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Day 62 – Q 4.Elaborate upon the concept of ‘social empowerment’. Is there a correlation between social and economic empowerment? Examine.

4. Elaborate upon the concept of ‘social empowerment’. Is there a correlation between social and economic empowerment? Examine. 

सामाजिक सशक्तिकरणकी अवधारणा पर विस्तार से चर्चा करें। क्या सामाजिक और आर्थिक सशक्तिकरण के बीच एक संबंध है? जांच करें।


Social empowerment is understood as the process of developing a sense of autonomy and self-confidence, and acting individually and collectively to change social relationships and the institutions and discourses that exclude poor people and keep them in poverty. 


The notion of empowerment entails numerous things including concepts of choice, liberty, agency, capacity, contribution, self-sufficiency, and increased resources among others. 

This is to be done by adopting the approach of ‘social justice’ to ensure equal rights, access to benefits and resources and ‘empowerment’ to enable them to develop their potential and capacities as agents of social change, through the process of planned development.

Social empowerment is a means to build a socially just society. The holistic empowerment of all sections of the society is a necessary condition for the development of a country.

Correlation between social and economic empowerment

  • Poor people’s empowerment, and their ability to hold others to account, is strongly influenced by their individual assets such as land, housing, livestock, savings. Also important are people’s collective assets and capabilities, such as voice, organisation, representation and identity.
  • NSSO data reveals this correlation. Comparison of NSSO data (2011-12) the between Dalit and upper caste households –
    • In rural areas – expenditure gap –  ~ 37
    • In urban areas- incomes gap ~ 65% 
  • Social empowerment leads to more accessibility to health, education, credit etc leading to better employment opportunity and hence economic empowerment. 

However, there have been instances of no visible correlation between social and economic empowerment

  • Female LFPR is declining despite higher growth, higher educational attainment, and higher age of marriage and declining fertility. Increased social empowerment did not lead to economic empowerment. 
  • Emergence of ‘Dalit capitalism’, higher percentage in administration, higher offices from lower class communities has not effectively increased the social status of lower caste. There is widespread discrimination as seen from temple entry restriction in various parts of the country.  


Empowerment is a holistic concept. It cannot be seen as social, economic or political. Apart from creating enabling environment for individual growth and prosperity, there must be change in people’s attitude to recognise everyone as equal. Then only substantive equality as envisaged by the constitution can be achieved. 

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