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

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From 50 Years Ago: The Weaker Sections.

Editorial from Volume XIII, no. 42, October 21, 1961.

The Constitution of India does not list the right to work among the Fundamental Rights, but one of the Directive Principles of State Policy enjoins upon the State, “within the limits of its economic capacity and development to make effective pro-vision for securing the right to work”. This does not bother anybody very much, nor has its meaning been fully grasped by many people, judging from the angry comment of a knighted financial magnate that it is everyone’s “duty to work”. The worthy gentleman was genuinely puzzled by the “right to work”. There are many like him and they are fundamentally right in a sense. No one who has pondered over the impli-cations of guaranteeing the right to work to every able-bodied person, male or female, irre-spective of religion, caste or creed, would agree to accept it as a fundamental right… ...The question, however, is raised from time to time, why should it not be possible to devise and put into operation saner economic policies which can turn into productive use the idle manpower of the country which is, after all, India’s largest asset? True, it is only a potential asset, and until means can be found for putting the unemployed into productive occupations, it is a liability and today the most pressing liability. There is a turning away in the Third Plan from work-sharing and deceptive employment crea-tion and the Planning Commission is showing welcome awareness that the preferable solution lies in releasing rural labour and directing it more and more to the creation of capital assets for the community, a process which can be set going without employing much capital or use of imported materials...

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