President Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday called for a rethink on the development policy, saying the trickle down theory, the standing rationale for economic reforms, won't work in eliminating poverty in India.
"For our development to be real, the poorest of our land must feel that they are part of the narrative of rising India," Mukherjee said in his first speech after becoming the 13th president.
"Trickle-down theories do not address the legitimate aspirations of the poor. We must lift those at the bottom so that poverty is erased from the dictionary of modern India."
Recalling the days of Bengal famine when he was a young boy and in which millions died of starvation, he said: "There is no humiliation more abusive than hunger.
"Our national mission must continue to be what it was when the generation of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Ambedkar and Maulana Azad offered us a tryst with destiny: to eliminate the curse of poverty, and create such opportunities for the young that they can take our India forward by quantum leaps," said Mukherjee, who was the finance minister before becoming the president.
The trickle down economic theory, in the Indian context, states that as per capita income rises, there is a "trickle down" so that everyone becomes better off.
In the West, the theory was fostered by Ronald Reagan in the US and Margaret Thatcher in Britain in the 1980s. Both believed that granting concessions such as tax cuts to the rich will benefit all levels of society by stimulating the economy.
However, as income inequality rises across the globe, many believe it's perhaps time the last rites on the theory be pronounced on it.