Abstract. The article is devoted to the features of the Indian development model, describes the experiences and prospects for its further economic and sociopolitical modernization. The growth of the Indian economy outstrips the growth of any other economy in the world, demonstrates enviable dynamism and adaptability. The successes of Indian modernization are associated not only with its economic achievements, but also with peculiarities of its path of sociopolitical and cultural transformations. The particular religious experiments of Indian civilization can serve as a world laboratory for overcoming the most acute contradictions of modernity and postmodernity. One of the first acute problems faced by India was poverty. Ethno-religious minorities were the least socially protected stratum of Indians. Therefore, since the mid 1970s in India the Positive Discrimination policy was established. Within this policy, not only representatives of Dalits are the subjects for the state support of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, but also Other Backward Classes. The specifics of its implementation had a number of negative consequences, such as corruption and the growing influence of regional caste parties. A significant place in the article is devoted to the growth of a new middle class in India and its role in the liberalization of the country. A sharp increase of the middle class occurred at the turn of 2010–2020s. Particularly indicative is its high growth dynamics in rural areas, where, unlike in previous periods, it grew faster than its urbanized part. The results of the 2019 elections clearly indicated the decisive role of the lower middle class, which is gaining increasingly political weight.
Keywords: middle class, India, corruption, caste parties, Positive Discrimination policy, modernization, political culture, secularism
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