPSC 2023 General Studies Paper 1 Mains PYQ


Discuss the impact of the post-liberal economy on ethnic identity and communalism. 

(UPSC 2023 General Studies Paper 1 (Main) Exam, Answer in 150 words)


In the context of India, the post-liberal economy era started in the 1990s and brought many economic reforms. It is characterized by minimum government intervention, free markets, capitalism, and the reduction of government regulations in the market. The impacts of 

The impacts of the post-liberal economy on ethnic identity and communalism have both positive and negative consequences.

Positive Impacts:

Economic Opportunities and Inclusive Society:

Economic liberalization opened up new opportunities for growth and employment and contributed to a more inclusive society for diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Urbanization and social mobility:

The post-liberal economy accelerated urbanization and rural-to-urban migration. It increases the mingling of diverse ethnic and cultural groups.

Fostering Cross-cultural understanding:

Post-liberal economy led by technological advancement and improved communication has facilitated greater interaction among people from different ethnic backgrounds. Access to diverse media and information sources has played a role in breaking down stereotypes and fostering cross-cultural understanding. 

Negative impacts:

Growing Economic Disparities:

Although economic liberalization promoted overall economic growth, it has also widened the gap between the rich and poor. This economic disparity exacerbates existing social tensions and contributes to identity-based conflicts.

Marginalization of Certain Groups:

The benefits of economic development have not reached all sections of society equally. This leads to creating feelings of alienation and frustration and fueling communal sentiments.

Communal Politics:

The post-liberalization period witnessed the rise of identity politics, where political parties often exploit ethnic and communal sentiments for political gains. This can lead to division in politics and increase communal tensions. 

Resources Allocation and Competition:

Post-liberalization witnessed competition for resources and in many cases, this competition was framed along ethnic and communal lines. This leads to caste-based conflicts for jobs, educational opportunities, and other resources.

Growing Fake News and Communal Tension:

Westerlization of culture and fake news often work as fuel for increasing caste violence, riots, and communal tension. Nuh violence of 2023 is a recent example. 

In summary, the impact of the post-liberal economy on ethnic identity and communalism is multifaced. On one hand, post-liberalization has created opportunities for inclusivity and cross-cultural interaction, on the other hand, it has also brought challenges like economic disparities, caste-based politics,  and ethnic marginalization. It is important to mitigate the negative impacts of post-liberalization and make the development inclusive to all communities. 

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