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

Arjun SenguptaSubscribe to 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.

Debating Development

Voices in Development Management Series by Nurul Islam; Ashgate Publishing Company, 2003; ARJUN SENGUPTA This is an extraordinary book written by one of the finest analytical economists of south Asia, engaged in formulating, implementing and thinking about development policy. Nurul Islam after completing his PhD at Harvard, started his career as professor of economics at Dhaka University, but decided soon in his life to actively engage in policy-making, and policy-reviews, first in Pakistan then in Bangladesh, later in the FAO and afterwards in the Food Policy Research Institute at Washington. He was head of the Pakistan Institute of Development Studies during a period when that institute produced seminal work in development policy, particularly related to effective rates of protection, cost and benefits of investment and agricultural development. After the Bangladesh war he became deputy chairman of Bangladesh Planning Commission, leaving an unmistakable mark of his expertise and understanding of political economy on the Bangladesh planning process. From there he went to serve as deputy director general of FAO and during that period he produced major writings on agricultural policies for development. After retirement from FAO he joined IFPRI and has continued to work there till today on food and agricultural problems. Nurul Islam saw how policies are made from the close proximity of highest authorities. He brought in his analytical writings on development policies, his enormous experience of the political economy of policy-making. And throughout his busy and active role of a policy-maker, Nurul Islam kept producing major research papers on all the subjects he dealt with.

Managing Globalisation

legitimacy. So, management of globali- Managing Globalisation sation must be assessed in terms of its Governing Globalisation: Issues and Institutions edited by Deepak Nayyar; Oxford University Press, 2002; pp 408 (hardbound), Pounds 19.99.

Official Development Assistance

Official development assistance (ODA) is one of the most effective methods of promoting development in low-income countries. However, the idea of development itself has changed significantly over the years, and ODA has increasingly come to incorporate the human rights approach to development. Developing countries can draw up a basic framework incorporating the requirements of growth without violating other rights, and industrial countries can then raise the funds needed for development assistance. The human rights approach has the advantage of the recognition that the rights are universal and the responsibility of fulfilling those rights is also universal.

Right to Development as a Human Right

This paper seeks to examine some of the questions relating to the right of development as a human right, the nature of which is often open to conflicting interpretations. Further, it asks, does the existence of the right of development as a human right actually assist development and why has it been so difficult to secure a consensus among member states of the UN on such a vital issue? The author argues that the right to development is related to ideas of justice and equity, world over and is fundamentally different from conventional policies and programmes related to development.

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.

Financial Management of Globalisation

Developing countries adjusting to globalisation have financial needs entirely different from those the IMF was originally set up to meet. Countries in the first phase of globalisation with current account convertibility need growth-oriented adjustment programmes. Those in the second phase with capital account convertibility need protection from severe market fluctuations. The IMF must play a supportive role, and to do so, it needs increased quotas and funds from other development banks. It could also be a lender of the last resort to countries which become objects of negative market expectations.

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