Delineate the relationship between social mobility and equality. Highlight the impediments in ensuring it.

Social mobility refers to the ability of people to improve their social status assigned to them at birth through their conduct and achievements in life.

E.g. A poor man lifting his social status by clearing UPSC exam and becoming an IAS officer.

Social mobility and equality:

  • Social mobility is the basis for assuring equality in society.
  • Freedom to improve Socio-economic conditions ensures meritocracy, equality of opportunity for everyone.
  • MN Srinivasan highlighted ‘Sanskritization of castes’ where lower castes emulated higher castes’ behaviour to gain acceptance. E.g. giving up alcoholism, meat, etc.
  • Social mobility can also help actualize Indian fundamental rights to equality and freedom (article 14-21).

Impediments to social mobility:

  • Social attitudes – continued casteism and discrimination towards lower cost, 27% of crimes against SCs (NCRB).
  • Vicious cycle of poverty – Reinforces social segregation.
  • Poor enforcement of laws like SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) act 1989, etc.

Ensuring social mobility can help realise Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s dream of an India based on equality.


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