ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Economic Reforms and the Poor- Emerging Scenario

Since the launching of economic reforms, the question of their impact on the poor has received much attention of researchers and policy-makers. Economic reforms are part of a broader strategy assigning distinctive roles to the government, markets and people's organisations in promoting growth and in eradicating poverty. In this scheme, economic reforms are expected to play a major role in stepping up growth with the government and people's organisations looking after the poor. This paper presents a quick and impressionistic assessment of the prospects for the new strategy in the years ahead. The following propositions can be made with some confidence: (a) The poor have made some gains since independence but they still remain too weak and vulnerable to move upwards with their own initiative and efforts, The system helps them in distress but does little to nurture them as productive and creative beings; (b) There are many question marks on the capacity of economic reforms to bring about sustained growth accessible to the poor. The underlying policy-making processes focus on the short- term gains of a few groups rather than on the long-term challenges to the system posed by the future; (c) The political mobilisation of the intermediate and lower strata including the poor is gathering momentum and drawing in the lagging groups. In the medium and long run, this could be an important factor pushing the system on to a different development path. However, it is difficult to foresee clearly the course taken by this process, its impact on the system and consequences for the poor.

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