ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Arjun Sengupta

Human Rights and Extreme Poverty

This paper provides a rationale for defining extreme poverty as a combination of income poverty, human development poverty and social exclusion. It briefly discusses the implication of treating this combination as union or intersection of the three sets of people, suffering from these three types of poverty. It also brings out the significance of looking at extreme poverty in a human rights perspective, and what is its value addition to programmes of poverty eradication in different countries. Besides, it elaborates on the formulation of such programmes, in terms of human rights obligation through national actions, extending them to programmes of international actions. By spelling out the characteristics of these actions that make them conform to a human rights approach, it discusses some of the anti-poverty programmes that have been used in different countries like the United States, European Union, Africa and Asia and how they differ from a rights-based approach that has been developed in this paper.

A Monetised Deficit for Sustaining Growth amidst the Meltdown

If India is to cope with the fallout of the global financial meltdown, it needs to think of unusual policies and strategies, including those it had earlier turned its back on. The immediate challenge is to arrest the loss of confidence of private investment and the attendant tightening of liquidity. The only way this can be achieved is by sustaining growth - through a major expansion of public investment in infrastructure and social programmes, financed by a monetised budget deficit. Such a deficit will infuse liquidity and well-chosen public outlays will revive growth. Inflation is a risk in such a strategy, but it is now a question of playing at the margin - the risk we are willing to take on inflation in order to raise domestic expenditure that would lead to faster growth.

India's Common People: Who Are They, How Many Are They and How Do They Live?

This paper attempts to define the common people of India in terms of levels of consumption and examines their socio-economic profile in different periods of time since the early 1990s with a view to assessing how the economic growth process has impacted on their lives. The findings should worry everyone. Despite high growth, more than three-fourths of Indians are poor and vulnerable with a level of consumption not more than twice the official poverty line. This proportion of the population which can be categorised as the "common people" is much higher among certain social groups, especially for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. There is also evidence to suggest that inequality is widening between the common people and the better-off sections of society.

Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

Despite the US commitment to successive world declarations that emphasise the fulfilment of basic needs as a human right and the country's long history of fighting poverty with social security measures, a substantial section of the poor continue not to be covered by such schemes and welfare measures. These sections comprise those living in conditions of "extreme poverty", defined as a composite of income poverty, human development poverty and social exclusion. This article analyses various conditions of extreme poverty as presently seen in the US and suggests the need for programmes with a specific target focus and time-bound action.

A Major National Initiative

For the first time in India a comprehensive social security scheme for the unorganised sector has been proposed. The proposal by the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector seeks to develop a healthy workforce that in turn will have a positive impact on national income and economic growth. The scheme aims to cover sickness, maternity, old age and death and proposes a participatory system with some contributions from the workers.

The Budget in the Context of Long-Term Development

The finance minister wanted to provide a growth-promoting budget. But budgets cannot promote growth or even arrest the process of slowing down if the fundamentals are not addressed squarely and carefully. These fundamentals belong to the sphere of political economy and are not just economic or financial. They are the long-term factors which determine the outcomes of policies. The budget of a particular year must be seen against these longterm factors to assess its impact or its likelihood of success.